Annebelle's Auto Parts Blogs, Tips and Research

Surge versus Electric Braking Systems for Your Trailer

by آیلین حیدری

Trailers come in handy when you need to transport stuff that cannot fit in a car or conventional truck. Thankfully, you can easily mount such stuff on a trailer and tow them in a trailer. When using trailers, an independent braking system is very vital. You should not rely entirely on the braking system of the vehicle. This will help to minimise accidents caused by jack-knifing. Jack-knifing is a situation where the vehicle and the trailer forms a V-shape with a sharp bend at the joint where the trailer is attached to the vehicle. If the trailer does not have a braking system, it is forced to skid past the vehicle when you brake suddenly. Here are two types of braking systems for your trailer to help you understand them and choose the right one:

Surge Braking Systems

The surge braking system on your trailer comprises the actuator, master cylinder, brake fluid, fluid channels, break shoes and the drums adjacent to the wheel. The actuator is a lever used to activate the trailer's brakes independently from those of the vehicle towing it. When the driver engages the actuator, the master cylinder in the surge brake system forces the brake fluid through the system's lines and into the cylinders on the wheel. The cylinders transfer the force to the break shoes, which press against the drums on the wheels to slow down the motion of the wheel.

Just like the brakes of your vehicle, maintenance is key when you have a surge braking system. This involves checking the brake fluid levels, replacing corroded brake fluid lines and changing worn out brake shoes. 

Electric Braking Systems

The electric braking system has magnets, brake shoes, a drum and an electric controller. The magnets use electromagnetic fields to move towards the brake shoes. The brake shoes then press against the drum, which transfers the pressure to the wheel assembly to regulate motion.  The electric controller is connected to the battery on the vehicle towing the trailer. The controller draws electric power from the vehicle and transmits it to the braking system of the trailer through a wiring system. For the power to be transmitted, it needs to be activated. You can do this by wiring the trailer's brake system to the electrical components of the vehicle's brakes. When you step on the vehicles brake pedal, you automatically activate the trailer's braking system. Alternatively, you can connect the brake to an independent actuator for activation.

For maintenance, you should have the wiring checked regularly. You should also replace worn out brake shoes and drums for effective transfer of pressure when braking .

Preferably, you should go for the electric braking system because it offers two activation alternatives, unlike the surge system.