Understanding Different Types of RV Supplemental BrakingSystems

Towing a vehicle requires much care and precaution, especially since driving a vehicle while towing another is exceptionally different from your regular driving experience. Supplemental braking systems, in particular, are a must-have for anyone who intends to do some towing. Without the aid of this device, you will find it much harder to stop both vehicles, especially if you are towing a recreational vehicle (RV).

Choosing from the many braking systems for towed vehicles may seem challenging since you have to find one that suits your application and needs. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, so it may help to familiarize yourself with your choices before getting a braking system immediately.

Portable System

Portable braking systems are the simplest of all the systems since they are easy to set up and can be used in different types of vehicles. This type of system sits directly on the driver’s seat and can automatically stop your primary vehicle if it gets detached from your RV. Its main advantage is that you can easily remove it and attach it to another vehicle once you arrive at your destination. However, you have to set up and calibrate the system every time you tow a car.

Portable systems can either be pre-set systems or proportional systems. The portable pre-set system is placed in the floorboard of your towed vehicle and presses the brakes when it gets a signal that your RV’s brakes are pressed. They are overall simple but do not use the brakes in your vehicle in the same proportion that your RV brakes. The portable proportional systems try to solve this issue by applying the brakes based on the inertia of your RV, which gives you excellent control of your vehicle.

Direct System

Direct systems may be the most complicated to install out of all braking systems for towed vehicles, but they also give you the most control over your vehicle. They are connected to your brake lines instead of the floorboard of your car, allowing you to achieve better brake pressure and timing. If you intend to get this unit, however, you will need more mechanical knowledge since there are more technicalities involved in the set-up. Another option can also be to hire a professional.

Direct systems are the ideal option if you do not intend to change your towed vehicles all the time. Since you are installing it directly to your brake system, it can take longer to set-up initially, but once everything is set in place, it becomes hassle-free every time you need to tow.

Active RV System

Active braking systems use vacuum technology to press your brakes and activate your vehicle’s power assist function even if the vehicle is turned off. If you are using a hybrid car, for instance, this unit is ideal since it has a power assist continuously active brake system. Similar to the portable pre-set system, active RV systems also do not proportionally brake your vehicle and RV, causing you to have less control.

Braking systems are crucial to ensure safety while towing a vehicle. They are required by law in most states, but are essential regardless and should be an essential element in your towed vehicles. If you are unsure of what type you should get, you can look it up online or ask a professional for some help to prevent any problems from arising during installation or use.


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