According to a report released by the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTA), there are over 50,000 accidents every year that are associated with towing. One of the solutions to dealing with this menace is having the right brake controllers for your caravan or trailer.
Unlike some decades ago when the braking system in vehicles was not much a big consideration, the automotive industry is nowadays fitting cars and trailers with electric brakes. That means the best trailer brake controllers that can match your truck should be electric too.
To avoid being part of the NHTA statistics, we have further outlined and analyzed the most common types of trailer brake controllers that will fit your trailer and keep you safe on the road. Let’s explore them.
The 4 Types of Trailer Brake Controllers
There is some confidence that comes in when you are aware that your trailer is having good brakes. Of course, this will not only keep your large cargo in the tow safe but also other road users.
Effective brake controllers for trailers usually consider the size and the entire weight of your trailer. Besides, your mechanic will consider the frequency of your tow usage. It might be hard to tow a trailer for the first time, so you should learn towing tips for beginners for a safe trip. If you do tow less often, there is a recommended type of brake controller that should be in your vehicle.
There are also other factors you are to consider before fixing any brake controller in your vehicle. You can check out any buying guide for trailer brake controllers to be more enlightened on this topic. However, here are the four types of trailer brake controllers:
1. Time-Delayed Brake Controllers
If you are that driver who is not into towing so much, then this kind of brake controllers are particularly for you. Once you step on the brake pedal, the power that you had set depending on the weight of your tow, is applied to the brakes of your trailer.
The reason why these brake controllers go by the name “time-delayed” is the delay between when the driver pushes the brake pedal and when the set power takes effect.
You can decide to either shorten or lengthen the delay using the sync switch found in your controller. But, the two applications have their implications on the braking of your vehicle or that one of the trailers.
If the sync is set at high frequency, it is the trailer that will be braking harder while the vehicle’s brakes will be doing most of the job when the sync is set at low frequency. This usually leads to brakes wearing unevenly. So it is advisable to set the sync at the optimum level to avoid much strain on either side.
Nevertheless, these time-delayed brake controllers are easy to install and use. Besides, they are the cheapest brakes that can install at any angle.
2. Inertia-Based Brake Controllers
Unlike the time-delayed brake controllers that result in an uneven brake wearing in the trailer and the vehicle, inertia-based brake controllers ensure there is a balance between the two. That means, there is an even and equal brake wear.
This kind of brake controllers for trailers usually function based on how much inertia you have applied. It becomes very effective when the level of inertia is high. The trailer braking is more effective when the braking is harder. If there is no enough inertia, your trailer may be dangerous to other road users.
3. Proportional Controllers
They use an accelerometer to determine the idleness of the tow. Depending on the momentum of your vehicle, a matching pressure goes to your trailer brakes whenever you activate your vehicle’s brake.
Because of the motion-sensing gadget, pendulum circuit, in it, it determines the speed of the trailer and deploys a proportionate power. This makes the trailer to stop at the same time as the main vehicle.
In case of an emergency where you hit the brakes, power goes to the trailer and stop it immediately. This is what makes proportional controllers best for many trailer drivers.
4. Hydraulic-Over-Electronic Controllers
Some professionals in the automotive industry felt the need to come up with a more reliable type of brake controller that would work at all times even when electric brake controllers fail. The result was the introduction of the hydraulic-over-electronic controllers into the market.
Hydraulic-over-electronic controllers are more reliable and even accurate compared to the other brake controllers that have been in the market. Perhaps, this is the future of trailer drivers and it is already becoming popular among millennial drivers.
If you are planning of acquiring a trailer or you already have one, you need to buy an electric brake controller to keep your cargo and everyone on the road safe. One of the above controllers will be a good fit for your caravan. There are many trailer brake controller reviews on the internet and from professional mechanics that will help you further get the best brake controller for your trailer.
(1) Best Trailer Brake Controllers – Buying Guide and Reviews – Autance.com, December 24, 2019
(2) Pickup Trucks 101: Towing Tips for Beginners – News.pickuptrucks.com, December 5, 2018
(3) How to tow a trailer – Howacarworks.com