Towing a trailer or caravan can be a bit tricky. No matter how much practice you’ve had, there are always potential dangers involved with towing heavy loads. Following safe towing procedures can go a long way to protecting your family, and trailer brakes are one of the most important upgrades available. Effective trailer brakes can be the difference between a fun holiday and a serious accident. Because caravans come in all shapes and sizes, there’s a bit of confusion surrounding Queensland’s towing legislation. So, do you need electric brakes to tow a caravan in Queensland? Let’s find out!
What Are Electric Brakes?
An electric brake controller is a device that’s used to activate the brakes on a trailer or caravan. When you press the brake pedal in the tow vehicle, the electric brake controller sends a signal to the trailer, and the brakes are applied. Pretty simple, right?
Electric brakes are a critical safety feature when towing. Caravans and trailers often weigh more than a tonne. Your car’s brakes are designed to stop the car itself, so adding extra weight can overload the system and cause your brakes to fail. To avoid that, many caravans and trailers come with braking systems of their own. An electric brake controller is an affordable and reliable solution for activating those brakes remotely. Without having to be connected to your tow vehicle’s hydraulic system, electric brakes allow you to safely stop and control your trailer from the driver’s seat.
Do You Need Electric Brakes to Tow a Caravan?
In Queensland, you need electric brakes to tow a caravan that weighs more than 2,000kg. Electric brakes are also recommended when towing anything with a Gross Trailer Mass (GTM) over 1,000kg. Queensland has a number of road rules surrounding trailer brakes:
- Single axle trailers that weigh less than 750kg aren’t required to have brakes
- Trailers that weigh between 750kg and 2,000kg are required to have brakes on the wheels of at least one axle
- Trailers that weigh more than 2,000kg must have brakes on all wheels
- Inertia brakes can only be used on trailers that weigh less than 2,000kg
- Except for inertia brakes, trailer brakes must be operable from the driver’s seat of the tow vehicle
Most caravans weigh more than 750kg. That means investing in electric brakes and taking your vehicle to a car accessories installer is always a good idea.High quality electric brakes dramatically improve safety on the road, and they can go a long way to protecting you and your family from unnecessary risk.
How Do Electric Brakes Work?
Most electric brake controllers are connected to the brake light circuit of your tow vehicle. Typically, one half the electric brake system is installed inside your car. When you press the brake pedal, a low-power signal is sent to the unit under the dashboard. It then communicates with the main unit mounted to the trailer and the trailer’s brakes are activated.
While most electric braking systems are effective, newer models further simplify the process. Brake controllers such as the ones supplied by Elecbrakes use wireless technology to communicate between the tow vehicle and the caravan. Not only does that make the system more reliable, it allows for smarter, smoother braking that reduces wear and tear on your trailer and towing car. For anyone who tows a caravan off-road, electric brakes allow you to maintain control on rough surfaces where inertia brakes will struggle.
The Benefits of Electric Brake Controllers for Towing
A professionally installed electric brake controller is the best way to protect your family and vehicles on the road. These simple devices come with a few major benefits:
- Improved safety. Towing can be dangerous if you don’t take proper precautions. While inertia brakes are an okay solution for small trailers, caravans and larger tow loads need electric brakes to ensure safety on the road.
- Smoother brake control. Modern electric brake controllers are highly sensitive, so they can activate the trailer’s brakes smoothly and evenly, even in emergencies. This reduces wear and tear on your vehicles and reduces the chance of losing control of the trailer.
- Simple installation. Electric brake controllers are usually quick to install and easy to set up. Wired-in brake controllers are suitable for every type of tow vehicle, and a professional can install a kit without much trouble.
- Suitable for off-road towing. Inertia brakes often struggle with off-road driving. Since electric brakes only come on when you press the pedal, they’re a great solution for towing a caravan while off-roading.
Getting Ready for Your Next Adventure? Talk to AAEAC About Electric Brakes!
Installing an electric brake controller is a simple and affordable way to make towing your caravan safer and using the best towing accessories Brisbane wide can assist with that. Whether you’re headed down the highway or off the beaten track, electric brakes will make sure you get where you’re going. If you’re planning your next trip and need brake controllers or towing accessories installed, talk to our team of car accessories installer experts at Access Auto Electrics! We’re experienced auto electricians in Brisbane who specialise in installing all types of towing accessories and vehicle diagnostic services. We work on passenger cars, 4WDs, caravans and trailers, so we can install an electric braking solution for every vehicle. Get in touch for more information, or contact us online if you’d like to make a booking!