How To Adjust Camping Trailer Brakes (Easy Fix)

You’ve got a camping trailer, and you love it. But now you need to make some repairs, and fixing the brakes is one of them. 

Don’t worry! It’s not hard to adjust your trailer brakes at all; in fact, I’ll show you how to do it right here in this article. When adjusting your brakes, keep these tips in mind:

How To Adjust A Backpack – Backpacking Tips
Properly adjust your backpack before a hiking or camping trip for a comfortable and safe outdoor experience.
A properly fitting backpack should sit comfortably on your hips with the weight distributed evenly throughout your back.
Adjust the straps of your backpack, including the shoulder straps, hip belt, and sternum strap for optimal support.
When packing your backpack, distribute weight evenly, with heavier items closer to your back and lighter items towards the outside.
Regular cleaning and maintenance can help extend the life of your backpack.

Brake Adjusting Tool

A brake adjusting tool is a specialty tool designed to make it easier to properly adjust the brakes on your trailer. They’re not necessary, but they are very useful if you need to adjust the brakes often.

They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, but their basic function is the same: they work by allowing you to apply pressure directly against each side of your brake shoes without having to use your hand or arm (which would be awkward and difficult). 

This allows you to get more leverage while applying force evenly across all four corners of two small surfaces more than could be done otherwise.

When setting up a large tent, it can be challenging to keep everything organized and in the right place. Check out our guide on how to assemble a big camping tent for tips on managing the process and ensuring a successful setup.

Adjusting the Brakes on a Trailer

Check the brake shoes for wear. If they’re worn, replace them.

Check the brake drum for wear. If it’s worn, replace it.

Check the wheel bearings for wear and damage; if they’re damaged or worn, replace them with new ones that match your axle hub specs (i.e., whatever size tire you have).

Check the hub for play; if there’s any play in it at all, this means that your wheel bearing is not functioning properly and needs to be replaced before traveling long distances on rough roads! 

Don’t forget to check both sides of each wheel if one side is bad but not the other then tilt ers can be used as a temporary fix until you get back home where proper repairs can be made by an expert mechanic.”

Tips for Adjusting the Brakes on a Trailer

1Chock the wheels of the trailer to prevent it from rolling backward or forward.
2Locate the brake control unit and adjust the power output to an appropriate level.
3Ensure that the emergency brake is disengaged and the trailer brake is engaged, then have someone apply pressure to the brake pedal in the tow vehicle.
4Adjust the brakes by turning the adjustment wheel until resistance is felt.
5Check the brake adjustment by trying to turn the wheels of the trailer by hand. If they are difficult to move, the brakes are properly adjusted.
6Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each wheel of the trailer.
7Double-check that the wheels are chocked, the parking brake is engaged, and the vehicle is not in gear before testing the brakes.

This table provides a step-by-step guide to adjusting the brakes on a trailer, ensuring that they are properly adjusted for safe and efficient towing.

Lubricating the Brakes on a Trailer

Lubricate your trailer brakes every time you adjust them.

Do not use grease on the brakes. Grease will attract dust, making it difficult for the wheels to turn smoothly, which can cause damage to your trailer’s braking system and lead to a crash.

Use a lubricant that is petroleum based, such as WD-40 or 3-in-1 oil (check with the manufacturer of your particular brand of camper). Petroleum-based lubricants will not attract dust like other types of lubricants do, so they reduce wear and tear on your brakes while also increasing their longevity.

Spray or brush a liberal amount of lubricant onto both sides of each caliper arm where it meets its corresponding brake pad assembly; then move them back and forth so that some of this excess drips off into one direction or another before setting down your spray bottle or brush again when done spraying/brushing each side at once 

Ideally in opposite directions so as not to create too much friction between all four calipers simultaneously while they’re being moved back and forth across each other during this process.”

If you’re having trouble with your garden sprinkler head, it may be time to adjust it. Our article on how to adjust a garden sprinkler head provides step-by-step instructions to get your sprinkler working properly again.

Safety First

Before you begin, make sure to wear safety goggles and gloves to protect your eyes and hands. You’ll also want to wear appropriate footwear kickers can be slippery! 

And make sure the area is well ventilated; brake fluid can be harmful if it gets on skin or in the eyes.

Safety Tips for Outdoor Adventures

ActivitySafety Tips
CampingChoose a safe and level campsite, clear your campfire area of debris, keep food in secure containers away from your site, and keep a first-aid kit on hand.
HikingWear appropriate footwear with good traction, bring enough water and snacks, let someone know your planned route and expected return time, and stay on designated trails.
BoatingAlways wear life jackets, never overload your boat, inspect your boat and equipment regularly, and be aware of weather conditions before heading out.
ClimbingUse proper gear and techniques, climb with a partner, know your limits, and be aware of potential hazards such as loose rock or changing weather conditions.
BikingWear a helmet, obey traffic laws, check your bike and equipment for damage before every ride, and remain alert and aware of your surroundings.

