Safe to tow without trailer brakes?

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Rene T

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What is a short distance? At 1:00 in the morning when there is no one else on the road, it may be allot safer than at quitting time in the middle of the afternoon.  Just don't get in a accident.
 

RoyM

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Are you asking if it's ok to break the law? The answer is NO, there is an issue of liability here. If a member condones it and you get in an accident the forum owner could be named in a lawsuit.
 

Tom

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How long have you been towing without trailer brakes?
 

Rene T

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Tom said:
How long have you been towing without trailer brakes?

On May 31st, he had just purchased it. He did tow it home with no lights, no directional signals and no brakes.
 

FLMikeG

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I thought the law in Florida states that a trailer under 3000 pounds is not legally required to have auxillary brakes? I was asking if it was safe, not legal or illegal. I have the brake controller kit, but I need a mechanic to install it. I may have to tow it to a mechanic.
 
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TonyDtorch

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a lot of smaller single axle camping trailers don't have brakes, they are legal to tow.

drive smart and you should be fine.

 

FLMikeG

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Rene T said:
On May 31st, he had just purchased it. He did tow it home with no lights, no directional signals and no brakes.

I haven't been towing it since May 31st without brakes. I towed it straight home that day and it has sat in my yard since then. I had no other way to get it home and I had a friend follow directly behind me in his car. I did not place anyone at risk during my 5-mile drive on backroads at 25-30mph.
 
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TonyDtorch

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as per,  NHTSA website at www.nhtsa.gov here  the Federal trailer law. states may have additional towing laws.

"Federal law requires trailers
to have taillights, brake lights, side
marker lights, turn signals, and side
and rear reflectors. Some trailers also
have backup lights. To provide power to
these lights, a four-way (or more) connector is
hooked into the tow vehicle?s electrical system.

Many tow vehicle manufacturers offer a 7-way
connector that may include an electric brake signal"
 

FLMikeG

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TonyDtorch said:
a lot of smaller single axle camping trailers don't have brakes, they are legal to tow.

drive smart and you should be fine.

I checked the law in Florida and the 3000 pound limit applies if the total weight of the trailer does not exceed 40% of the gross weight of the tow vehicle. In my case, the trailer weighs 1720 pounds and my truck weighs 4204 pounds, so I don't think I am legally required to have auxillary brakes - although I could be wrong and perhaps I am not reading the laws correctly. Just to be on the safe side, I purchased a brake controller because I want to be safe and legal.

Now I am thinking the trailer might not even have brakes on it. Tomorrow, I am going to jack it up, pull a wheel off, and have a look.
 

malexander

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GalacticStone said:
I thought the law in Florida states that a trailer under 3000 pounds is not legally required to have auxillary brakes? I was asking if it was safe, not legal or illegal. I have the brake controller kit, but I need a mechanic to install it. I may have to tow it to a mechanic.


Don't worry about it, Just tow it to the mechanic for the install. Just remember to start slowing/stopping sooner.
I wouldn't want to tow without lights though, unless someone (pilot car per se) was following me.
 

Prior member

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I think it would depend on the tow vehicle.
I would tow it in a heart beat with my 2014 Dodge Ram V-8 pick-up.

I towed a pop-up for years with a 6 cylinder Jeep Cheerokee

Jack L
 

John From Detroit

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Laws vary from state to state and in a few other ways as well. But depending on the state LEGAL may mean that the trailer is under a specific weight,, the range of specific weights is 1500 to 4000 pounds as I recall.

HOWEVER... Beware the leaky radiator

If you rear end someone.. (You get the leaky radaitor when you do that) the presence or absence of working trailer brakes can make a ******BIG****** difference if the victim's attorney knows the towing laws...
 

Rene T

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GalacticStone said:
I thought the law in Florida states that a trailer under 3000 pounds is not legally required to have auxillary brakes? I was asking if it was safe, not legal or illegal. I have the brake controller kit, but I need a mechanic to install it. I may have to tow it to a mechanic.

No need to tow it to the mechanic to install the brake controller.  You may have to tow it to him after the install if you have electrical problems with the lights and for him to show you how to adjust the controller.
 
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TonyDtorch

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before you pay to have a controller put in make sure the trailer has brakes ....some don't

and if towing a trailer without brakes bothers you all you guys,  ... then don't ever rent a moving trailer.
 

Rene T

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TonyDtorch said:
before you pay to have a controller put in make sure the trailer has brakes ....some don't

and if towing a trailer without brakes bothers you all you guys,  ... then don't ever rent a moving trailer.

I have no problem with towing without brakes but if they have brakes built in, then they should be used. Obviously DOT rules require this. Check the U Haul Web Site. Tandem axle trailers with a GVWR of 2800# and greater have surge brakes. Single axle trailers with smaller weight capacity do not have brakes.
 

FLMikeG

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Well, I crawled under the trailer again and did not see any wires or lines coming out of or going in to the wheels. So, is it safe to assume that this trailer is not equipped with brakes?  If so, then I guess I should return this brake controller.

My ignorance of towing is showing in this thread, and I am glad I asked this question. I want to thank everyone who chimed in with their expertise. This is definitely a crash-course in travel trailers and towing.

I still have a lot to learn and I am enjoying this. It's not often this old dog gets to learn some new tricks.  :)
 
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TonyDtorch

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John From Detroit said:
If you rear end someone.. (You get the leaky radaitor when you do that) the presence or absence of working trailer brakes can make a ******BIG****** difference if the victim's attorney knows the towing laws...

as I understood it,  if you "rear end" anyone,  ....you are 100% at fault and responsible to the limits of your insurance policy.

the big insurance settlements come from the Commercial trucking industry where the victims attorney will piss test the driver, then inspect the log books, weigh every wheel and inspect each tire date code and maintenance record and then sue everybody that touched the truck for a million bucks each.

Some will just settle out of court,  others will keep the attorneys busy for several more years...... (don't you just love attorneys ? )
 
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