How To Install a Trailer Brake Controller?

Towing RV

Trying to install your trailer brake controller?

In my opinion, it’s a great idea. In fact, it’s the best idea when you want to go on a picnic or road trip without staying in a hotel. And a trailer brake controller installation will secure your vehicle on the way.

Therefore, in my article today, I will show you how to install a trailer brake controller. I hope you will find it quick to implement.

Proportional controller

The tools that you will definitely need

How to install a trailer brake controller?

Step 1: Choose an appropriate brake controller

First, you need to understand your vehicle to choose the most suitable brake controller. There are two common types of trailer brake controller installation:

  • Time-delayed controller

It works based on your anticipation of the braking capacity of your car and the weight of the trailer as well as the cargo in it. Fundamentally, you need to manually synchronize the time that your vehicle and trailer stop by adjusting the braking force.

Sometimes, it is relatively hard to do that because it requires you to conduct various tests and takes quite much time. Therefore, time-delayed controller is often used for occasional towing with light-weight trailer and cargo.

However, due to its size, it can be installed in almost any car.

  • Proportional controller

Comparing to time-delayed controllers, proportional types are much more expensive. There is nothing strange because its price goes with its quality. You will never have to adjust the force by yourself when using a proportional controller. It will automatically do that for you.

Besides, it also provides a smoother, faster, and safer tow than the previous controller. You can experience much less attrition after using it for a while due to the flexible braking force between your vehicle and the trailer.

It works best with heavy tows and weighty cargo. Nevertheless, it is larger than time-delayed controller so you need to measure the place you want to install it before choosing the right one.

Fortunately, there is no difference in the installing process of the two controllers. You can follow my subsequent instructions.

trailer brake controller installation
Via: etrailer

Step 2: Install the trailer connector

  • Pick a suitable place to install it. Normally, people often place it on the bumper because it’s near the wire connector.
  • Remove the set screw to remove the core
  • Remove the white sleeve that is used to hold the connector
  • Put the wire connector (the one with 7 ways) through the trailer connector
  • Cut the sheathing of the wire and you will find 7 wires within it. They have different colors: white, green, brown, yellow, blue, red, and black.
  • Strip their insulation
  • Connect each wire color-to-color with the set screw.
  • Screw down the set screw with the wires attaching to it.
  • Re-install the white sleeve

Step 3: Install the brake controller

  • Pick a suitable place to install it. Normally, people often place it on the driver’s right side, under the steering wheel.
  • Mark the place and drill two holes to install the bracket of the brake controller. You will find it easy when marking one hole and attach the brake controller to the place first. Then, drill the other hole and insert a screw
  • Mount the brake controller into the bracket and find out the place underneath it, where you will run the wires

Step 4: Wire the brake with the controller

  • Open the junction box on the left side of your brake to connect it with the controller
  • You will see four cables: white, blue, red, and black. Each of them will connect to a distinct place.
  • The white one, which is the ground cable will be attached to any metal part under the steering wheel
  • The blue wire is your trailer brake cable. It will be used to run the trailer connector at the rear of the vehicle.
  • The black cable will be run to the battery because it’s the twelve-volt wire. You can pierce a hole on your firewall to do that
  • Finally, the red wire is the signal cable, which shows the number on the brake controller screen. It is hooked up to the cold pole of the brake switch. If it is hard to find out which one is the cold wire, it’s often green, or sometimes, red-stripe-green.
  • After all the cables are correctly connected, tie all of them with a black tape or a redundant sheathing that you have. Then, hide them somewhere by using a zip-tie. This will protect them and bring your car a nice look.

Step 5: Wire the brake controller and trailer connector

  • Install the bracket of the trailer connector to the rear-end of your car by marking and drilling holes on two sides
  • Plug the other end of seven-way trailer connector to the bracket. It will be used to connect with the one at the front-end of the trailer
  • Run the blue wire all the way back to the trailer connector at the car end

towing caravan

Step 6: Test

  • Press the button on the brake controller and observe the tail lights of the trailer. Using a mirror will make it easier. This will prove that the signal cable is well-connected. If the lights don’t turn on, you need to check the system again
  • After that, start the engine, leave it in neutral, and hit the accelerator pedal a few times to see if the light on the brake controller is turned on. If it is, it means that all the cables are completely connected.
  • Finally, choose the first gear and move the car to see whether the trailer is hooked up well to your car.

In my last words

Is trailer brake controller installation easy for you?

I hope it is. Thank you for reading my article about how to install a trailer brake controller. I wish you would succeed in any circumstances. If you think the information I provide is useful, you can feel free to share it.

Many people are definitely wondering the same question just like you used to. And if you have any questions, do send them to me. I would love to answer them.

See also: How to Setup a Weight Distribution Hitch?

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