This table provides safety tips for several common outdoor activities, helping to ensure that you stay safe and prepared during your outdoor adventures.

Trailer Wheel Bearings and Hubs

If you’re dealing with vibration while towing, your rear wheel bearings are likely the problem. As you drive, the wheels turn and spin against their bearings. 

If your bearings are old and worn out, they may create an annoying buzzing noise that can be easily heard inside the cab of your tow vehicle. 

To check for this problem, park both vehicles on level ground and shut off their engines. With someone holding up each end of the trailer’s tongue jack (the metal bar connecting it to the chassis), carefully lower each end of it until it rests on its tires (this is called “jacking down”). 

The front tires should be completely off the ground so that both wheels are spinning freely when you start up again. 

A garden gate can add both style and function to your backyard, but it needs to be adjusted properly to work correctly. Our article on how to adjust a garden gate provides helpful tips and guidance to make sure your gate stays in good condition.

Tools for Adjusting Your Brakes

In order to properly adjust your trailer’s brakes, you’ll need:

A brake adjusting tool. You can buy this online or at any auto parts store for about $20.

A torque wrench and a hammer. If you don’t already have these tools in your garage, they can be purchased for around $50 total (and are worth every penny). 

It’s very important that you use a torque wrench when working with brakes; if not, you could easily damage them or cause other serious problems by over-tightening bolts on either side of them!

A screwdriver and ratchet/socket set these are standard items in most homes and shouldn’t cost more than $15 total

Actually Looking at Your Brakes

Now that you’ve figured out what’s causing your brake problems, it’s time to take a look at the brakes themselves.

Brake drums: check for wear by compressing and releasing one of your brakes. If there is an excessive amount of play, then the drum may be worn out and needs replacing. You’ll need to remove this first before inspecting or replacing any other parts.

Brake shoes: check for wear by compressing and releasing one of your brakes again (this time with the drum removed). If there is an excessive amount of play again, replace these too so that none of your braking power is lost in this step alone!

Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, but it’s important to prioritize safety when you’re in the wilderness. Our article on how to stay safe while camping offers valuable insights and advice to help you stay safe and enjoy your time in nature.

Splitting The Axle From The Trailer

The next step is to remove the axle from the trailer.

  • Using a pry bar or chisel, separate the axle from the trailer. You can also use a hammer to do this.
  • Once you’ve separated them, remove the axle nut with your wrench, then pull it out of its hole in both pieces of metal that make up your trailer’s axle housing (you’ll see it sticking out).

Now that you have everything apart and are ready to put it all back together again, we recommend skipping ahead to our article on how to install new brakes!

Finding The Brake Shoe

To locate the brake shoe, you need to look inside the wheel. The brake shoe is located on the inside of the wheel and has a spring attached to it. The spring is what pulls against your trailer drum when you are braking.

The brake shoe should be touching up against your trailer drum as much as possible when you are at full stop. 

If there is too much space between the two surfaces (12”), then you will need to adjust this by turning screws that can be found under each wheel hub cover (four total).

Proper drainage is crucial to maintaining a healthy garden, but it can be a challenge to implement in your yard. Our article on how to add garden drainage provides 13 effective ways to improve drainage in your garden and keep your plants healthy all season long.

Checking Your Wheel Bearings

Wheel bearings may be the most critical part of your trailer’s system, and they’re also the hardest to inspect. To check them, you’ll need to remove the tire from the vehicle.

When inspecting wheel bearings for wear, look for any signs of play in the axle or suspension. If either moves more than it should when you push down on them (1/2-inch is a good measure), consider replacing them. 

You can also look for rust around where they meet with other parts of your vehicle; if it’s present, you’ll probably want new bearings soon as well.

If there isn’t noticeable damage like this but still seems like something’s not right—more noise than usual or an unusual amount of vibration—it’s time to give ’em another look under the hood.

Checking Your Hubs

To check the hubs, you will need to remove the wheels and then inspect them closely. Look for cracks or worn spots on the hub. 

You can also check for rust by applying some sandpaper to a section of your hub and seeing if any rust comes off. Any damage to the hub should be replaced immediately because it can affect your trailer’s braking ability.

Removing the Hubs and Drums

The first thing you’ll need to do is remove the cotter pin. There should be a cotter pin connecting both of your axles, so use a pair of pliers to pull it out. 

Once that’s done, you can remove the axle nut with an adjustable wrench. Be sure not to lose the washer that came with your trailer!

Next, take off one wheel at a time by removing its brake drum and shoes it’s usually pretty easy. You may need some kind of tool for this step (like pliers) so go ahead and borrow from whoever owns whatever tool you need if they’re around (or buy one). 

