Brake Controllers Explained

Brake Controllers Explained

Last updated by Croft Trailer Supply on 18th Jan 2018

For trailers with electric brakes, a brake controller is a necessary investment. It’s the device that communicates between your tow vehicle and the trailer when you apply the brakes. When shopping for a brake controller, it’s important to know the three different types of controllers: timed, proportional, and combination.

Timed Brake Controllers

Timed controllers, sometimes referred to as user-controlled, is an older style of brake controller. These systems apply braking power at a fixed rate that is not proportional to the pressure applied to the brake pedal. This means no matter how hard or soft you apply the brakes in your tow vehicle are applied, the trailer’s braking power will be the same.

Proportional Brake Controllers

Through the use of inertia sensing devices, proportional brake controllers determine the tow vehicle’s rate of deceleration and applies the trailer brakes to match. Also known as automatic controllers, this is a very popular style of brake controller that works well for highway conditions.

Combination Controllers

This new style of brake controller offers both proportional & timed braking modes, allowing the choice of braking style depending on the road/terrain conditions, vehicle type, or driver preference. Combination controllers give you the greatest control over your trailer.

Still have questions on the right brake controller for your setup? Contact one of our trailer experts or visit with us at one of our KC metro locations. Our experienced staff can even take care of the installation of your new brake controller.

Learn more about trailers by reading more of our Croft Trailer Supply tutorials.