How do I Check RV Trailer Brakes?

How do I Check RV Trailer Brakes?
Before loading your RV for a weekend getaway or family vacation, check the brakes. There are disc-brake systems and surge-brake systems, so check for damage or wear and tear.


Difficulty: Moderate

Disc-Brake System

Things You’ll Need:
  • Screwdriver
  • Socket wrench
Step 1
Raise the travel trailer with a jack until it is high enough to slide a jack stand underneath. Remove the nuts and hubcaps on each wheel. Slide the wheel off.
Step 2
Inspect the quality of the brake drums, shoes and shoe-return springs and hardware. Check the shoe-return springs and hardware for corrosion. Check the shoes and drums for wear and tear. Rotate the adjusters to evaluate how easily they turn. Replace any damaged or corroded parts.
Step 3
Inspect the rotors on the disc brakes for warping. The pads should not appear too thin. If thinness has occurred, you'll need to replace the pads.
Step 4
Reattach the wheel. Secure the nuts and hubcap back into place, then check the other wheels.

Surge-Brake Systems

Step 1
Inspect the sensor, which is inside the coupler, for corrosion and rust damage.
Step 2
Apply pressure to the sensor in the coupler for 10 seconds to check for internal fluid leaks. Check the wheels. If there is no movement, the master cylinder is holding properly. If there is movement, there might be an internal leak.
Step 3
Remove all pressure from the sensor, and manually rotate the wheel to check for movement. The wheel should spin freely now that the sensor is not engaged. Check the other wheels.

Tips & Warnings

For an electric brake system, have an assistant mash the brake pedal as you manually rotate a wheel. If the wiring connections are good, the wheel will not move. If there is movement, you will need repair work.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.