How to Install a Trailer Brake Control

Before you head out for an outdoor adventure with your trailer, one thing that you need to take care of is activating electric trailer brakes on your towing vehicle. If you are driving a late model vehicle, chances are high that it is already equipped with a towing package.

However, while most vehicles may be wired for towing, it still needs a Trailer Brake Control to enable enhanced braking capability for your convoy.

A Trailer Brake Control, as the name implies, is a small box that controls the electric brakes that are standard for most trailers.  It is meant to connect to the towing vehicles’ Towing Package and is an absolute must before you even think of taking your convoy to the road.

 Ensuring that you have an active Trailer Brake Control system is necessary not only for your safety but also for the safety of other motorists as well.

Most cars already have a Towing Package pre-included; if your vehicle happens to be without, you will need to splice in the wiring.

Unless you have some solid background in vehicle electricals, I would suggest that you leave the wiring for a professional, as there is a high margin of error in this task.

First, check if you are already pre-wired.  Look under your dash and see if you have a plug labelled ‘Electric Brake Controller’.

If your vehicle has a Towing Package, you should be able to see one that comes ready to plug into the Brake Controller.

  If not, then the vehicle wiring will need to be spliced with the controller box.  Unless you are an experienced vehicle electrician, do not make it a DIY project.

Once a plug has been prepared, connect the Brake Controller and attach it under the dash.  The control box comes with brackets that you will need to screw in.

In picking a spot for the control box, make sure that you will be able to access it easily without it getting in the way when you are driving.  Refer to the control box manual to see how to program it to your desired brake settings.  There is no hard and fast rule on how hard or soft the brakes will have to be.

  Choose a setting that you are comfortable with and take into consideration the amount of weight that you will be towing.  If you will be lightening your load or adding to it significantly, be sure to re-adjust brake settings as needed.