How do you adjust brakes on a caravan?

In this article, we will discuss: How do you adjust brakes on a caravan? We will also explain how caravan brakes work and whether you should install a pair or not. We will also discuss common caravan brakes faults and how to fix them.

How do you adjust brakes on a caravan?

It is easy to adjust brakes on a caravan as long as you follow some basic safety tips. For example, keep in mind that:

  • The adjustment is always made starting from the brakes and progressing towards the brake control.
  • After mounting the wheels on the axle, turn the wheels on the RUN-FORWARD direction;
  • Adjust the brake using screw 8, the cables not connected to the lifting beam(s). 

To adjust brakes on a caravan you must:

  1. Connect the brake cables to the horn and tighten the nuts and locknuts, leaving the end of the threaded end protruding by approximately 10 mm. 
  1. Make sure that the parking lever is in the “REST” position and that the compensating spring 4 is completely free on its rod.
  1. Fit the transmission and adjust the assembly.
  1. Tighten all locknuts and replace the cover and torque the tire nuts.

How to check the brake adjustment on a caravan

For checking the brake adjustment, the caravan must be on jacks. 

q) pull the parking lever to 2 notches: the rotation of the wheels in FORWARD gear is not possible. It is possible to rotate the wheels in REVERSE (adjusting screw 8 goes to REVERSE position only on RTN brakes).

b) pull the parking lever fully: the wheels do not turn in FORWARD or REVERSE gear and the spreader (s) must (must) remain parallel to the axle body.

Check the transmission setting after 300 km (break-in period) and adjust, if necessary, the play (J1) using the tensioner. 

Note: Brake controls are intended for towing trailers behind soft suspension passenger vehicles. In case of use behind a heavy goods vehicle, the ball joint mounted on the shock absorber must be provided to avoid any premature wear. For all manoeuvres (towed caravan), never turn at 90 ° or force in reverse.

Common faults when adjusting brakes on a caravan

While adjusting the brakes of your caravan, you may notice some faults. In the table below we offer you solutions for each issue that may arise. 

Fault observedOrigin of the faultSolutions
Unintentional brakingof the caravanDefective shock absorberReplace the shock absorber
Braking is too weakThe jaws are wornReplace the jaws
The abnormally high temperature of the brakesIncorrect adjustment of the linkageRe-adjust
Stepped brakingIncorrect adjustment of the linkage/ parasitic elements on the slideRe-adjust, clean and lubricate.
Caravan tendingto deport when braking Unbalanced rudder(s), different brake adjustment on either side.Adjust rudder(s), redo the brake adjustment
While booting,the caravan holdsthe towing vehicle Damage to the slide or guide rings Replace defective partsand grease
Braking too weak when parkingIncorrect adjustment of the braking system.Redo the adjustment

How do caravan brakes work?

As the name suggests, a trailer that benefits from this device is a trailer that has its own brake mechanism. However, keep in mind that it is not enough on its own to guarantee the trailer’s good handling. Whether in autonomy, or once hooked up to a towing vehicle. The brakes used are very often drum brakes. They rest on jaws, which come to rest on the drum and thus slow down the wheel’s movement until it stops.

Keep in mind that the weight of the trailer is a critical variable in many situations. The unladen weight of the course and the loaded weight is counted in the Total Authorized Loaded Weight of the vehicle. We told you which license plate is needed for a trailer. These are similar criteria that come to feed the reflection for the braked trailers. These different weights make it possible to establish whether or not a braked trailer is necessary.

Should my caravan be broken or not? 

When you finally decide to buy a trailer or caravan, there is a fundamental question to ask.

You should know that the regulations impose a service break beyond a gross weight of 750kg. But this is a standard; indeed, beyond this rule, you should know that when you tow a trailer with a gross weight of 500kg, all the braking force will be provided only by the towing vehicle’s brake system. As a result, if you combine a light vehicle with an unbraked trailer your braking distance will be considerably increased. 

In addition, when braking on a curve, it can have a much more serious impact, because when your car is in the middle of a change of direction, your trailer will exert a push at the rear of the towing vehicle, opposite to the borrowed direction.

This can lead to a loss of control and dangerous situations.  We know full well that someone will one day use an overloaded trailer, so knowing that a trailer without associated brakes has such a low overload is unforgivable.

We must admit that a braked trailer is so much more expensive. But it is not only necessary to compare the price/brake ratio, because beyond the system brake you will notice that these trailers are often more robust (reinforced boom, more rigid frame, and especially oversized axles) because the manufacturers know it well, the braked trailers are often intended for professional use.

On heavier trailers and caravans, which exceed half of the vehicle towing unladen, consider getting a braked caravan. Its role is to assist the vehicle’s primary braking and relieve it of the trailer’s weight.

The goal is to reduce the braking distance to ensure better passenger safety. But it also makes it possible to extend the life of the brakes of the towing vehicle and the contents of the trailer.


Most caravans are braked, which means that the caravan is equipped with a brake associated with that of the towing vehicle. The car and caravan coupling system have a direct impact on safety. Make sure you check your caravan brakes often, and if you don’t feel confident enough to adjust the brakes on a caravan by yourself, ask for professional help!

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know. 

FAQ about How do you adjust brakes on a caravan?

How do the brakes on a caravan work?

Parking braking is ensured by this principle: Thanks to a compensating unit integral with the parking brake control brake lever, and mounted on the rod, it suffices, to immobilize the trailer, to pull the parking brake lever towards the back to the last tooth of the rack

Do you have to have electric brakes to tow a caravan?

If the caravan weighs more than 750 kg, you are required by law to have electric brakes. The goal is to reduce the braking distance to ensure better passenger safety. But it also makes it possible to extend the life of the brakes of the towing vehicle and the contents of the trailer.

How much weight can you tow without trailer brakes?

You can tow up to 750 kg weight without trailer brakes, or even more as long as you are not driving more than 48 kph or 30 mph!


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