Mastering the Art: Testing Your Tekonsha Brake Controller

To test a tekonsha brake controller, connect it to a trailer with known weights and use the manual brake lever to verify proper operation. Brake controllers are devices used to regulate the brakes in a towing vehicle and its attached trailer.

Tekonsha brake controllers are one of the most popular brands in the market. These controllers ensure a smooth and even distribution of braking power to the trailer wheels. However, like any other device, the tekonsha brake controller needs testing to verify its proper functionality.

By connecting the brake controller to a trailer with known weights (preferably around 3,000 pounds), you can test the tekonsha brake controller’s operation. Using the manual brake lever found on the controller, verify that the brake matches the controller’s output levels. This test ensures that the trailer brakes are working in sync with the vehicle, providing peace of mind while driving.

Mastering the Art: Testing Your Tekonsha Brake Controller


What Is A Tekonsha Brake Controller And Why Do You Need To Test It?

Understanding The Importance Of A Tekonsha Brake Controller

If you tow a trailer, then you know how important it is to have a trailer brake controller installed in your vehicle. The tekonsha brake controller is a device that helps synchronize the trailer brakes with the tow vehicle brakes.

This allows the trailer to stop smoothly and steadily, reducing the wear and tear on both the vehicle and the trailer.

To understand the importance of testing your brake controller, you need to know how it works. The tekonsha brake controller connects to your vehicle’s electrical system and receives signals whenever you hit the brakes. It then sends signals out to the trailer brakes, telling them when to engage.

What Happens If The Brake Controller Fails?

A brake controller failure can be catastrophic, especially if you are hauling a heavy load. Not only would you not be able to stop the trailer, but the sudden weight shift could cause loss of control of your vehicle, leading to a potential accident.

That’s why it’s critical to test your brake controller regularly to ensure it’s functioning correctly.

Benefits Of Testing The Controller Regularly

Regular testing of your tekonsha brake controller provides several benefits, including:

  • Ensuring the controller is functioning correctly
  • Preventing brake controller failure
  • Reducing the chance of accidents and potential damage to your vehicle and trailer
  • Maintaining the safety of yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road

Testing your brake controller is a straightforward process. You can do it manually, following the manufacturer’s instructions, or use a diagnostic tool to check for any issues. By taking the time to test your brake controller regularly, you’ll keep yourself and others safe while on the road.

Preparing For The Test: Tools Needed

Before testing a tekonsha brake controller, it’s essential to have the required tools to make the process smooth. Here are the necessary tools you’ll require before testing your tekonsha brake controller:

Required Tools For Testing The Tekonsha Brake Controller

  • Tekonsha brake controller
  • Multimeter
  • Circuit tester
  • Pliers
  • Screwdrivers

Understanding The Controller And The Braking System

You should have a basic understanding of the controller and the braking system before testing the tekonsha brake controller. Here are the essential points you should know:

Understanding The Controller And The Braking System

  • The brake controller controls the brake’s intensity when you press the brake pedal. It ensures that the trailer brakes receive sufficient power to slow it down.
  • The controller varies voltage levels to the trailer brakes, depending on your speed, to make sure that the trailer stops at the same time as the vehicle.
  • The tekonsha brake controller works with an electric trailer brake system.

Safety Measures To Take Before Testing

Safety should always come first when testing a tekonsha brake controller. There are a few necessary safety measures you should take into account before proceeding with the test.

Safety Measures To Take Before Testing

  • Make sure the trailer is on a flat surface.
  • The trailer should be properly hitched to the vehicle.
  • Make sure the brake controller is installed correctly and angled correctly.
  • Ensure that there is no one in or near the trailer when testing the brake controller.

When testing a tekonsha brake controller, having the necessary tools, understanding the controller and braking system, and following safety measures are key to ensuring a smooth and successful test.

Testing The Tekonsha Brake Controller

If you’ve just installed a tekonsha brake controller or are wondering how to test it, you’ve come to the right place. Tekonsha brake controllers are popular among towing enthusiasts for their easy installation and reliability, but making sure they work correctly is critical to driving safety.

