Replacing Trailer Brakes: What to Look For Each Year

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Duration: 4:36

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In this quick video lesson, RV maintenance expert Dave Solberg teaches you simple tips for replacing trailer brakes during your annual RV inspection. As with most components on your RV, you should check the status of your tires, wheels, and brakes at least once per year. Even if you don’t feel anything wrong while you drive, there could be a hidden issue that you’d only discover when you pop the wheel off its axle.

To start, Dave walks you through the components of a trailer’s braking system. This consists mainly of the primary and secondary pads and the magnet that activates to push the pads into the drum to slow your vehicle. When inspecting your RV’s brakes, you should take a close look at each of these essential parts. Are the pads in good shape, or do they have minor chips or hairline fractures? These surface problems might not look like much to worry about, but give them time to grow and you’ll be in for a world of trouble. If you’ve noticed issues with the pads, go ahead and go through the process of replacing trailer brakes as soon as possible.

What else should you look at?

The next thing you should do when replacing trailer brakes or their components is inspect the magnet. Because the magnet presses against the wheel hub, it ought to be as flat as possible to ensure flush contact. If you feel any raised spots, corrosion or brake dust, you should use a file to sand it away and make the magnet level.

Lastly, Dave discusses the proper method for removing and replacing the brake components. Prior to putting a new pad on, do your best to wipe away all grease and check for grinding. With the wheel off, that’s your best opportunity to make sure everything is totally clean and smooth. Dave recommends checking your manufacturer’s guide for anything that might be product-specific, such as the proper pattern for reinstalling wheel nuts. Take your time to complete a solid inspection. Afterward, you can drive with peace of mind knowing your brakes will be there when you need them most!