How does a trailer brake controller work?
A trailer brake controller uses electricity from the tow vehicle to apply a specific amount of power to the trailer brakes. It uses electrical circuits and trailer gain settings to regulate the amount of braking power. Some brake controllers have circuits that respond to the vehicle's momentum while towing. Others apply power on a fixed increasing scale and level off at a maximum output, based on parameters set by the driver.
How to Adjust Trailer Brake Controller
With your trailer coupled to your vehicle, the first step when towing with a brake controller is to make sure the trailer wiring harness is plugged into your vehicle.
Note: During setup, make sure your vehicle and trailer are parked on a level surface. Also, make sure you are in a safe, open area with plenty of stopping distance and no other traffic around.
The next step is allowing the brake controller to calibrate. With the trailer plugged in, the brake controller may need to be calibrated. Most brake controllers are self-calibrating. Others do not require calibration at all. Next, you should select and adjust personal settings, such as angle of the interface, brightness of the screen, etc. before driving. The next thing you should do is set the maximum output. To do so, press and hold the vehicle brake pedal. Set the output to the starting value specified in the instructions. Then, in an open area, test the trailer brakes by driving forward at about 25 mph and applying the brakes. If the vehicle stops too slowly, increase the maximum output. If it stops too abruptly or locks up, reduce the output.
The following step is to adjust the sensitivity level. You can do so by driving forward at about 25 mph and pressing the brake pedal. If the vehicle stops too slowly, increase the sensitivity setting. If it stops too abruptly, lower the sensitivity. The final step for adjusting the brake controller is to manually activate the brakes as needed. Most trailer brake controllers come with a manual activation button. This allows you to activate the trailer brakes whenever desired, without applying the vehicle brakes.
How do you calibrate a trailer brake controller?
To calibrate a brake controller, make sure the vehicle is parked on a level surface. Then, plug your trailer into your tow vehicle. The brake controller will then calibrate. Most brake controllers are self-calibrating. After calibration, some adjustment may be required to best fit the vehicle, trailer and load size.
What is the best setting for trailer brake controller?
The best setting for a brake controller is one that will match the trailer and load size. Begin by selecting the gain level and sensitivity recommended by the manufacturer. Then, test the brake controller and brakes. If more gain or sensitivity is needed, adjust accordingly.
What is trailer gain?
Trailer gain is the amount of power a brake controller applies to the trailer brakes. It is equal to the maximum amount of stopping force for the trailer. As the vehicle brake pedal is applied, the gain tells the brake controller how much electrical power to apply to the trailer brake electromagnets.
What should my trailer gain be set at?
Trailer gain should be set based on the trailer and load size. For larger trailers, use a higher gain setting. For smaller trailers, a lower gain setting should be used to avoid brake lockup.
How to set trailer brake gain
To set trailer brake gain, start with the values specified by the manufacturer. Test your trailer brakes at 25mph. If the vehicle stops slowly, increase the trailer brake gain. If the brakes lock up, decrease the gain.