Trailer Brakes: What Owners Should Know Before towing

Trailers are one of the most important pieces of equipment you own for your home or business. While you have most definitely thought of the length, height and features of your trailer, you may not think about its most important feature: its brakes. Before you take your trailer out on the open road, know these facts about your trailer's braking system.

To understand how your trailer braking system works, and what options exist to improve it, find out what type of brakes are on your trailer. Most consumer-sized trailers come with either hydraulic drum or disc brakes similar to what is found on a regular automobile. For large hauler-type trailers, air brakes are the only serious option.

After you know what type of brakes you have on your trailer, find out if they are rated for the weight and speed that you intend to carry your average loads. If you intend to carry heavy loads, especially down steep inclines, you should upgrade your standard trailer brakes to models more suited for heavy duty use. On the other hand, if you are merely carrying grass clippings and other light loads, regular brakes are perfectly suited for the job. Inspect your brakes frequently, especially after extended use. You do not want to be caught with only your truck's brakes should your trailer brakes fail.

While different trailer brakes are available on the market, try to stay with the same type as was installed by the original equipment manufacturer. This makes upgrades, repairs and replacements as easy as changing the brakes on your own car. If you stay on top of your trailer brake maintenance, you should have no problem hauling any type of cargo designed for your trailer for years to come.