How Towing Monitoring Systems Work

Towing monitoring systems give you information about the trailer behind your vehicle. See more truck pictures.
Tim McCaig/istockphoto

Modern automobiles contain an amazing number of electronic monitoring systems to tell the driver how the car is behaving. When you look at the dashboard of your car or truck, you can see not only how fast you're going and how much fuel you have left, but if one of your doors is open or one of your tires isn't fully inflated. Many luxury vehicles offer special cameras that let you see what's behind you and what direction you'll go in when you back up. Sophisticated radar systems can detect when your car has wandered into an adjoining lane or activate your brakes before you hit an object in front of you. Modern cars and trucks are smart -- sometimes even smarter than the person behind the wheel.

But if you're towing a trailer, you'd probably also like to know how the trailer is doing. If the trailer is losing the air in its tires or is vibrating severely enough that its contents could become damaged, you need to know about it right away. That's what towing monitoring systems are for. They can give you information about the trailer behind your tow vehicle: how much air is in its tires, what position those tires are in, whether the trailer's brake lights are working and the battery charging, even whether the trailer is vibrating enough to be worrisome. These monitors are expensive, but if you do a lot of towing and simply looking in the side mirror isn't enough, they could be worth the cost. A good towing monitor could protect you not only from damage to your trailer but from a serious accident.

On the next page, we'll look at several different kinds of towing monitors to help you decide whether this is a technology you might want to invest in.