I've put thousands of miles on trailers with both types of brakes. Personally, I like surge brakes for most types of conditions, but for snow covered roads (or even wet roads) surge brakes don't work as well (if at all sometimes) In order for a surge brake to work, you have to put enough pressure on the cylinder to actuate the brakes. The more pressure on the cylinder, the more braking power.
Well... I'm lucky to be here to tell you that you can't put enough pressure on a surge cylinder on icy conditions to activate the brakes with enough force to help you stop, and the trailer will just push you. In my case, pushed me right out into 4 lane traffic. I wasn't travelling fast. I was coming down a gentle slope to a stop sign. I hit the brakes and the anti-locks on the truck took over and the surge cylinder was never compressed hard enough to activate the brakes and I slid right out into traffic. Cars scattered everywhere, but nobody was in an accident. I think the only accident was in my seat.
I run surge on my boat trailer and they work well, but if they had waterproof electric brakes, I would have them instead.
IF, you want my opinion... go with electric..., and if you can afford it, get brakes on both axles. Besides the safety, it makes you legal (with wide mirrors) to run 70 on the highway instead of 55 (at least in Michigan).
the electric brakes on the wife's horse trailer are always in act up mode i dislike them, but for smart horses you have to have electric for the little bit better control the electric provide. any surge brakes that i have run the surge have not acted up. i do know of inclimate weather problems caused by surge that could have been avoided with electric. but i still would go with surge knowing the barriers, the two systems are both not without fault.
I prefer the electric brakes for the same reason as posted above about the icy roads and trailer brakes not activating because of the lack of pressure. Also if you get the trailer swaying back and forth, you can activate the trailer brakes by themself and correct the swaying. Also, don't you have to get out of the vehicle and disconnect something in order to back the trailer up.
There is the problem with electric with having a electrical connection problem. I think everyone must of sometime had a problem with their electrical connection (lights) on their trailers. This also would include the chance of having a problem with the electric brakes.
SledHead made a good point about anybody being able to tow a surge brake system,no brake actuator needed.I did consider this because I always seem to end up swaping trailers with friends.I did hear that surge brakes may be outlawed in the near future.
Wisconsin is talking about banning surge brakes, better make sure when crossing state lines. I agree with idooski, if the tow vehicle is in a slide surge is useless. It's also nice to have the option to control sway with electric
I bought a new Rance Renegade 32 x 7'6" with electric brakes on all four wheels and love it. It pulls so nice you don't even know it's back there. I also agree that surge will not work on slippery roads because the tow vehicle needs enought braking to get the surge system to work. All you need is a good maintenance program and the electric brakes will last a long time.
ELECTRIC.......they are very low maintenance, and will work in all conditions, and you can even tailor how they engage depending upon your conditions that day, and amount of wieght being hauled. If you dont keep after the surge brakes routinely, they will give you trouble.
I went through the same thing last Nov when I bought my loadrite trailer. I chose the electric. I have towed trailers for many yrs and my experience is the last thing you need is to not have the brakes when you need them. and the ability to apply trailer brakes separatly from the tow vehicle is always good. Is that one time it helps prevent an accident on a slippry road worth it ? if you answer that ? to yourself then you know what to get. I have heard some surge brakes you have to manualy release them to back up. good luck. and happy trails
i have electric brakes and love them.they are very ajustuble to your trailering needs as far as weight.i did have a problem thios winter though.it was my owne fault. inside the plug on the truck where all the wires connect they all corroded and broke off.ibought a new plug and filled it with grease and hopfully will not have any more problems.
I had both and from a maintenance standpoint had better luck with the surge.
For control and being able to apply electric manually from the dash is much safer on icey/slippery roads. The best advice I have is, get brakes on both axles. Single axle 4 place trailers will only last a couple of seasons.
We just went through that this year. Most trailer mfg. are stingy on the size brakes they supply as standard.
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