What Should I Do Without a Trailer Brake Controller in my Truck? [Ask TFLtruck]


TFLtruck recently received this question.

Quick question… What is the name of the electric brake controller you use if the truck doesn’t have electric brakes? i.e. on the Tundra?

Thanks, Dwayne

This is a great question because there are many pickup trucks and SUVs that can tow heavy weights, but are not offered with a trailer brake controller. There are trailers below 5,000 lbs that have mechanically actuated “surge” hydraulic braking systems. However, once you get much over 5,000 lbs of trailer weight and capacity, the electric or electric over hydraulic braking system come into play.

Recent models of the Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan, and even the 2015 Lincoln Navigator do not come equipped with a trailer brake controller from the factory. The same goes for the Lexus LX570 and the Infiniti QX80.

You can chose to install an aftermarket unit, but you may not want to spoil the luxurious feel of your premium truck interior with an aftermarket device.

There are two other solutions.

Autobrake is a unit that gets installed on your trailer, making the trailer brake operation self-contained. The trailers we use for Ike Gauntlet towing runs use this device. This device can disable itself if your truck does have a brake controller.

The second solution is the Intelli-Hitch receiver. This is an adjustable hitch that uses a “surge” actuator to control electric brakes. We have also used this for Ike Gauntlet towing tests.

Check out this comparison that includes the 2015 Lincoln Navigator that does not have a brake controller.