Do you know if teardrop trailers have brakes? this is one of the questions our readers ask a lot. Well, we´ve got you covered.
When it comes to road safety, especially when you are towing a trailer, the most important thing for your vehicle is their ability to stop.
Not all trailers have brakes, but whether you are choosing to buy or rent a trailer it does leave a question do teardrop trailers have brakes? As a general rule, teardrop trailers do not have brakes. In most US states, the legal requirement for brakes on a trailer is set well above the usual GVWR of teardrop trailers, but many manufacturers do offer installation of brakes as an option.
But, let’s get into some more details about this whole matter.
What Are Teardrop Trailers?
The simplest way to define the teardrop trailer is a smallish camper trailer shaped approximately like a teardrop when looked at from the side.
They are very streamlined, compact, and lightweight camper trailers.
The characteristic shape is a functional part of their design, as it increases their aerodynamic characteristics, making them easier to tow and less prone to leaning.
They are primarily designed for two adults, and generally come equipped with just the bare minimum of amenities.
This utilitarian nature doesn’t make them bad but does put a limit on what you could expect inside of them.
Their GVWR, or the maximum weight they can have when fully loaded, usually falls in the 1,000 to 1,500 range, though many smaller and some bigger models do exist.
Read also: Can I Tow A Trailer With Electric Brakes Without A Brake Controller?
What Types Of Trailers Have Brakes?
Practically all types of trailers can have brakes, but as a general rule if they have GVWR above 3,000 pounds you can be certain that they will come with brakes equipped by the manufacturer.
3,000 pounds is some generally accepted maximum weight of the trailer that can be safely brought to stop by towing the vehicle’s brakes alone.
Some US states have GVWR limits under this level, and if you tow a trailer in one of them, you must have brakes on them.
Read also: Trailer Brake Controllers: 25 Facts You Should Know
When Does A Trailer Must Have Brakes?
Whether your trailer must have brakes depends on the state you plan to tow it in.
Most of the states have different minimum limits of trailer’s GVWR above which they need brakes, so here’s a quick list with GVWR limits:
- 1,000 pounds: New York and North Carolina
- 1,500 pounds: California, Indiana, and Nevada
- 2,000 pounds: Mississippi
- 3,000 pounds: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dacota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin
- 4,000 pounds: Delaware
- 4,500 pounds: Texas
- 5,000 pounds: Alaska
- 10,000 pounds: Massachusetts
The other nine missing states define the limit for brakes as the ability to stop the combination of vehicles within a certain distance going from a certain speed.
Further details about these states you can find on the other pages of this blog.
Read also: If My Trailer Has Electric Brakes Do I Need A Brake Controller?
What Types Of Brakes Teardrop Trailers Can Have?
As a general rule, teardrop trailers have one of the two types of brakes, either electrical or surge brakes.
The electrical brakes are as a rule the drum brakes, they are called electrical because they are activated with an electrical device.
When you have them equipped on your trailer a special controller for them sits inside the cabin of your towing vehicle.
Once you step on the brake pedal, the controller detects deceleration and sends power to electromagnets in the brakes which causes the application of force on the brake pads.
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The other type, surge brakes, are activated by the inertia of hydraulic fluid in their system.
They can be both drum or disc brakes and require no connection with any device inside the towing vehicle.
Usually, their controller is installed on the tongue of the trailer, when you start braking the hydraulic fluid in it surges forward which causes the system to apply braking force.
What Towing Capacity Do I Need For A Teardrop Trailer?
Teardrop trailers fall into the lightest category of camper trailers, with their GVWR generally hovering around 1,000 pounds.
When you take a look at the majority of the passenger vehicles, their maximum towing capacity approaches this weight rating.
Which makes them very often a suitable vehicle for towing a teardrop trailer, in other words, you could be able to find a trailer appropriate for any car.
When it comes to pickup trucks and full-size SUVs, their towing capacities generally start above 3,000 pounds, GVWR which teardrop trailers extremely rarely exceed.
If you have an SUV or a pickup truck, you can rest assured that you will be able to tow practically any teardrop trailer.
Read also: What Can I Tow With 1,500 lbs Capacity? (With 6 Examples)
The teardrop camper trailers are extremely streamlined compact RVs, usually intended for only two grownup occupants.
Because of their diminutive size, their maximum loaded weight or GVWR is very low, compared to other types of camper trailers.
It generally ranges between 1,000 and 1,500 pounds but can be even less.
This low GVWR is the reason why they usually do not have brakes, as it is well below the most common minimum legal limit of 3,000 pounds.
But because some states have lower GVWR limits above which a trailer must have brakes, manufacturers offer them as an option you can have installed on the trailer.
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