Electric Brake Controller
Driving a trailer always adds weight and size to the vehicle towing it. For the driver and the vehicle, that means a more stressful and generally tougher driving experience. Driving without an electric brake controller makes that drive even more difficult. Towing a trailer without a break controller means that all of the stress of stopping is placed on the vehicle’s breaks, and because trailers are extremely heavy, that is a problem not only for brakes, but for overall safety.
Electric brake controllers are the only way to tow a trailer safely. Without them, you put too much pressure on your vehicle’s brakes, and you risk losing control of the trailer. This used to be a bigger problem with trailers, but most modern trailers are equipped with electric brakes. This is where the controller comes in: you need one in order to control the trailer’s brakes.
Brake controllers come in three major kinds. The first, and least expensive, is the timed controller. With this, you preset how much you would like the trailer to brake every time you do. The problem with this is that the trailer does not adjust to how much you brake; it brakes the same amount every time you do. Because of this, the timing controller usually places an uneven amount of pressure on either your brakes or the trailer’s, and sometime in a way that hurts more than helps. But it usually does help, and is a great deal better for the driver and vehicle than having nothing at all. It also has the advantage of being much easier to install.
The second kind of controller is the proportional controller. This one is much more advanced, and allows the trailer to break according to how much the driver does. The proportional controller measures the vehicle’s deceleration and automatically detects how much the trailer to break accordingly. Thanks to its ability to self-adjust, this type of electric controller allows for a much smoother driving experience.
Another kind of proportional control is the pendulum controller. This uses an actual pendulum to measure the speed of deceleration. These are less expensive than regular proportional controllers because the technology is simpler. In order for these to work, however, they need to be installed at a very specific angle. Also, they don’t work nearly as well on hills, because that throws off the pendulum. It is worth noting that while proportional controllers do cost more, but as their technology continues to advance, they are becoming more and more affordable. And because they offer so much better a driving experience, they are well worth the difference in price in the long-term. In balancing price and effectiveness, proportional controllers are the best on the market.
The newest type of electric brake controller is the electric over hydraulic control. This is a computer-controlled device that actually measures your own brake pressure, and adjusts the trailer’s brakes accordingly. This works best because it not only adjusts to how you are driving, but the computers installed in the system allow for both it and you to adjust the pressure. There is no guesswork involved, because even if the computer makes a small mistake in its measurements, you can quickly and intuitively change its equation. However, they are very expensive, and many think that the product does not offer enough of an increase in performance to be worth the increase in price.
Electric brake controllers are a very simple and effective way to make pulling a trailer safer and less damaging to your car. They might not be for people taking only one trip, but if you own a trailer and use it even semi-frequently, they are essential, and in the long run, they will actually save you money on brake costs alone. As with any product that saves time, money and stress, electric brake controllers are well worth investing in.