If you are looking for the right trailer brake control system to have installed on your truck, Jazz It Up Truck and Auto Accessories has just the information you need. We install a myriad of truck accessories, including trailer braking systems. If you’re not sure which one to choose or what’s required to haul that camper or boat up into the mountains, simply call or stop by the shop for more information. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know.
Today, let’s focus on which trailer brake control system may work best for your truck or SUV.
Surge Brakes vs. Electric Brakes
Surge brakes are an entirely self-contained braking system. They use the weight of the trailer to initiate the braking system. When you step on the brakes in your vehicle, the trailer continues forward, pressing up against the connection and compressing the hydraulic cylinder. This compression then transfers the pressure to the trailer’s brakes and slows the its speed. While surge brakes need to be adjusted correctly to work well, they are easy to use, requiring no trailer brake control system to operate.
On the other hand, electric brakes require a brake control system to operate and electrical connection from the trailer to the tow vehicle. This creates programmable braking and gives a driver more control over the braking system. This type of system uses the electrical power from your tow vehicle to initiate the electromagnetic brake drums on the trailer.
Time-Based vs. Inertia-Based Electric Brake Controls
In the electric trailer brake system category, you can choose between time-based and inertia-based (aka proportional). Both require a control box to be mounted inside your truck or SUV. This gives you a couple of control knobs or sliding buttons to adjust sensitivity and gain.
Time-based brake controls can be tricky to use. The driver presets the gain setting, adjusting the brake power and ramp-up speed according to personal preference, road conditions, what’s being hauled, and load weight. This often requires testing things out and adjusting, so different loads will require different settings and perhaps, a lot of tweaking on the part of the driver.
Inertia-based or proportional brake controls allow a driver more precise control, especially on hills. They use an internal accelerometer to sense the tow vehicle’s inertia. When the driver brakes, the system applies power to the trailer brakes in proportion to the vehicle’s momentum. This allows for smoother and more efficient braking because the controls sense the change in momentum and apply just the right level of pressure to match the situation best.
Having the right brake control system is key, but also having a breakaway system in place could make all of the difference in a challenging situation. In the instance that your trailer disconnects unexpectedly, a breakaway system will slow the trailer down independently. So, if you’re hauling a boat up the I-70 and it catastrophically breaks away from the hitch, it will brake on its own instead of rolling back down the mountain into oncoming traffic. For a larger trailer, a breakaway system may be required by law. If not, it is still an excellent safety device to install on a boat, pop-up tent camper or other trailer.
If you’re planning to haul toys this summer – or any other time of year, visit Jazz It Up in Centennial. We have the trailer brake control system you need, and our experts can have it installed in about an hour!