Q7) What types of braking systems are found on most
Electric brakes are by far the most commonly used type of
braking system up to about 16,000 lbs.
Electric over hydraulic brakes and surge brakes are also used on
Electric brake systems are the mainstay of the light
trailer industry. A brake control unit is necessary to activate and
control braking when the tow vehicle brake pedal is depressed sending an
electronic signal to electromagnets located in the wheels of the trailer.
As the electromagnets receive power they begin to adhere to the metal wheel drum
activating the brakes and stopping the trailer. A "panic" bar
located on the brake controller can be used to override the current setting(s)
that is used for normal braking.
Any trailer that has electric brakes must have an electronic
brake controller installed.
Surge brakes are in reality hydraulic brakes, much like
those used in cars and light trucks. Surge brakes use hydraulic pressure
to push a piston inside the wheel cylinder that in turn pushes out the brake linings
into the wheel drum. This stops the trailer. An advantage of this
system is that it is self-contained and any tow vehicle that is used can
activate the system. The major problem with this system is that on
slippery road surfaces the activation is minimized or not reliable.
Additional resources include:
Kiefer Built, Inc.
P.O. Box 88
Kanawha, Iowa 50447
Toll Free: 1-888-2KIEFER (1-888-254-3337)
P.O. Box 499
Waupaca, WI 54981
Feather Lite Trailers
Information for these and other trailer/tow vehicle questions is courtesy
Mr. Ray Reimann
Horseman Trailer Sales
W5712 Hwy JJ
Appleton, WI 54913