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How to Choose a Trailer Brake Controller

Find out the various options to you for the trailer’s brake controllers, including how break controllers function and how to determine which controller for brakes is the most suitable for your requirements.

Although you bought a car with an installed towing system but you’ve discovered that your vehicle needs a brake controller unit in order to control the brakes on your trailer. What are the steps to determine which is the most appropriate one to put in?

What is a What is a Trailer Brake Controller?

Trailer brake controllers provide energy to a trailer’s brake system whenever a driver puts on the brakes of the tow vehicle. The introduction of anti-lock braking systems (ABS) completely altered the function of these devices. They were once integrated into the hydraulic lines that make up the brake system of the tow vehicle Brake controllers from the ABS time period are now able to communicate with the brake system electronically.

Do I even need a Brake Controller for My Trailer?

The lighter trailers typically do not require independent brake systems. However, the availability is increasing because of the increased security standards and awareness. Boat trailers typically use surge brakes that don’t require the use of a controller. Additionally, the three major automakers are now including the controller in a few of their towing systems that are factory installed and you should be aware of what your vehicle’s features are. If you do not require one, then you should not to pay for it.

Different kinds of trailer brake controllers

Based on the way you categorize the modules, up to four different types of control modules are available. Trailer brake controllers can prices ranging from $45 to a couple of hundred dollars. If you frequently tow across long distances, your cost of your controller will be the best value for money.

Time-Delayed Brake Controllers

Time-delayed brake control systems are the most affordable and operate by activating the trailer’s brakes using a predetermined amount of power over a specific duration of time. The user can set the time delay, the power level, and length of the braking system to suit the requirements of the load, the frequency at which a vehicle is towing and the driving style of the driver. The controller can be placed from any direction (you’ll discover the reason why this is crucial in the future). For those who tow only occasionally, or is able to tow short distances, or tows heavy or medium-weight load, this device will perform very well.

The main drawback is the inability to vary the power of braking. When braking lightly, the trailer brakes could be excessively compared to those for the car towing. The trailer brakes are then forced to support the weight of slowing down both the trailer and the vehicle and wear the brakes on the trailer prematurely. In contrast, more braking conditions require the tow vehicle to take on the power that is not that is supplied to the trailer’s brakes. This causes excessive wear and tear on (and the heating of) the brakes of the tow vehicle and in a more extreme circumstance, it can cause a heavier trailer to become a jackknife.

Inertia-based Brake Controllers

A subset that is classified as inertia-based controllers adapts the power of braking to the trailer when it detects changes in the location of pendulum. The more quickly a vehicle slowsdown, the more pendulum motion it creates and the power of the brakes of the trailer increases. The need for level installations and the possibility that it could be deceived by steep inclines are disadvantages to this type of controller.

Proportional Controller

A proportional controller uses accelerometers to measure the intensity of braking and provide a proportional amount of power to the trailer’s brakes. This keeps the trailer and the tow vehicle functioning in heavy, light or sudden braking scenarios and distributes the load equally to ensure a smooth and reliable operation. Although they’re a better device, an arduous installation and higher cost may not be the best choice for your vehicle if you do not frequently tow. Recent price trends have made proportional controllers less expensive as opposed to the past.

Hydraulic-Over-Electronic Controller

Recent innovations have produced the hydraulic-over-electronic controller. The device converts the pressure of the hydraulic line into an electrical current with small computers. The next generation of mini computers controllers, they’re the most versatile controller available, however, generally speaking, we associate “new” to “expensive”–at at least until they are more widely used.

The installation of a trailer brake controller is a consideration.

The majority of home mechanics are able to install a trailer brake controller without much trouble. The latest models usually come with the seven-point harness required to install the controller, however different designs are available. If you require the controller portion of your harness they’re easily available in Auto parts stores or on the internet. The factory-prewired plug could be hidden beneath your dashboard. Find it hidden under your right knee while you are at the wheel. Sometimes, it’s located on the left. If the manufacturer didn’t wire a return run to the harness used for the trailer brakes then you’ll need to wire it as one, continuous long length. Be aware that inertia-activated as well as some proportional controllers have to sit at a certain in a straight line for the proper operation. It is also important to examine the clearance over your knees to avoid rubbing the device when driving.

If you are towing in high-demand circumstances because of frequency, distance or grade you should also think about upgrading your rotors from cross-drilled and slotted designs and your brake pads and fluid to high temperature products.