Trailer Brake Control
Before you tow a trailer, make sure that its brakes are working well to avoid any road mishap. As soon as it displays any sign of malfunction, have it checked immediately to make your ride ready and safe for your next towing task. Fortunately, you can do the troubleshooting even without the help of a professional. Here are the steps on how you can do that:
What you'll need:
- 12 volt test light
- Owner's manual
Step 1: Engage the brake controller.
To make your trailer brake control work, you have to connect the trailer first to your tow vehicle. Get inside the vehicle and sit right where you can see and access the trailer's brake controller. Always keep the owner's manual near you so you can refer to it from time to time.
Step 2: Check the trailer brake controller's position.
For the brake controller to work well, it should be mounted at a particular level angle. Your owner's manual contains the suggested mounting angle for the particular controller you're using. Do some adjustments if the settings and mounting angle of your controller fail to meet the guidelines.
Step 3: Look for a troubleshooting code.
If your trailer brake control comes with digital or LED display screens, it will display a troubleshooting code when the device fails to work properly. Take note of the code that appears on the screen of the controller and look for the complete list of troubleshooting codes in your manual. Make the necessary adjustments in the braking system as suggested by the given code.
Step 4: If the controller shows signs of no power source, examine the wiring.
Check and double-check the wiring connection at the positive and negative battery terminals of your tow vehicle. Make sure the positive terminal is firmly engaged to the black power wire that comes from the trailer brake control. Since the white wire serves as a ground, it should have a secure connection to the battery's negative battery terminal.
Step 5: Ensure voltage continuity between trailer connector harness and the brake controller.
To do this, hold and connect the 12-volt test light to the port of the trailer connector wire that is located at the back of the trailer brake control. When the test confirms that you have 12 volts of power in that particular connection, hold the test light to the wire connection port of the trailer connector found at the rear of the tow vehicle. If the results of this test show that there is less power at the trailer connector than at the controller, then there are problems with the wiring between these two components. Check the wiring and fix any problem in there.
Step 6: Test the performance of the trailer brake control by driving the tow vehicle.
With the trailer connected, drive the tow vehicle at 25mph. Apply the brakes of the tow vehicle. If you feel that the trailer brakes aggressively or trailer braking is delayed, you might have set the power too high or too low. Make the necessary adjustments and try to drive again until the trailer brakes respond well as you depress the brake pedal of your tow vehicle.