Tips on How to Adjust Trailer Brakes

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Tips on How to Adjust Trailer Brakes

When your vehicle goes up on a trailer, it is vital you understand how to adjust trailer brakes so they will work efficiently. If you have no experience working on your brakes, then you should not attempt this task alone. You should make sure you know what steps you need to take in order to properly adjust the brakes. This will ensure your vehicle is as safe to drive as possible, and you will feel confident enough to do whatever necessary in order to ensure your vehicle is secure.

Tips on How to Adjust Trailer Brakes

Step 1: Unplug Brake Pedals

First off, you should always start with your brake pedals un-plugged.

Once this is done, you should proceed to slowly ease the pressure off the brake and allow the pads to slowly extend. You should do this until you are almost at maximum braking force.

Be sure to pay special attention to the amount of pressure being used, because you do not want to damage your wheels or brake lines while trying to make these adjustments.

Step 2: Check the Rotors

You should check the rotors on the backside of your vehicle. The rotors are where your rotors turn, which allows you to use your wheels to slow yourself down.

If you have scratches on your rotors, it will be very difficult for you to get the right amount of force to slow down, so it is best to start off by checking these first.

Once you have made these corrections, you can continue to read on how to adjust trailer brakes. This will ensure that your brakes will work properly and will keep you from having to worry about them falling off unexpectedly.

Step 3: Check Brake Hoses

Next, you should check the brake hoses. These will be where the liquid or gas you are using flows past the brake pads.

If there are any cracks or leaks, it is important that you correct these problems right away. As previously mentioned, you want to be sure that you are not damaging your brakes.

You can read the instructions in your manual on how to adjust trailer brakes or speak to someone at your local garage, to find out what you should be doing with your hoses.

Step 4: Prepare Brake Fluid

In addition, you need to be sure that you have the proper brake fluid. When you are lowering the trailer, it is very easy for this fluid to get spilled or to get dirty.

If it gets too dirty, you may have a hard time stopping the brakes from slowing down. Therefore, it is very important to make sure that you have the correct amount of fluid to make your brakes work properly.

If you do not have enough, then you will find that you cannot stop the brakes from slowing down, even when you have the breaks on.

Step 5: Adjust Trailer Brakes Safely

Next, you need to know how to adjust trailer brakes safely. Before you lower the trailer, you should always check to make sure that the brakes are properly working, and if they need to be adjusted.

Then you should always lower them a little at a time so that there is nothing that could get in the way. For safety purposes, you should never exceed the force that the brakes are able to pull with because this could cause serious injury to you and others.

Step 6: Check Brake Mechanism 

Finally, the way how to adjust trailer brakes properly will depend on how the brakes are installed on your vehicle.

Standard Brakes

Most vehicles have standard brakes, which are very safe. These brakes will allow you to stop easily, and you will not hit anything.

Automatic Transmission

However, if you have an automatic transmission, you will have to use manual brakes in order to stop, as the automatic transmission only provides manual brakes. Therefore, you should always adjust the brakes to the appropriate setting and consult your owner’s manual for this purpose.


Knowing how to adjust trailer brakes is very important. If you do not know how to adjust them properly, you could crash your boat or car or even hurt yourself trying to change a tire. Therefore, it is vital that you learn how to do this properly, before taking your vehicle out on a long trip. Following these tips will help you keep your brakes working well, and so that you do not become a statistic.

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