Awesome auto service stories

Awesome auto service stories

How to Avoid Issues with Your Trailer Braking Controllers

by Debra Morgan

If you want to tow a trailer loaded with significant weight, you will, of course, want to remain in control at all times. In order to do so, you need to ensure that your rig is equipped with a special device known as a trailer brake controller, which will apply the correct amount of deceleration to the trailer at the appropriate time. If you're not too familiar with these and how they work, what do you need to know?

Helping Hand

A brake controlling mechanism is fitted in line with the trailer's braking system and is designed to sense what is happening whenever the driver applies the pedal. Most of these devices are based on a pendulum action, where the position of the pendulum dictates just how much energy is required to stop safely.

Pendulum Based

This device needs to be calibrated properly before it is used and may need to be re-calibrated from time to time. When it is in its neutral position, it'll typically hang straight down towards the ground and will point towards the rear of the rig as everything is in motion. As soon as the driver applies the brake pedal, momentum will force the pendulum to swing towards the front. The controller will sense how far this needle swings and will send the appropriate amount of braking power to the trailer behind.


Some models are based on predetermination, where the driver has to input a reading based on how much weight is being towed. This will send a specific amount of energy to the trailer braking system after a given delay which is, once again, determined by the driver.


As you can imagine, the equipment required to make this type of system work is quite sophisticated. It relies on a monitoring device to determine how much power should be supplied and to provide a warning message in the event of failure. When they are active, these screens will typically show how much energy is being sent to the trailer brakes according to the pressure being applied to the pedal.

How to Avoid Trouble

If your monitor shows a warning sign or you're having trouble stopping your rig, you need to take action immediately. This is, of course, a potentially dangerous situation and you need to get your brake controller and monitor checked by a competent mechanic. To avoid this type of problem, it's always best to service your entire braking system on a regular basis, to include these all-important components as well.


About Me

Awesome auto service stories

I've been running an auto service shop for the past 30 years. The trends in cars have changed a lot over that time, and cars are becoming a lot more complicated and automated. People can't fix many items on their own cars any more as you need a computer to diagnose most issues. People use their cars a lot more these days as we live further away from workplaces and schools so it's important for me to be able to get cars back quickly. I have had to keep learning about how the new cars run and I keep a lot of hints on this site so you can all learn the things you can do to make your cars run better.