How to Check Trailer Brakes

If you own a pickup truck, you are fortunate in the sense that you can tow small to large sized trailers without any hassle. Huge trailers have a kitchen, a toilet, and even a bed to sleep on. However, it is important to remember that trailers are not a part of your truck’s body. So, just like you take care of your vehicle, you need to take care of your trailer. The most integral part of a trailer is its brakes. The brakes hold the trailer in place when you hook it with your truck. Nobody wants a trailer speeding down a hill, so you should inspect its brakes regularly and get your spare parts from A-Part, if the need be. Checking trailer brakes is easy, especially if you have one of those electric brake systems. I have a few tips for you to maintain your trailer brakes.

How to Check Trailer Brakes

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  • There are different types of trailers but almost all of them have an electric braking system. Furthermore, trailers usually have two tires, so there are two axles where the brakes are mounted. A regular horse trailer will have two brakes on each axle. However, if you have a tandem axle trailer, it will have four brakes to look after. These trailers have a brake box that receives signals from your tow vehicle and requests the trailer to stop. So, the first thing to do is to check the brake box for any irregularities. Here, you can adjust the braking strength according to your liking.
  • Fortunately, there is a manual option to check the strength of your trailer brakes. Sometimes, it is difficult to judge the working of the trailer brakes. There is a slide bar located on the brake controller which has settings from 0 to 10. Drive your vehicle forward with the trailer in tow and adjust the slide bar, if there is no resistance at the highest setting, your brakes are not working.
  • If this happens, the problem could be corrosion or a wire malfunction in your brake box. You can get that checked at a workshop but if you are courageous enough, do it yourself. You will know the problem once you open the brake box. It’s best to trace the wiring to the tow car and check for problems from there.
  • Probably the best way to check your trailer brakes is to look at the components in the trailer manual. The manual will give you a clear picture of how things should be.

I would advise you regularly take your trailer to the workshop to have a professional look at the faults. For random checks and inspections, you can use my tips.



Nick is a leading dealer of car wax products and a true car lover. He pampers his cars to no end and spends a considerable amount of time and money on their maintenance.


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