Towing a trailer or boat is something that many of us do without too much thought. However, it can be more dangerous than you realize. A breakaway is what happens when the trailer becomes disconnected from the tow vehicle, leaving you with no control over it at all. A good quality trailer breakaway kit can help.
Breakaway kits are self-contained systems designed to activate the trailer’s electric brakes when a breakaway is detected. In some states, they’re optional but they’re required by law in others.
Trailer type: Make sure you buy a trailer breakaway kit that’s rated for the type of trailer you’ll be towing (single, dual or triple axle).
Battery: Make sure the battery is rated for the stopping power you’ll need (this is based on the weight of your usual trailer loads, as well as the size of the trailer and the number of axles). You can also find rechargeable batteries on the market – these are more expensive, but can provide a longer lasting solution. Make sure the kit comes with a battery charger, as well.
Fit for the frame: You’ll need to know where you want to mount the breakaway kit on your trailer and make sure there’s enough room for the model you’re considering (don’t buy a kit until you know the amount of space available to you, as this will determine exactly what you can buy).
Wire length: You’ll need to connect the breakaway kit to the brakes, and that means you need to pay attention to the length of the wires included with the kit. Note that there’s generally a lot of cutting and splicing wires involved here, so if you’re not electrically inclined, doing it yourself is probably not a good idea.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Buy a Good Quality Trailer Breakaway Kit and was authored by Valerie Johnston.