Step-By-Step Guide To Testing The Brake Controller

Here is a simple step-by-step guide to test your tekonsha brake controller:

  • Check your brake controller’s settings: Before you start testing, make sure that your brake controller settings match your trailer’s weight and brake type.
  • Take your vehicle to a flat and open space: Find a large, flat, and open area without traffic to test your brake controller.
  • Connect your trailer: Connect your trailer to your vehicle, ensuring that all lights and wires are correctly attached.
  • Test your brake controller: Take your vehicle to a speed of 25 mph and apply your vehicle brakes. If your brake controller works correctly, it should gradually slow down your trailer to a stop.
  • Adjust your brake controller: If the brake controller failed the initial test, try adjusting the controller’s power output setting and repeat the test.
  • Perform multiple tests: Perform multiple tests with different vehicle speeds to make sure your brake controller is working efficiently.

Different Methods Of Testing

Here are a few different methods you can use to test your tekonsha brake controller:

  • Test with a specialist: If you’re still unsure about your brake controller’s performance, you can visit a brake specialist who will test your brake system for you.
  • Use an accelerometer: Using an accelerometer to measure g-force is a common way to test brake controllers. This method gives a detailed report on the effectiveness of your brake controller.
  • Test on different terrains: Different terrains such as hills and mountains can put different strains on your brake controller and are a great way to test your brake system’s efficiency.

Critical Areas To Focus On During The Test

Here are some critical areas to focus on during the brake controller test:

  • Brake responsiveness: The brake system should apply immediately to reduce the risk of accidents.
  • Brake consistency: The brake system should work consistently and not vary in its output during application.
  • Brake smoothness: The brake system should not jerk or skid during application, causing a sudden stop.
  • Brake capability: The brake system should be able to manage the vehicle’s entire weight and apply even pressure to slow and stop the car.

Testing your tekonsha brake controller is a simple process and is essential to driving safety. Follow the step-by-step guide and take note of the different methods and critical areas to make sure that your brake controller is working correctly. Safety is key, after all.

Common Issues With Tekonsha Brake Controllers And How To Troubleshoot Them

Possible Problems With The Tekonsha Brake Controller And How To Detect Them

Your tekonsha brake controller is a crucial component of your trailer braking system. It helps activate the brakes on your trailer in sync with your vehicle, ensuring smooth and safe braking. However, like any electronic device, it is prone to failure and malfunctions.

Here are some common issues you may face with your tekonsha brake controller and how to detect them:

  • Brake controller not responding: This can be caused by a blown fuse, loose wiring, or a malfunctioning controller. To troubleshoot this issue, check the fuses, ensure the wiring connections are secure and in good condition, and test the controller using a multimeter.
  • Trailer brakes not responding: This could be due to a faulty brake controller, worn-out brake pads, or problems with the trailer’s wiring. Check the condition of the brake pads and the trailer wiring. If those are fine, check the tekonsha brake controller to ensure it’s working correctly.
  • Brakes locking up: This happens when the brakes are overactive and can lead to skids. The problem could be a misaligned brake controller, damaged brake pads, or a damaged wheel. Check the alignment of the controller and the condition of the brake pads and wheels to fix this issue.

Troubleshooting Strategies For Common Issues

Once you have correctly diagnosed the problem with your tekonsha brake controller, the next step is troubleshooting. Here are some tips that can help you troubleshoot your brake controller:

  • Check the power source: Ensure that you have a stable power source for the brake controller.
  • Check the brake pads: Inspect the brake pads for wear and tear. They should be in good condition.
  • Calibrate the controller: Make sure the brake controller is set correctly according to your trailer’s weight.
  • Check the wiring: Ensure that all the wires are in good condition and connected securely.
  • Test the controller: Use a multimeter to test the tekonsha brake controller’s power and functionality.
  • Read the manual: Consult the tekonsha brake controller manual for further guidance on how to troubleshoot and repair various issues.

When To Seek Professional Help

If your tekonsha brake controller still isn’t working correctly after following the above troubleshooting steps, it may be time to seek professional help. A professional electrician or mechanic who is an expert in trailer braking systems can help you diagnose and fix the problem correctly.

Additionally, if you have limited knowledge about electronic devices and electrical systems, it’s always advisable to seek professional help rather than risking damage to your trailer or vehicle.

