Override brakes VS electric brakes

Override Brakes VS Electric Brakes

I often get the question… I’m about to fit brakes to my camper trailer and want to know which hitch I should buy? the override brakes unit or the electric brake unit. Which is better suited?

Well the easiest way to answer this is to say it depends what you are doing with the trailer. Override brakes, being hydraulic or cable pull are both limited to a coupling that is not exceeding 2 ton. Electric brakes go way higher and in this case lets look at the OzHitch 3.5 ton hitch.

Override brakes are ideal for boat trailers as they are not reliant on 12v to operate so more ideal on this point only as they get dipped in water every time they get used. Electric brakes in this situation would become buggered quickly being in salt water as water and electrics don’t mix well as you would know. I believe this is the only benefit of override brakes and its a biggy for boaties. I would choose electric for everything else any-day.

Electric brakes benefits

  1. Higher towing capacity
  2. Handbrake can be fitted away from hitch so to give better clearance for doors and tailgates
  3. Can be fitted to multi axle/hub caravans
  4. Far more adjust-ability
  5. Adjustment controlled from inside vehicle
  6. Can me applied to slow vehicle if vehicle brakes fail
  7. Far better in Off-road situations especially hill decent
  8. Better for reversing as they don’t require you to get out the car to engage the ram stopper so brakes don’t engage when reversing. Imagine having to get out of the car constantly to engage disengage when off road while trying to navigate difficult tracks.

One of the important things to be aware of is that all vehicles have a different GTM (gross trailer mass) towing capacity and some vehicles are considered to small to even tow a trailer under 750kg without brakes. So please check your vehicles recommended GTM. Some capacity info below.

Trailers up to and including 750kg gross trailer mass including load don’t need brakes*
Trailers not over 2,000kg gross trailer mass including load must have brakes that operate on at least one axle
Override brakes are acceptable on trailers up to and including 2,000kg gross trailer mass including load and are not allowable over this.
Trailers over 2,000kg gross trailer mass including load are required to have brake-away brakes (these apply automatically if the trailer becomes detached from the towing vehicle)
Trailers over 2,000kg gross trailer mass including load must have brakes on all wheels
Brakes other than override systems must be able to be operated from the driver’s seat

Important Tip

I suggest with all brakes hydraulic, cable pu and electric, after going off road or dipping your boat trailer in the water always best to remove the hubs and get the salt water and mud etc out. This will substantially increase the life of the drums/discs and drakes shoes/pads and also stops corrosion on small vital moving brake parts that if they seize up could mean a crash. So servicing/cleaning brakes out is essential.