BREAKAWAY BRAKES DON'T STOP YOU

Make sure your

GUIDE Breakaway Brakes – Part 2

for the wrong reasons!

WHAT CAN GO WRONG
There are several issues that can interfere with the correct operation of a breakaway brake system.

The first is that if it’s a system with a control unit and integral battery, the battery must be either charged with a battery charger or charged via the tow vehicle, or it will run flat and not operate the trailer brakes.

Make sure that the pin in the 12- or seven-pin trailer plug that supplies charging current from the vehicle to the battery hasn’t closed up, or your breakaway battery won’t be fully charged.

The other issue is that the battery may no longer hold an adequate charge due to deterioration of the battery itself. While the breakaway control unit is normally fitted with a battery charge check button, ideally you would use an independent load tester to ascertain if the battery still is operating correctly.

If you’re running the breakaway system on house batteries, if you pull out the pin (for example when unhitching the tow vehicle at camp) and don’t replace it, the house battery will deplete as it is powering the brake magnets. Leave it for long enough and you’ll end up with not only a flat house battery at camp but also inoperative breakaway brakes next time you hitch up (until the tow vehicle sufficiently charges the battery).

WORDS AND IMAGES PHILIP LORD

Your breakaway battery needs charging just like your house batteries; on the move or trickle, at home

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While many caravanners loop the steel breakaway cable though a shackle or towbar eyelet, that will not help at all if the towbar assembly pulls away from the vehicle. It’s a rare occurrence, but if it were to happen the breakaway brakes can’t activate.

Securing the cable to either a dedicated fitting on the vehicle body or a secure stainless-steel loop riveted to the bumper are the only ways to ensure that the breakaway system will operate as it is supposed to if the towbar comes away. As mentioned earlier, loop it in such a way that you don’t have so much excess cable that the breakaway system won’t activate if the coupling were to detach from the towball and rest on the safety chains.

Lastly, if your caravan brakes are in poor condition and are not slowing down the van very well when hitched up, you can bet they will do little in an emergency situation such as when the breakaway brakes are activated. Always ensure that your brakes are properly adjusted, with plenty of friction material left on the brake shoes and magnets and wiring in good service condition.

While breakaway brakes are something you don’t often think about, it pays to ensure that the system is functioning properly just in case the worst should happen.

LAST PAGE NEEDS A PIC OR TWO SAVED ON E OFF FOR YOU

“It’s a rare occurrence, but if it were to happen the breakaway brakes can’t activate”

ONE EXTINGUISHER FOR ALL FIRES


FOR YOUR HOME, MOTORHOME, CAR, BOAT, CARAVAN & 4WD

3

Avoid pulling out the breakaway switch pin, but if you do (to detach the cable from the vehicle, for example) always replace the pin carefully, ensuring it has engaged, or you will end up with a flat battery.

Make sure that the seven-pin plug doesn’t have any closed pins, including for the charge wire for the breakaway battery, or the battery will deplete.

2

Check the control unit or house battery voltage is high enough to activate the system before leaving on tour.

1

TOP THREE BREAKAWAY BRAKE CHECKS

GUIDE Breakaway Brakes – Part 2

BREAKAWAY BRAKES DON'T STOP YOU

Make sure your

WHAT CAN GO WRONG
There are several issues that can interfere with the correct operation of a breakaway brake system.

The first is that if it’s a system with a control unit and integral battery, the battery must be either charged with a battery charger or charged via the tow vehicle, or it will run flat and not operate the trailer brakes.

Make sure that the pin in the 12- or seven-pin trailer plug that supplies charging current from the vehicle to the battery hasn’t closed up, or your breakaway battery won’t be fully charged.

The other issue is that the battery may no longer hold an adequate charge due to deterioration of the battery itself. While the breakaway control unit is normally fitted with a battery charge check button, ideally you would use an independent load tester to ascertain if the battery still is operating correctly.

If you’re running the breakaway system on house batteries, if you pull out the pin (for example when unhitching the tow vehicle at camp) and don’t replace it, the house battery will deplete as it is powering the brake magnets. Leave it for long enough and you’ll end up with not only a flat house battery at camp but also inoperative breakaway brakes next time you hitch up (until the tow vehicle sufficiently charges the battery).

for the wrong reasons!

WORDS AND IMAGES PHILIP LORD

Your breakaway battery needs charging just like your house batteries; on the move or trickle, at home

NEW
MODEL
ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

While many caravanners loop the steel breakaway cable though a shackle or towbar eyelet, that will not help at all if the towbar assembly pulls away from the vehicle. It’s a rare occurrence, but if it were to happen the breakaway brakes can’t activate.

Securing the cable to either a dedicated fitting on the vehicle body or a secure stainless-steel loop riveted to the bumper are the only ways to ensure that the breakaway system will operate as it is supposed to if the towbar comes away. As mentioned earlier, loop it in such a way that you don’t have so much excess cable that the breakaway system won’t activate if the coupling were to detach from the towball and rest on the safety chains.

Lastly, if your caravan brakes are in poor condition and are not slowing down the van very well when hitched up, you can bet they will do little in an emergency situation such as when the breakaway brakes are activated. Always ensure that your brakes are properly adjusted, with plenty of friction material left on the brake shoes and magnets and wiring in good service condition.

While breakaway brakes are something you don’t often think about, it pays to ensure that the system is functioning properly just in case the worst should happen.

“It’s a rare occurrence, but if it were to happen the breakaway brakes can’t activate”

ONE EXTINGUISHER FOR ALL FIRES


FOR YOUR HOME, MOTORHOME, CAR, BOAT, CARAVAN & 4WD

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

TOP THREE BREAKAWAY BRAKE CHECKS

Check the control unit or house battery voltage is high enough to activate the system before leaving on tour.

1

Make sure that the seven-pin plug doesn’t have any closed pins, including for the charge wire for the breakaway battery, or the battery will deplete.

2
3

Avoid pulling out the breakaway switch pin, but if you do (to detach the cable from the vehicle, for example) always replace the pin carefully, ensuring it has engaged, or you will end up with a flat battery.

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