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Setting up your vehicle electrics for towing

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So you need to tow something and are unsure what your vehicle requires? …

Here we have some basic information on the different types of trailer brakes, charge circuits (to charge trailer batteries) and accessory feeds (e.g. fridge wires)

Types of Brakes

Firstly what type of trailer are you towing? Anything over 750kg GTM (Gross trailer mass) will require some sort of brakes. For more information on regulations for your specific trailer, check the Queensland Transport Website.

The main types of brakes are:

Hydraulic Brakes

 

Electric Brakes

Brake controllers GCCEM recommend

Our experienced Gold Coast Auto Electricians have installed many controllers and there are a few standouts on the market which we recommend.  Given proportional brake controllers are not a great deal more expensive than a basic unit we only recommend proportional systems and the more popular ones are listed below. All are capable of handling electric and electric/hydraulic brakes plus are compatible with ALKO Electronic Stability Control systems.

Charge Circuits

Caravans and camper trailers will often be fitted with on-board batteries. If you want to charge them while you drive you will need some form of charge circuit.

There are many products available for this purpose such as Voltage sensitive (Smart) relays and DC-DC chargers, however a simple heavy duty solenoid will often do the trick. No matter what product you choose here its function is to charge your trailer battery while your vehicle is running and isolate it when your engine is switched off so you don’t drain your starting battery. You can connect to your trailer via either an Anderson plug or through a 12 pin trailer socket.

Separate Power Feeds

Many caravans require a separate power feed for functions such as Electronic Stability Control or to run the fridge while your vehicle is running. Some of these will need to be connected straight to the battery and some isolated when your vehicle is switched off.

DIY Installs

So that’s a rundown on basic systems but you may be asking how do I install a brake controller or charge circuit myself?  I’ve seen the UTube videos, it doesn’t look too hard and I am going to give it a go!

We recommend using an experienced Auto Electrician, however if you do decide to DIY, below is a non-exhaustive list of the more common problems we see on brake controllers self-installed:-

Before embarking on a DIY install, we recommend that you check the following to minimise surprises if something does go wrong:-

It may be a little more expensive to have these systems wired up by our qualified auto electricians but potential issues caused by incorrect installation could be much worse!

Need a hand?

If you need a brake controller on the Gold Coast or any other towing accessories for that matter, feel free to drop into our workshop to discuss the various options for your particular vehicle.

 

 

 

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