Travel Trailer Breakaway Switches - A Must Have Safety Feature
Functional breakaway switches are without doubt essential equipment on all travel trailers. They are generally used to automatically set the trailer brakes in the event of an accidental trailer breakaway. Most manufacturers recommend that the units be replaced after every three to five years. In all instances, the breakaway switch is usually powered by the battery bank on the trailer. This way, in the event that the vehicle and the tow part company while on transit, the brakes will still be activated and remain fully applied when expected. In this regard, you should never connect it through the converter because the converter is only activated with the application of 120V AC power which is typically available in the vehicle but not the trailer.
Most breakaway kits are quite similar. They usually include a plastic bin for a sealed battery, proper wiring and the breakaway switch. They measure around five or six inches in height, depth and width and weigh anything between three and eight pounds. Depending on the trailer type, the breakaway kit can be mounted on the frame of the trailer or even inside. When doing the mounting, make sure that the switch wiring reaches the trailer hitch since it is the disconnection of the trailer hitch that triggers the breakaway switch. Also make sure it is fitted at a spot where it will not be damaged by debris or dragging.
While you are driving, always make sure that the alternator of the tow vehicle engine to keep charging the fitted battery bank on the trailer. You can ensure this by not disconnecting the battery since once disconnected, it won’t be able to accept the charge. You should always ensure that you leave the pin in the switch at all times. However, you should at least once a year test the switch to find out if the brakes are fully activated. You can achieve this by jacking up one or two tires on each axle then spin the tires and pull the pin; the tire assembly should immediately stop once the pin has been pulled.
When testing the efficiency of your switch with the pin out, you can also take the opportunity of spraying some electrical contact cleaner inside the housing so as to keep the contacts intact and fresh before you fully re-insert the pin again. It is worth mentioning that if the pin is removed or not fully fitted, the brake magnets will continue drawing power and eventually drain out the battery bank and leave the switch malfunctioning.
It is also worth mentioning that not all breakaway kits work with every kind of towing setup. There are those kits that are designed to work for single and tandem axle trailers while there are those that can work with single, tandem as well as tri-axle trailers. In this regard, it is always advisable to purchase a universal kit which can be used in a wide variety of trailers. Also, you should always opt for a unit that has a rechargeable battery instead of purchasing a unit with non-rechargeable battery. In both instances, the prices of the units is bound to be higher but in the long run, you are bound to save a wad of cash since you won’t have to keep on replacing expensive parts of the unit such as the battery.
Here are some of the popular travel trailer breakaway switches, they include but are not limited to the following:
1) Product Name: Tekonsha 2010 P Breakaway Switch
Product Price: $ 13.13
Product URL: http://is.gd/JlHNiN
Product Details: this is a completely sealed breakaway switch that automatically sets the trailer brakes in case of an accidental breakaway. It comes in a reinforced nylon case, has a wieldable metal tab as well as a nylon pin assembly. The unit is corrosion and rust free and is easy to install.
2) Product Name: Tekonsha 2005 Breakaway Kit
Product Price: $ 11.08
Product URL: http://is.gd/26UbJs
Product Details: this unit is ideal for one to three axle trailers and comes with a reinforced nylon case. The unit does also have 48 inch connector wires as well as nylon pin assembly with cable. The unit is easy to install, reliable and very durable.
3) Product Name: Fastway Zip Breakaway Cable
Product Price: $ 20.14
Product URL: http://is.gd/WHy6lq
Product Details: an easy to use breakaway switch that’s also very easy to install, in addition, the coiled cable does keep the clip from touching the ground and fouling the safety chains. It does also have relatively long pigtail wires.
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