Brake Lock Up
How to fix and prevent brake lock up on your trailer.
There are several your brakes could be locked up. Here is a list of possible causes:
- “Lot Lock.” When pulling a trailer for the first time, or after it has been stored for a extended period of time, please check the wheels for “Lot Lock.” This condition can cause the tires to skid on an empty trailer due to lack of a boat or other weight. This is common at auto dealerships where cars sit unmoved for long periods of time and the brake pads “freeze” to the rotors. “Lot Lock” is caused by corrosion buildup between the brake pad and rotor. It is more prevalent with metallic brake pads but can happen with organic and ceramic pads as well. This is due to the rotor surface of exposed steel not having a corrosion resistant coating where the pads come in contact with the rotor.“Lot Lock” is not a warranty item.
- Pulling a trailer for the first time that has been stored for a while can easily have “Lot Locked” wheels. If the trailer is empty and does not have a boat or weight on the trailer, it will be easy to “skid” the tires.
If possible, test the trailer first by pushing the trailer backward then forward to verify the wheels roll freely. If locked, try rocking the trailer back and forth to free the brakes. If this does not work, try using a wide blade putty knife to create space between the rotor and brake pads. If the trailer has been sitting a long time, it may require the brakes be removed and the pads and rotors cleaned.
Either the blue auxiliary wire on the trailers’ harness must be plugged into the reverse lights in the tow vehicle or you must manually place the safety pin for the coupler located on the driver side of the trailer into the secondary hole. Remember to place it back when towing the trailer back on the road each and every time (unless solenoid is properly connected to the tow vehicle).
To keep your brakes from “freezing” to the rotor:
- Store the trailer in a protected area.
- If you cover the trailer (and boat) with a tarp, make sure there is air circulation around the brake area. A closed tarp can create a “greenhouse effect and accelerate corrosion.
- If your actuator uses a “stop flow” solenoid, make sure you have not locked in pressure to the brakes when you disconnect the trailer. This generally happens when backing into a parking space that is up hill.
- If storing for a long time, consider using a very light coat of spray paint on the exposed rotor surface. Be careful not to spray other parts of the brakes or the trailer. After the paint is dry, rotate the wheels so that the brake pads are on the painted surface. The paint will wear off during the first use.
- Do not use any type of oil, WD40 or any lubricating coating as this could permeate the pads and reduce braking power.
- After disconnecting your trailer, set actuator to a neutral or “no pressure” position by pulling the coupler out or forward.
- Check actuator fluid level and add DOT 3 brake fluid if needed.