Clean up any gunk left behind on either hub or axle before replacing them in their proper positions with new hardware like nuts and bolts (a drill helps here). 

Make sure all screws are tight after reassembly so everything stays together when you hit bumps in the road!

Things You Need For Changing The Brakes On A Trailer

If you’re going to change the brakes on a camping trailer, here are some things you should have ready:

A brake tool (sometimes called a “brake jack”) that can be used to compress the springs. You’ll want this to make sure your trailer is stable as it sits in its jacked state; otherwise, it’s possible for the springs to loosen up and damage everything inside. It also helps prevent injury from being compressed by an unsecured spring compressor.

Brake lubricant (a type of grease) so that there’s less friction between moving parts when you’re working on them. This makes everything feel smoother when operating your vehicle after installation is complete.

New brake shoes or discs and pads for whatever system needs replacing–it depends on what kind of brakes are already installed on your vehicle! 

If none are currently present, then just get new ones anyway–you’ll know what size/type they need based off research into other people who’ve worked on similar types of vehicles before hand so there shouldn’t be any surprises here at all 😉

Checking Brake Wear and Tensioning The New Shoes Up On A Trailer (Continued)

Once you’ve taken off the old shoes and installed new, wear-resistant rubber ones, it’s time to check how they’re working. First, check for any obvious signs of wear beyond what you’d expect from normal use. 

If there are any dents or gouges in the brake drum area (the part of the wheel that touches the brake shoe) or if any pieces of drum have been chipped away, then something must be done about it before continuing.

If everything looks good there, check to see if all four wheels have equal tension on them by putting a ratchet strap around each hub and pulling until they’re tight. Once that’s done, take one more look at all four brakes again this time focusing on their position relative to each other and whether or not they seem even in terms of length and curvature: 

If one shoe appears shorter than another or has sharper edges than its counterparts then chances are good that whoever assembled your trailer didn’t properly align them during installation last summer when changing out your axles and wheels!

Reassembly and Recap of Adjusting Your Trailer’s Brake

Check brake shoe tension by pulling on each side of the drum with a force of about 10 lbs., then release it quickly when you hear a click—this will make sure the shoes are not too tight and won’t damage anything inside the drum itself (including themselves). 

The shoes should be tight enough to create friction against their backsides so they don’t slip when you step on them, but not so tight that they bind up or cause unnecessary wear on internal components!

Check your wheel bearings for excessive play; if there’s too much movement here then you may need new ones soon! Also check that all bolts connecting everything together are still securely fastened in place (and haven’t come loose) because this could lead


The braking systems on trailers are a little more complicated than the ones on cars. For one thing, you have to remember that the trailer has a huge amount of weight behind it and therefore needs more pressure than your average car or truck. 

For another thing, the typical setup in most campers uses drum brakes rather than disc brakes like you might find on an RV or car.

The most important thing is to make sure that while adjusting your brakes they’re not too tight or too loose. 

If they’re too tight then it will take longer for them to engage at all which could be dangerous if there isn’t enough time before hitting something hard such as another vehicle or curb. 

On top of that, if they don’t have enough slack then they won’t be effective at slowing down your camper’s momentum when needed either!

Further Reading

Here are some additional articles related to adjusting a backpack that you may find helpful:

How to Properly Adjust Your Backpack from Salomon provides step-by-step instructions and tips to make sure your backpack fits comfortably and securely.

How to Adjust a Backpack from Advnture offers practical advice on how to adjust your backpack for maximum comfort and support.

How to Adjust a Backpack from Deuter provides a detailed guide to adjusting backpacks for optimal fit and comfort.


How important is it to properly adjust your backpack for hiking or camping?

Properly adjusting your backpack is crucial for a comfortable and safe outdoor experience. An ill-fitting backpack can cause discomfort, back pain, and even lead to injury on long hikes or camping trips.

How do I know If my backpack fits correctly?

A proper fitting backpack should sit comfortably on your hips, with the weight distributed evenly throughout your back. The shoulder straps should fit snugly but not be too tight, and the hip belt should be snug around your waist.

How can I adjust my backpack straps?

To adjust your backpack straps, first loosen all the straps, put the backpack on, and then gradually tighten each strap until the backpack feels secure and comfortable. Be sure to adjust the shoulder straps, hip belt, and sternum strap for optimal support.

How should I pack my backpack for a hiking or camping trip?

When packing your backpack, distribute the weight evenly throughout the pack, with heavier items closer to your back and lighter items toward the outside of the pack. Be sure to pack essentials like food, water, and a first-aid kit in easily accessible pockets or compartments.

How should I care for my backpack?

Regular cleaning and maintenance can help extend the life of your backpack. When not in use, store your backpack in a cool, dry place. Clean your backpack regularly with a damp cloth or brush, and avoid storing or leaving it in direct sunlight.