Maintenance Tips For Your Tekonsha Brake Controller

The Importance Of Regular Maintenance For Brake Controllers

Brake controllers play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of your towing vehicle, and regular maintenance of brake controllers is essential to keep them running efficiently. Failure to maintain brake controllers can lead to a host of issues that can endanger the driver and passengers as well as other road users.

Some of the key reasons why regular brake controller maintenance is important include:

  • Preventing brake failure: A malfunctioning brake controller can lead to complete brake failure, putting the driver and passengers in significant danger.
  • Improving braking efficiency: Regular maintenance of a brake controller helps to ensure that it is functioning properly, providing optimal braking efficiency.
  • Enhancing road safety: A properly functioning brake controller maximizes safety by ensuring control and stability when towing.

Recommended Maintenance Schedule For Tekonsha Brake Controllers

To ensure that your tekonsha brake controller continues operating at peak efficiency, follow these recommended maintenance tips:

  • Monthly maintenance: Check the brake controller for signs of wear and tear, including worn-out wires and corrosion on the battery. Clean the device regularly using a dry cloth.
  • Semi-annual maintenance: Inspect the brake controller’s wiring system for loose or damaged connections. Ensure that the mounting bolts are tight and not subject to wear and tear.
  • Annual maintenance: Check the brake pads, rotors, and brakes lines for wear and tear. Confirm that the brake fluid level is adequate, and change it as necessary.

Maintenance Tips To Prolong The Lifespan Of The Brake Controller

Proper maintenance of a brake controller goes a long way in prolonging its lifespan. Here are some maintenance tips that you can use to keep your brake controller in top condition:

  • Regular cleaning: Dirt and grime can build up on the brake controller, impeding its performance. Routinely cleaning it with a dry cloth helps to keep it functioning efficiently.
  • Keeping the brake controller dry: Brake controllers are prone to damage from exposure to moisture. To avoid this, ensure that you keep the brake controller dry at all times.
  • Proper wiring: Ensure that the wiring connections are tight, clean, and not corroded. Loose wires result in poor brake performance and, in some cases, malfunctioning of the brake controller.

By adhering to these simple maintenance tips, your tekonsha brake controller will serve you well, providing optimal braking ability whenever you need it. Remember, failure to maintain your brake controller can result in catastrophic outcomes while towing.

Frequently Asked Questions On How Do You Test A Tekonsha Brake Controller

How Do You Test A Tekonsha Brake Controller?

To test a tekonsha brake controller, connect it to a trailer with functioning electric brakes, adjust the controller according to the weight of your trailer and then take a drive. During the drive, test the brakes by engaging them gradually and at different speeds.

How Do You Troubleshoot A Tekonsha Brake Controller?

If your tekonsha brake controller isn’t functioning as expected, first check the connection to the trailer and the brake controller’s power source. Ensure the brake controller is receiving power and the trailer brake wiring is correctly connected.

Can You Test A Tekonsha Brake Controller Without A Trailer?

Yes, you can test a tekonsha brake controller without a trailer by running a diagnostic test. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to enter the diagnostic mode and check the voltage output of the tekonsha brake controller to ensure it is within the specified range.

When Should You Replace A Tekonsha Brake Controller?

You should consider replacing a tekonsha brake controller if it fails to function, if you’re experiencing issues with the electric brake system, or if you have upgraded to a trailer with a higher weight capacity.

Do Tekonsha Brake Controllers Work With All Trailers?

Tekonsha brake controllers are designed to work with all trailers, as long as they have functioning electric brakes. You may need to adjust the brake controller settings to match the weight of your trailer for optimal performance.


Testing your tekonsha brake controller is a vital procedure that ensures your vehicle is safe to drive. By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll gain the confidence to identify and troubleshoot any issues in your brake system. Before embarking on any journey, testing your brake controller can save your life and your passengers by avoiding any potential accidents.

Remember to follow the wiring diagram instruction, check your brake settings, and conduct a road test to confirm the braking force is correct. Tekonsha brake controllers are an important safety component in your tow vehicle, and keeping them in proper working order is essential.

This article has provided comprehensive guidance with a myriad of testing procedures for tekonsha brake controllers. So, with a little effort, you too can become proficient in testing your brake controller.

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