Difference Between Electric Brake Magnets

Electric Brake Magnets

There are 2 types of electric brake magnets. Here we will explain the difference and why off-road magnets are important that they are fitted when travelling on corrugated roads.

You can learn how to check for magnet wear, key features and tips at the bottom of this article.

Why dirt roads destroy Electric Brakes

It is a fact that dirt roads destroy electric brakes. Unsuspecting caravan owners discover their electric braking systems and electric drums are being rendered defective by vibrations transferred to braking systems by corrugated roads.

The Fineline Fabrications staff has handled many inquiries for replacement drums. Upon inspection, the magnet has chewed its way through the steel casting rendering the electric magnet unserviceable.

Also affected was the magnet arm. The customer found it was best to buy new backing plates with off-road magnets and new electric drums.

The AL-KO off-road magnet is a great investment for rough Australian roads.

Standard and Offroad Electric Brakes

While it is not easy to destroy electric brakes, look at these magnets on the image above.

  • The rattling magnet on the magnet arm has tried to cut the magnet in half.(image bottom)
  • This magnet has only survived two weeks as a result of traveling on corrugated roads.
  • Corrugated roads also destroyed the drum and the electric backing plate.
  • The magnet top left is a standard electric magnet, it is same as the off-road magnet in the bottom left of the image.
  • The magnet top right is the electric magnet of choice for the worst roads in Australia.
  • The top right off-road magnet is AL-KO designed and manufactured. AL-KO off-road magnets are the choice of electric braking for all major OEM manufacturers.

Replacing your off-road magnets before your next trip into the outback will save you money, time and motel bills as you wait for replacement parts.

Magnet Retaining Clip
Finally, you will not find any retaining clip supplied with your off-road magnet. AL-KO recommends holding the magnet in place, on the magnet arm with a rubber band.

The first braking event will sever the rubber band thus leaving the magnet in its normal operating position.

How to check magnet wear

  • Check the four small holes on top of the magnet.
  • These holes are warning indicators that display magnet wear.
  • Extreme magnets wear if there are no holes or less than four holes.
  • Then the face of the magnet hole has worn, then it is time to replace the magnet.

Key Features

  • Wear holes are at 3 pm, 6 pm, 9 pm and 12.
  • Magnets draw approximately 3.2 amps each
  • Wires can be connected either positive or negative.

Once worn, copper begins to become exposed. Subsequently, an open electric circuit will render the brakes inoperable.


  • Bed new magnets into position to achieve 100% braking efficiency.
  • The magnet face is a shiny finish.
  • This finish needs to be scuffed up during the initial stages of breaking before your magnets become 100% effective.