Finding the Right Trailer Brakes

Any vehicle today, from a bicycle to a freight train and everything in between, makes use of brakes to halt the vehicle, and cars and trucks will always need powerful and effective brakes for safety and convenience alike. In the case of trucks, having good brakes extends to the brakes on a trailer or RV that the truck is towing, and these trailers can often be very heavy, such as if they are towing construction materials or livestock such as cows. To prevent a disaster, any truck driver will need to have the right brakes in their trailer, and a tandem axle trailer brake control may be the ticket to safe braking. Electric trailer brakes are common and very useful, and a brake controller pad can be placed on the dashboard of a truck so the driver can control everything that is happening. Electronic brake controllers may be found in hardware stores or online, depending on which is more convenient to the driver, and a tandem axle trailer brake control can keep everyone and everything safe on the road.

Brake Types

A tandem axle trailer brake control can come in a few different models, according to Curt. Trailer brake controllers may vary based on how heavy the load is, and having the wrong types of brakes may put strain on the towing truck or even cause a collision. For one thing, the towing truck should have weight correctly distributed so that about 12% to 15% of a trailer’s weight is resting on the tow vehicle’s hitch.

Surge brakes do not even use electronic components, contrasting them from a tandem axle trailer brake control; instead, they use the trailer’s physical weight and momentum to activate, and hydraulic cylinders are pressed upon when the towing vehicle uses its own brakes. This transfers pressure to the trailer’s brakes and allows the trailer to come to a stop, and all this can make for a smooth and comfortable brake. The only downside is that surge brakes are not electronically controlled by the driver, so if a tow truck driver needs to adjust how braking is done for some reason, surge brakes fall short.

Meanwhile, a tandem axle trailer brake control may be inertia-based. In this case, an electrical component senses the inertia of the towing vehicle, and when the truck driver uses the truck’s own brakes, this type of tandem axle trailer brake control will apply proportionate brakes to the trailer, which in a way makes it analogous to surge brakes, but with the benefit of electronic components and control on the driver’s part. This can be useful on hills when a trailer is either pulling backwards and needs less braking power, or if the truck and trailer are going down a hill and thus need more braking power. Generally, trucks pulling very heavy loads will want to make use of these brake types for maximum safety and smooth braking.

Another form of tandem axle trailer brake control is the time-based brake control. In this case, as soon as the driver applies the truck’s brakes, and based on the settings that the truck driver put into this type of brake control, the control system will apply the brakes in the trailer so that it stops after a set amount of time. The end result is a brake system that is simple and easy to use, but it lacks the precise control of inertia-based electronic brake systems. However, these types of brakes may be suitable for trucks that are pulling lighter loads and thus there is less danger and momentum involved. Those who drive trucks and pull loads and trailers often may want to invest in inertia-based brake controls to ensure smooth and very safe and controlled stops, while those drivers who are only making a few brakes can settle for time-based brakes, mainly for lighter loads. A truck owner can choose which of these three models to buy and used based on how often they tow trailers, and how heavy those loads are. The terrain may also be a factor; hilly vs flat terrain may call for different brake controls, and the safety and convenience of the driver will be impacted by their hardware choices.

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