What braking system is best for your braked trailer?

Brakes are undoubtedly the most critical component of any vehicle. When the brakes are applied, it is essential that the whole vehicle comes to an immediate halt. While vehicle brakes generally suffice, heavier trailers require an additional layer of protection.

Did you know that trailers below 750kg do not have to have brakes. When trailers are over 2 tonne (such as our Play & Stay Toy Hauler) a braking system must be in place, if 2.5 tonne or more you must have brake away system where the safety device locks on. If over 2.5 tonne then braking needs to be on both axels.

Exploring the various differences between electric and mechanical trailer brakes for heavier trailers will give you a proper understanding of both the electric and mechanical trailer brakes, allowing you to ultimately select the one that’s best for your braked trailer.

There are two kinds of brake controllers. Proportional which is the amount of push or weight controller or time activated before the brakes set in/start to work. The plugs on a trailer has pins that “talk” to the certain numbers in the electronics of the car. People often have it wired to the wrong pins and hence it may not work correctly. So getting advice on what braking system is best is always ideal and following the manufacturer’s instructions are essential.

Mechanical v’s Electric Braking Systems

Mechanical brakes are employed to ensure the trailer does not exceed the speed of the car. This is facilitated through a sliding spring mechanism which contracts when the trailer's speed surpasses that of the vehicle. The brake drums are engaged through the brake cables connected to the axles when the drawbar contracts - which results in the acceleration of the trailer being restricted. The trailer then returns to a normal speed once the car has halted and the brake cables are deactivated.

Australian road users are well-served by the reliable and effective mechanical brake system, with its straightforward overrun system ensuring that any operational issues are kept to a minimum.

For many years, Australians have widely preferred the electric trailer brake system as their preferred choice of braking system. This system includes a brake controller which is installed in the tow vehicle and uses electromagnets to operate the brakes in the drums. Along with the brake controller, the brake light circuit also regulates the flow of electricity to ensure maximum efficiency.

Experience the benefits of electronic braking systems. Not only does it reduce the stress on your vehicle’s brakes, but it is also adjustable via the brake controller, providing greater control on roads with hills or high winds. This means you can enjoy a safer and smoother ride with an electronic braking system.

It should be noted that with electric brakes, a controller must be available on either the tow vehicle or a trailer/caravan mounted one (like the Elecbrakes unit) and there must be a constant power supply. Without these, the brakes will not function. 

To test the system, apply the brakes at 40km/h. If you feel the trailer is pushing the towing vehicle, adjust the scale to increase the braking level. Conversely, if the wheels of the trailer lock up, turn the scale down to reduce braking power. With these simple steps, you can ensure that your electric braking system performs optimally!

If you’re planning to buy a trailer braking system, do not hesitate to get expert advice from us or contact Total Trailer Parts. Further assistance can help you decide on the right braking system for you.

Call us on 02 4588 8000 Monday to Friday 7am -5pm.