Electric Trailer Brakes: Essential Facts

Posted: October 23, 2014 in Boats, Parts and Accessories, Shopping, Trailers, Vehicles
Tags: , ,

Boating is one of the most popular recreational activities in the country. Before you can enjoy the open seas, though, you have to brave the open road first. That’s right, towing your vessel is a necessary, if unpopular, step.

While on the highway, one major consideration when hauling your boat is the type of trailer brake you’re using. After all, you want your trailer to stop when your car does. Fortunately, electric trailer brakes are excellent at performing this job.

Unlike other brake types, electric ones function without hydraulic fluids or cylinders. Rather, a controller is installed on the dashboard that sends a 12-volt direct current to electric brakes when pressed. This controller can be activated in two ways: either directly through the use of a dedicated lever, or when the driver steps on the tow vehicle’s own brake system (i.e. the tow vehicle and trailer brakes are linked via electrical wirings).

The electrical current engages a magnet on the wheel hub, which then causes the brake shoes to press against the drum, thereby causing the wheels to halt.

Electric brakes are easier to install and maintain because they have minimal parts: just the magnet wires, return springs, and brake shoes. They are also compliant with safety standards set by the Department of Transportation (DOT), unlike hydraulic brakes (another popular brake option) because they have the ability to stop the trailer quickly and directly.

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