How To Adjust New Electric Trailer Brakes?

how to adjust trailer brakes

We all need a trailer and another type of recreational vehicles to relax with a cross country trip, or it may be the part of your job. Whatever the situation might be, you must have come across trailers, and you might know the importance of maintaining them.

Maintaining trailer parks takes up a little more effort compared to any standard car due to its large size and the difference in their operation. There may come a situation where you will have to tow your trailer, and that's where the importance of adjusting your trailer brakes comes in.

What is an Electric Brake and why do you need Them?

New Electric Trailer Brakes

Photo Credit:

When a large vehicle such as a utility trailer, camper or a trailer park is being towed, then you need a supplementary brake system as the brakes of the two are not enough to stop both vehicles at once. There are two types of brakes available, which are the forward self-adjusting brakes and the manual brakes.

The forward brakes will adjust themselves once the brakes are applied in the trailer, whereas the manual brakes have to be adjusted by using a star adjuster. It is highly recommended to use the electric brakes, as they don't need to be adjusted again and again, once you set them and you are good to go.

Don't worry! You don't need to go to the mechanic to get this job done as you can do it yourself in the comfort of your garage. We have provided the steps where you can adjust the brakes yourself, which will save you money and the trip to the mechanic.

What Equipment will you require will Adjusting New Electric Brakes?

Here is the list of auto part components or tools, which you will need while adjusting new electric brakes.

Electric Brake
  • A standard jack: the brakes are located on the bottom of the trailer, so you need to get a jack to lift up the trailer. Jacks come with the trailer, or you can purchase it from any tools store. 
  • Brake adjustment tool: This tool is required turning the adjusting gear and the brake controller. You need to tighten the gear with this tool, which is the main part. You can get this tool easily in any hardware or tool store, and as it is very compact, you don't need to worry about the storage problems, and you can use it for a long period.
  • Screwdriver: The main task while adjusting the brakes is to tighten the controller and put all the linkages in order. This can be done only with the help of a screwdriver. Almost everyone does have this tool in their garage, and if you don't, you can get the screwdriver set at any hardware store. Bring the whole set as all the trailer brakes have different nuts and bolts, so you find the adequate driver and use it accordingly.
  • Safety gloves: Whenever working with any vehicle, always use your safety gloves to avoid any injury whether it is foreseeable or not. It will also help you to keep your hands clean and prevents you from coming in direct contact with any interior parts of the vehicle.

Step by Step Method of Adjusting New Electric Brakes

  • The first step would be to ensure that the handbrake is not applied so that there is no blockage of the draw tube. With the handbrake applied you won't be able to get a full extension of the tube.
  • After that, you need to lift up your trailer using a standard jack and ensure that it is perfectly fit to the capacity jack stands. Do make sure that the wheel and drums are free and they have the space to rotate freely. If you face any problem while using it, then read the trailer's service manual and the security recommendations that come with it.
  • Now remove the adjusting hole cover, which is located at the bottom of the brake adjusting plate in the adjusting slot. Do this carefully and don't pull out the cover quickly, do it nice and slowly.
  • Inspect the anchor plates and check the nuts and the Bowden cables for tightness. Remove all the dirt from the compensator and ensure that the brake assembly is parallel to the inner cable. Do not put any tension on the cable.
  • The next step will be to check the brake rod if the brake rod is longer than 50mm then make some adjustments to the lever or the brake link. Ensure that the lock bolts are tightened. With the help of a screwdriver, slightly rotate the star wheel so that the brake expands. Then do this step until there is an adequate pressure of the linings of the drum and it is tightened, which makes it very difficult for the wheel to turn. Also, ensure that there is enough brake fluid in the steering wheel for the smooth functioning of the brakes.
  • After the above step rotate the star wheel in the opposite direction till the wheels can move or turn freely. There will be a slight lining drag when you do this. Now you need to test the brake controller by using the wheel handbrake. If you have made correct adjustments, then you will feel the same resistance on every hub when the wheels are moved or turned forward. Ensure that all of the brakes have locked firmly. If you feel that the brakes are loose, then you need to make re-adjustments to the brakes.
  • Take the stands and the jack off from the trailer and bring it down slowly. Now ensure the twist settings on the bolts and see that they are tight enough. Your trailer is now ready to hit the road with the newly adjusted electric brakes. Take a road test, and you will notice that the brake system is now smooth than ever and will improve as you speed up.

By following the above steps, you can easily adjust the electric brakes, which can help your trailer to come to a halt without any tension. If the trailer brakes are not adjusted, then it becomes very difficult to stop the trailer due to its large size. To ensure your safety and others around you do adjust these brakes and check them from time to time if they need re-adjustment.

Follow these steps, which can avoid major road accidents and you can ensure a safe road trip with your family and friends. If you have found this post knowledgeable, the share it with others. Let us know what you think of it in the comment section.