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Friday, October 23, 2009

Stop That Toad!

I have read articles on auxiliary brakes 'till I am blue. I find I just get confused. There are cable systems, inertia systems and combinations of this and that, with prices from $400 to $1400. Is there anyone who has done an evaluated study of each of the systems pointing out the pros and cons? I expect a lot has to do with which system is best with the weight of the vehicle being towed, etc. We tow a Chevy Malibu behind our gasoline motorhome and we are within the manufacture’s weight guidelines. Issues like the inclusion of power brakes on the toad, easy in and out vs. semi-permanent and so on need to be evaluated. I like the principles of some of them. So how does one make a wise choice?
Al, (Milford, MI)

Al, indeed the plethora of choices for auxiliary braking when towing a smaller vehicle behind the motorhome can be mind boggling. The fact that there are different technologies involved in their design deepens the question. There truly is no, "best one" that will work "best" for everyone. Additionally, to my knowledge, there has never been any comprehensive study performed on the various models available.

There have been reviews from time to time, but no side-by-side, A-B study that I've seen. Back in the July 2003 issue of Family Motor Coaching Magazine they chronicled about twenty different models. The good point about this article is that the contacts were listed for each of the makers. It wouldn't surprise me that a newer article can be found in their archives. I would suggest you obtain that article and contact each manufacturer that interests you. Ask each of them for four or five references whom you can contact to get their impressions. My advice in all instances of subjective analysis like this is to clearly write out your requirements for the task at hand. Weigh all factors such as cost, availability, service after the sale, etc. Maybe even make a few phone calls to the manufacturers and have each explain why they consider theirs the best on the market. Have them sell you on their product. Carefully analyze your results, sleep on it a day or two, and then make an informed decision. Do let me know your thoughts after you decide. I welcome all comments, good and not-so-good about all aftermarket products.

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