Knowing How to Use Brakes on an RV

Many Americans who own their own pickup trucks use those powerful vehicles to tow items such as trailers or RVs, aside from motor homes (which drive themselves). Some truck owners are towing trailers for work, and others are towing leisure items such as a drum kit. But no matter what the cargo is, any pickup truck owner is encouraged to know all the safety procedures with towing trailers, especially heavier ones. Trailer sway can be a real problem, and without electronic trailer brake controllers, a towed RV might go out of control on the road. Fortunately, electric trailer brake controllers are widely available today, and trailer brake wiring systems can make any towing job smooth and easy. What is there to know about trailer brake wiring systems or preventing dangerous trailer sway? Using trailer brake wiring systems is a fairly straightforward concept.

Trailer Sway

As a pickup driver is driving along, their trailer might start swaying from side to side, and that is not to be desired. If the sway gets too strong, that trailer might break free, or even flip over and interfere with the truck’s own driving, and that could lead to a traffic accident. So, a pickup truck driver should not only double-check the fastenings, but also move the trailer’s cargo closer to the truck, rather than further away from it. Finally, care should be taken so that nothing is sticking out over the edge of the trailer.

If trailer sway starts to happen, the driver should not slam the brakes. Instead, the driver is urged to gradually slow down, such as by coasting, and allow themselves to get below the speed where the swaying started happening. That alone may fix the problem, and if it does not, the driver can gradually come to a stop, then get out and examine the trailer. This may involve adjusting the contents so they are closer to the truck and not sticking out over the edges.

A Trailer Brake Wiring System

Very light, basic trailers might not need much of a brake system, but anything even mid-sized will need its own brake system, such as an RV. These heavy trailers don’t benefit from the truck’s own brakes, and when that truck brakes, the trailer will keep going on its own wheels and crash right into the truck. Not good. So, trailer brake wiring systems can be fitted in, and this is just what it sounds like: electronic brakes for the RV that coordinate with the truck’s own brakes. This allows the truck and trailer to brake safely in unison, even if they are on an inclined plane going up or down.

What type of trailer brake wiring system is best for the job? For smaller and lighter trailers being towed at moderate speeds, a timing brake control system may be all that is needed, and they are easy enough to program. These brakes are connected by wires to a control system in the pickup truck’s cabin, and when the truck applies its own brakes, the timing brakes refer to their programmed settings to apply their own brakes. This braking effort is timing based, and that is adequate for moderate driving on a flat road.

These timing brakes are not quite precise enough for heavier loads, or for faster delivery times, though. Instead, a brake system will be inertia-based, and this allow for a greater degree of control where braking and momentum are concerned. Once this system is wired into the truck and trailer, the trailer’s brakes will be ready for the truck’s own brakes to activate. When they do, the trailer’s brakes gradually apply themselves based on the inertia of both the truck and the trailer, making for smooth and easy stops. In fact, these brakes can adjust their settings if the trailer is on an inclined plane. This prevents the trailer from applying the brakes wrong, and thus tugging the truck back on an incline or shoving it forward if they are going downhill. Otherwise, things might get out of control. But so long as those brake systems are working and programmed just right, they can brake safely in nearly any circumstances.

Leave a Reply