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Home » What is a Trailer Brake Controller?

What is a Trailer Brake Controller?

Learn about the different options available to you for the trailer’s brake controllers. Learn how break controllers function, and how to determine the best brake controller for your requirements.

Although you bought a car that has an towing package that was installed by the factory but you’ve discovered that your vehicle needs an electronic brake controller to manage the brakes of your trailer. What is which is the most appropriate one to put in?

What is a What is a Trailer Brake Controller?

Trailer brake controllers provide the power to the trailer’s braking system whenever a driver puts on the brakes of the tow vehicle. The advent of anti-lock brake systems (ABS) forever altered the function of these devices. When they were integrated with the hydraulic lines of the brake system of the tow vehicle Brake controllers from the ABS time period are now able to communicate with the brake system in a digital manner.

Do I even need a Controller for the Trailer Brake System?

The lighter trailers typically do not require independent brake systems. But, their availability is growing due to increased security standards and awareness. Boat trailers usually use surge brakes that don’t require an electronic controller. In addition, the major three automakers have included 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 don’t need one, you can not to pay for it.

Different kinds of trailer brake controllers

Based on the way you categorize them, four kinds of control modules are available. The controllers for trailer brakes vary in prices ranging from $45 to a couple of hundred dollars. If you frequently tow across long distances, your purchase of a controller is the best value for money.

Time-Delayed Brake Controllers

Time-delayed brake controllers are most economical and work by activating the trailer’s brakes by a set amount of power over a specific duration of time. The user can set the time delay, the power level, and duration of the braking system to suit the demands of the load, the speed at which a vehicle is towing and the style of driving of the driver. The controller is able to be mounted from any direction (you’ll understand the reason why this is crucial in the future). For those who tow frequently, only does not tow long distances or tows heavy or medium-weight weights, the controller will perform very well.

Its main drawback is the inability to vary the power of braking. In light braking, trailer brakes could be more powerful than those for the car towing. This causes the brakes on the trailer to support the weight of slowing the trailer and the vehicle which wears the brakes of the trailer prematurely. However, heavier braking situations require the tow vehicle to make up for the less power that is supplied to the trailer’s brakes. This causes excessive wear and tear on (and the heating of) the brakes on the tow vehicle and in a more extreme circumstance, it can cause a heavier trailer to be able to jackknife.

Inertia-based Brake Controls

A subset of inertia-based controllers that adjust the braking power to the trailer whenever it detects changes in the direction of the pendulum. The more quickly a vehicle slowsdown, the greater pendulum movement it creates and the power of the brakes of the trailer increases. The need for level installations and the possibility that it could be fooled by steep slopes are disadvantages to this type of controller.

Proportional Controller

A proportional controller uses accelerometers to detect the intensity of braking and provide a proportional amount of force to the trailer’s brakes. This keeps the trailer and the tow vehicle working when there is heavy, light or abrupt braking conditions by distributing the pressure equally for a smooth and efficient operation. While they’re a superior device, they require more installation and higher cost may not be a good fit for your vehicle if you do not frequently tow. Recent prices make 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 hydraulic line pressure to 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 can install a trailer-brake controller without much trouble. Modern vehicles typically have the seven-point harness required to install the controller, however there are other designs available. If you’re looking to purchase the controller portion of your harness they’re easily available in Auto parts stores or on the internet. A prewired factory plug might be concealed under your dash. Find it hidden under your right knee while you are at the wheel. It’s possible to find it on the left. If the manufacturer didn’t prepare a wire to the harness used for the trailer brakes it is necessary to connect it in one continuous long length. Keep in mind that inertia activated and proportional controllers have to sit at a certain at a level to ensure their proper operation. It is also important to examine the clearance over your knees in order to avoid jostling the device when driving.

If you frequently tow in highly-demand circumstances due to the distance, grade or frequency you should also think about upgrading your rotors from cross-drilled and slotted styles as well as your brake pads and fluid to high-temperature ones.