After choosing the right type of breakaway kit, the next step is to install the kit onto your vehicle. There are basically two steps to this: mounting the breakaway kit and switch and connecting the electrical system.
Mounting a breakaway kit is the simplest step, and if you have the right tools you should be able to do it on your own. Most breakaway kits come with either a mounting bracket or they have mounting holes built into the plastic battery box itself, so all you have to do is bolt the kit onto the trailer. Where you choose to mount the battery is up to you -- it can go almost anywhere on the trailer -- even on the inside. Most people choose to place the kit on the trailer frame for easy access.
Mounting the breakaway switch is just as easy. Again, you can mount it nearly anywhere on the trailer, but it's best to keep it away from any space that might be damaged by dragging or debris. Be sure that the switch wiring will reach the trailer hitch, as the disconnection of the trailer hitch is what triggers the breakaway switch.
The next step, properly wiring the breakaway system, may be best handled by a professional. The process involves cutting and splicing several wires together, so unless you're experienced with electrical wiring you might want to leave this step to someone trained in breakaway kit installation.
The wires from the battery connect to the breakaway switch, providing the necessary power. Then the wires from the breakaway switch are spliced to the trailer's brake wires. The breakaway switch, also known as a plunger, is connected to the hitch -- when the trailer separates from the tow vehicle, the switch immediately sends a signal to the trailer's brakes to slow down and safely stop the vehicle.
Don't stop now. For lots more information on braking systems and towing, cruise on to the next page.
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More Great Links
- etrailer.com. "Breakaway kits." (Sept. 30, 2008) http://www.etrailer.com/y-266.aspx
- etrailer.com. "Installation of a breakaway kit with tester and built-in charger." (Sept. 30, 2008) http://www.etrailer.com/tv-demo-breakaway-kit-faq.aspx
- TJ Trailers. "Breakaway kits." (Sept. 30, 2008) http://www.tjtrailers.com/store/breakaway-kits.html