Trailer brake controllers have been around for a while, but over the past two decades, they’ve advanced significantly. These controllers operate the electric brakes on a trailer. Without them, the truck’s brakes must stop the entire weight of the vehicle, in addition to what it’s towing. This will result in extremely long stopping distances, which could lead to a collision or worn-out, overheated brakes. There are two main trailer brake controller solutions today: the time-delayed trailer brake controller solution and proportional brake controllers. Let’s explore these two options.

1. Time-Delayed Brake Controllers

Time-delayed brake controllers are cost-efficient. They operate by using a prescribed amount of power to engage the trailer brakes for a specific period. To accommodate the operator’s driving style, the demands of a load, and how frequently a vehicle is used for towing, the operator adjusts the onset delay, length, and power level of the braking application. Any installation angle is alright for a time-delayed controller, which performs well for people who either tow medium to lightweight loads over short distances or those who only do it occasionally.

The main drawback of this controller is that the braking power isn’t adjustable. During light braking, time-delayed brake controllers may overpower the tow vehicle’s brakes. This causes the trailer’s brakes to take on the burden of slowing both the trailer and the truck, which causes premature wearing of the trailer brakes. On the other hand, stronger braking conditions cause the tow vehicle to make up for the trailer brakes’ limited power supply. This results in excessive brake wear (and heating) of the tow vehicle and, in extreme cases, can make a heavier trailer jackknife.

2. Proportional Brake Controllers

The second trailer brake controller solution is proportional controllers, which use accelerometers to gauge the intensity of the braking effort and deliver the appropriate level of power to the trailer brakes. In mild, heavy, or abrupt braking, this reaction keeps the trailer and tow vehicle working together, dispersing the stress for a responsive and fluid operation. Even though a proportional controller is excellent, it may not be necessary if you don’t tow often. Proportional controllers are currently more affordable than they were in the past due to current pricing trends.

Most towing scenarios can benefit from proportional controllers, as they offer smooth braking and put less strain on your braking system. You don’t need to be concerned about your trailer braking aggressively or inadequately, which might have a “push/pull” impact on your vehicle. Proportional controllers will constantly adjust their intensity to the specifics of each braking event and match the braking power of your car.

Trailer sway devices may be divided into two categories: those that work to stop sway entirely and those that lessen it once it has begun. What you intend to tow, how frequently you plan to tow it, and how much you’re ready to invest will determine which sway control system is ideal for you. For help finding the best trailer brake controller solution for your needs, get in touch with us today. Hayes Towing Electronics Products Are Proudly Made in the U.S.A. and In-Stock!

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