How often do you test your trailer brakes? Have you tested the break away system? How exactly do you test the break away system, anyways? These are crucial questions when you consider what can go wrong towing heavy equipment behind your pick-up truck. Luckily, we’ve got some experts in our shop who know a thing or two about trailer brakes. Ed Martin, Service Manager of our Orland Park store, has a few helpful tips to keep in mind when testing your brakes:
On testing and adjusting for wear: “Most electric trailer brakes are not self adjusting and must be adjusted manually as the brake lining wears to maintain proper engagement when applied. This condition is noticeable when the brakes aren’t applying effectively, no matter how high the controller is set in the tow vehicle”.
On testing the break away system: “The emergency break away system should be tested periodically. There is an on-board battery that will power the brakes should the trailer become disconnected from the tow vehicle. This battery tends to lose its charge due to age, lack of maintenance and being exposed to the elements. The system can be tested by pulling the break away cable and then trying to pull the trailer. All of the wheels should be locked up if the system is in working order and the brakes are adjusted properly”.
Ed also notes that the brake controller and the associated wiring on the tow vehicle can also fail due to age and corrosion, so be aware of that and take notice if it needs replacement.
Periodic testing will save you a lot of trouble down the line and is important if you want to promote safety when transporting your equipment. If you notice any of these conditions, bring the tow vehicle and trailer in for service to your nearest dealer location. We’ll get you fixed up quick!