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Old 02-11-2012, 03:41 PM   #1
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Brakeaway switch

Rookie question but I have to ask. Do you need a brakeaway switch or not and if so what do people use? Thanks for all the help in advance.
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Old 02-11-2012, 04:00 PM   #2
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The sole purpose of the breakaway switch is to activate the trailer brakes in an emergency in the event that the trailer would come loose from the tow vehicle. It’s not to be used as a parking brake. The onboard 12v battery causes the brakes to activate. This is a very important safety feature.
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Old 02-11-2012, 04:35 PM   #3
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breakaway switches are required by law and come on the trailer from the factory.
no one buys them separately, unless it's to replace a damaged or bad one.

don't pull the pin out or you may damage the electric brakes, if the battery is hooked up and left on.
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Old 02-11-2012, 04:36 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply Dan that was exactly the answer that I was looking for.
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Old 02-11-2012, 05:35 PM   #5
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You can / should test it periodically, but only for a couple of seconds. Leaving it on for long periods will draw the battery down very quickly, and worse-yet, will burn-up the electro-magnet's that activate and hold the brakes.

To test, hook up as if you were going to pull the trailer, just pull the removable plunger on the break-away switch, put your vehicle in drive, and see if the trailer moves when you take your foot off of the brake.
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:20 PM   #6
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in louisiana, on a 5th wheel trailer, a break away switch is required if the weight rating is over 6500 lbs. that may also hold for a tag along but i don't know for sure. it isn't how much u weight but the weight rating. my last trailer weighed 4500 lbs but the weight rating was greater than 6500 lbs.

the break away switch is also the answer to why a 5th wheel trailer doesn't require safety chains.
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:33 PM   #7
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the break away switch is also the answer to why a 5th wheel trailer doesn't require safety chains.

My TT has a break away switch, it also has safety chains (that is the law). The chains are to be crossed and not allow the TT to drop to the ground. If a 5er leaves the hitch it will drop into the box. That is why you don't have chains on a 5er.
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:17 AM   #8
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that requirement could vary. i posed the question to the st police here and their 1st response was that they were required all trailers then they looked it up. the weight rating of the trailer was the difference.

i noticed that i had never seen them on a 5th wheel or trailer trucks. i'm assuming that in Canada that if ur pulling using a pick up w/bed, they aren't required; if u are pulling a 5th wheel using a vehicle w/o a bed they are. I'll have to keep that in mind.

the US federal requirement is that if the trailer required, they must be equipped with break away braking. calif, that weight requirement is 1500 lbs.
except on calif site, couldn't find out why a 5th wheel doesn't require safety chains except they are more stable.
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