If you are a tow enthusiast or operate a tow trailer to earn a living, then you must already understand the overwhelming importance of having a proper brake controller to enhance safety during day-to-day towing activities. Safety has become a major concern in towing, with about 5000 accidents involving towing occurring every year.
A proper brake controller is very efficient in ensuring the safety of the trailer’s braking system and greatly reduces the chance of an accident occurrence. If you’re new to trailers, here is a brief explanation of what trailer brakes are.
What is a Trailer Brake Controller?
Trailer brake controllers are special devices that essentially act as a physical link between the truck’s brakes and the brakes of the trailer you are towing. Electric trailer brakes are the most common trailer brakes on the market today. In most countries, electric trailer brakes are a mandatory requirement by law for any towing truck operating in public roads.
How Do You Choose the Ideal Brake Controller for Your Trailer?
Choosing the right electric brake controller for your trailer does not have to be difficult. Once you have a firm understanding of what you want in an electric brake controller, you are well on your way of finding the perfect brake controller to improve safety during your towing activities.
1. Know the Basic Types of Electric Trailer brakes
There are two different types of electric trailer brakes, namely the time-delay variants and the proportional trailer brakes. Each type utilizes different mechanisms to achieve its intended purpose, but the purpose remains to link the truck and trailer’s braking systems. In practice, both types achieve the desired results, but each has unique attributes that may meet your specifications.
Proportional trailer brakes are more attuned for the driver with little experience with trailers. It costs more than the time delay variant. Proportional controllers utilize motion-sensing technology to tell just how fast the trailer is moving towards the truck that is towing it.
In doing so, braking pressure is calibrated to be just the right amount for the motion situation so the trailer can brake appropriately without colliding with the truck. The time-delay controller is less costly than the proportional type, thus it is best suited for the budget-conscious trailer operator.
Unlike a proportional controller, however, a time-delay controller is for the more experienced driver. In time-delay variants, when the brake controller gets the signal from the driver, it gives a short delay, then applies the brakes based on the calculated weight of the trailer.
The delay allows for any adjustment by the driver if need be. For instance, if the driver instantly slams the brakes, he needs to adjust pressure appropriately to prevent the trailer from slamming into the truck, hence why these types of controllers are best for the more experienced driver.
2. Does the Brake Controller Have a Monitor
Always go for an electric brake controller with a monitor. Monitors in trailer brakes are important because they effectively communicate the status braking system to the driver. The monitor houses all the bells and whistles that facilitate the smooth braking process.
The monitor is important because it lets the driver know how much braking pressure is applied to the trailer. Some monitors even inform the driver if there is a malfunction in the system so that they can adapt to the current scenario appropriately without relying heavily on the controller, as the driver does normally. So when it comes to controllers, always look out for electric trailer brakes with monitors. Though a bit costly, they are always worth the extra cash.
You might want to consider the installation of the brake controller as a factor in selecting the best brake controller. Overly complex controllers that may be a headache to install are a deal-breaker for most people. But the most important factor to consider before making your purchase is how effective the brake controller will be in enhancing the safety of the braking process.