Trailer Brakes are Locking Up Causing Trailer Tires to Skid

Question:

trailer brakes lock up before truck, causing trailer tires to slide.

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Expert Reply:

Assuming that your trailer brakes are properly adjusted, it sounds like you just need to make some small adjustments to the settings on your Draw-Tite Activator. Ideally, you want the brake controller adjusted so it'll deliver enough power for effective braking, but not so much that wheels lock up and the trailer skids.

You'll want to be sure the trailer is loaded as it usually is. In an open area, such as a large parking lot, drive forward and apply the trailer brakes using the Manual Control. If the trailer brakes are weak adjust the Output Control up. If the trailer brakes jerk or lockup adjust the Output Control down. Repeat this step until firm braking is felt with out jerking or lockup.

Once the Output is set, drive forward and press the brake pedal, the tow vehicle and trailer should make a smooth stop. If the stop seems slow and more aggressive braking is desired, move the Sync Control rearward while holding the brake pedal. If the stop seems too aggressive adjust the Sync Control forward while holding the brake pedal. After making a Sync adjustment the Display will show the setting until the brake pedal is released.

Make several stops at various speeds and adjust the Sync until stops are smooth and firm. Slight adjustment of the Output Control may also be desirable.

I've linked you to an article about troubleshooting a brake controller, and one that has lots of information about brake controllers in general.

You might also want to consider upgrading to a proportional controller sometime in the future. A proportional controller has an internal sensor that can tell how quickly the tow vehicle is stopping. It will then send the correct amount of voltage to the trailer brakes so that the vehicle and trailer brake at the same rate. This leads to safer, more predictable and effective braking. The Tekonsha Primus, part # TK90160 is a good, entry level controller that's easy to use and is highly rated by our customers. For many vehicles, there's a quick connect, plug and play wiring harness available. If you'd care to reply with the year, make and model of your vehicle, I'd be happy to provide a more specific recommendation for you.

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Michael L

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