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Advisory: Steep Grade

Advisory: Steep Grade

Should you encounter some long downgrades in your area, here are a few suggestions:

If you are towing your dolly (or any surge actuated braked trailer) with a large tow vehicle and using the engine braking feature or downshifting to use the tow vehicle to hold speed on a long downgrade, it is possible to overheat the brakes on the trailer. Once the tow vehicle decelerates enough to apply the brakes on the trailer, the trailer brake actuator will remain compressed and trailer brakes remain applied until the tow vehicle pulls away from the trailer at the bottom of the hill. Thus, using an engine brake, or downshifting the tow vehicle on a long grade essentially can create the same effect as driving with your trailer brakes on continuously.  This might eventually overheat the trailer brakes.

It is best to enter a long downgrade with a slower initial speed at the top. Then, while descending, it is recommended that you occasionally slightly accelerate the tow vehicle away from the trailer for a few seconds to release the trailer brakes. The ventilated rotors will cool down immediately, and then the brakes can be reapplied. If you can do this about every half mile or so, the trailer brakes will remain within their normal operating temperatures. This is only a recommendation, as the disks can stand an extreme amount of heat, but the bearing system may release some lube to vent some pressure if the brakes get really hot.


Two important things to remember.

You can lock out the brake system if you choose to. Under some circumstances that may be a good idea.

At the bottom of the grade, continue driving to allow the brakes time to cool off. They need fresh air flowing over them to cool off quickly. Rotors can get white-hot under some conditions, DO NOT TOUCH THE ROTORS.


If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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