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WE STAND IN FRONT OF OUR BRAKE JOBS!
Before you hit the road, contact us for electric brake inspection and service. For decades, everyone from young families to retirees has entrusted their RV electric brake maintenance to Vancouver Axle in the Fraser Valley, BC. We do electric brakes right!
Your electric trailer brakes need regular service…but how often?
- How heavy are your tow loads?
- Are you an RV “full timer”?
- Do you use your RV only a few months out of the year and put on minimal mileage?
- How do you treat your brakes? The gentler you are on them, the better.
Your manufacturer’s service recommendations, frequency of use, lifestyle, driving behaviors, among other variables determine your service schedule. Ask us, and we’ll PLACE you on the RIGHT maintenance schedule!
DON’T service your own brakes if you feel the slightest doubt of your ability. We’ll have you in and out of our shop quickly and affordably. With your brakes in top shape, you’ll feel safe and confident to embark on your next adventure.
Electric brakes: The basics
Sometimes called electric friction brakes, electric brake systems have been the standard on most trailers for several decades. A few exceptions are hauling trailers, which use hydraulic, or surge, brakes, and some large fifth wheels, which use air brakes.
How do electric brakes work?
In your tow vehicle, generally beneath the dashboard, you will find an electric brake controller. The brake controller directs power from the tow vehicle’s electrical system to the trailer brakes through a wiring system.
Electric trailer brakes involve an electromagnet that is mounted inside the wheel hub assembly. When you activate the brake controller, the magnet is energized and the brake shoes move outward and press against the brake drum for slowing and stopping functions.
You can activate electric brakes in two ways:
–By stepping on the brake pedal of the tow vehicle
–By pressing a manual switch inside the tow vehicle
Brake controls come in two forms:
inertia-activated and time activated. Both allow voltage to be applied to the trailer brake system wiring, energizing the trailer brakes so that the trailer helps the tow vehicle slow or stop.
Electric brakes: Fewer parts to service/replace
Compared to hydraulic trailer brakes, electric trailer brakes are easier and less expensive to service/replace. Electric brakes involve fewer parts, which include the magnet, wires, shoes and return springs; there is no hydraulic fluid, master cylinder or lines to worry about.
This device could save your life if your trailer and tow vehicle become unhitched. Should this happen, you’re safe with the breakaway switch, which activates your trailer brakes until you can bring both trailer and tow vehicle to a safe stop.
Electric Brakes: Common Problems and Possible Causes
Got weak brakes? The cause could be as simple as a loose connection, so make sure all your connections are nice, clean and tight. Your trailer might not be grounded, so check for proper grounding. A short circuit could be the cause, so check your electrical circuit. You may have worn linings or just the wrong type of linings. Your brake drums may be worn. You may have a loose axle on your frame.
Got NO brakes? An open circuit could be the culprit. Check your wires for damage, loose connections, and improper grounding. Your controller may be defective or need rewiring. You may need a brake adjustment. Maybe you have a short circuit. Your magnets may be damaged and need replacement.
Got surging brakes? Your brake drums may need adjustment. Your trailer ground may be off. Loose wheel bearings may be a cause.
Got noisy brakes? Your brakes may need adjustment. Your brake linings may be worn, so check your brake shoes. Your springs may be damaged. Your wheel bearings may need adjustment or replacement. Greasy brake linings and worn-out magnets are other possible causes.
Got locking brakes? Your flanges might not be installed right. Your brake linings may be contaminated and need replacement. Your brake controller may need an adjustment.
Got a nonfunctioning breakaway switch? You may need to replace your battery or the breakaway switch itself. Your switch may have defective wiring. Poor electrical connections may be the cause, so check the wiring and tighten any loose connections. You may have broken wires. Your insulation may be worn.