How To Test A Brake Controller Without Trailer?

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Anytime you install a brake control or suspect that it is not working well, you better test its performance before the worst happens. 

You don’t have a trailer for testing? That isn’t a concern, here are details on how to test a brake controller without a trailer.

The best part is that you don’t have to undergo tedious learning processes for the testing process is the simplest of all. Even better, you will require very few equipment. Set yourself and come we get things done in the shortest time possible.


  • Multimeter
  • Helper

Steps On How To Test Brake Controller Without Trailers

Just a second, I clear something before we dive in. In this method of testing a brake controller without a trailer, you will be using a multimeter as one of the equipment.

Hence, it is advisable that you first have basics on its operations and read the measurements from a scale depending on the multimeter type.

With that, you are ready to start. 

Step 1: Press The Brake Pedal And Observe The Brake Controller

First, turn the ignition key on

Then, press down the pedal while observing the brake controllers. You should closely monitor the voltage change. Ideally, the volt up and down should not exceed 1/10volts. 

Step 2: Observe The Fuse Operation

After taking note of the voltage change, observe the brake controller fuse. In a normal circumstance, the display should light up.

In case the display is not lighting, you should then replace it before getting to the next step.

Step3: Get Your Multimeter And The Helper Close

Before we jump right ahead, let me clarify something. A brake controller controls electric brakes by regulating the voltage flow.

A multimeter, a device used to measure voltage, will help you identify the voltage’s presence or absence.

Let’s get back to work.

Ask your helper to hold the brake pedal down, and have the multimeter at hand.

Step 4: Probe The Terminal

The terminal is the part that is connected to a blue wire in the connector.

Using the multimeter, measure the voltage in the terminal. For a properly working brake controller, you should observe voltage variation. That is the voltage increasing and decreasing.

If the brake controller is faulty, there will be no voltage indicator or a constant voltage reading. 

Step 5: Take Action

After noting that the brake controller is faulty, you should not attempt to get to the road. Otherwise, you will be risking your very life. So, what next?

You can replace the brake controller or hire a professional to do it for you.  

Some Of The Problems Associated With Brake Control Faults And Remedies

Besides, practically testing the brake control, the experience you get while on the road can be used as an indicator of faulty brake control.

However, I strongly recommend after getting your suspicions, you practically check if the controller is okay or not. 

You should also note that some of the below problems can be a combination of another issue and the faulty controller. Thus thorough troubleshooting is also recommendable. 

1. No Brakes

If your bike has no brakes completely, then likely the brake controller is the problem. In this case, the only remedy is to replace them. 

Though even open circuits or short-circuiting can be a cause. Hence, you should also confirm that the electric circuit connection is correct. 

2. Weak Brakes

Having weak brakes means the brake controller is working well, but it faces much resistance such that the voltage and amperage flow are limited. 

The leading cause of the high resistance in the brake controller is corroded connections. In such a case, you should clean all the connecting wires and replace them.

Also, having under adjustment or improper synchronization may lead to weak brakes. Thus, adjust them appropriately. 

3. Locking Brakes

A faulty controller is a significant cause of locking brakes. Also, if a brake component is broken or when the wheel load is insufficient, that can be the reason behind the locking brakes.

You can increase the wheel load by adjusting the system resistor, while for the broken components, you will have to replace them. 

4. Dragging Brakes

A lot of issues can lead to dragging brakes. Among them are bent spindle, broken brake, loose wheel bearing, broken brake components, and bent brakes. Therefore, make adjustments or replacements where necessary. 

Other problems associated with brakes are;

Brakes pull on one side- causes are faulty controller, under adjustment, or grease on the magnet

Intermittent brakes- Its causes are faulty controllers, broken wires, and loose connections. 

Some Of The Causes Of Brake Control Failure

A brake controller that is not working implies that something is wrong but not necessarily on the controller. The mess can be on the controller itself or the entire brake connection. Some of the reasons as to why your brake controller is failing are; 

  1. Corrosion of the vehicle’s plug
  2. Poor functioning magnets
  3. Wrong adapter wiring
  4. The negative ground connection on the battery is wrong
  5. The brake components are wrongly incorporated
  6. The brake signal on the vehicle is damaged
  7. Incomplete battery connection
  8. A missing or inappropriate fuse
  9. Faulty adapter wiring


A brake controller is a device that draws power from the vehicle and sends it to the brakes to regulate the brake levels. Consequently, when experiencing no or low brakes, likely the brake controller is faulty.

The sure way of confirming your suspicions is actually to test the brake controller. And if the lack of a trailer is limiting you, it is time to rise over the limitation.

You can actually test the brake controller with a simple multimeter and an extra person to help out. Yes, that is the truth, no need for a trailer to get things done. 

Related Posts:


What Causes The Brake Controller To Fail?

The brake controller failure’s leading cause is corroded connections, which lead to high voltage and amperage resistance. 

That can be corrected by either replacing the brake controller systems or else cleaning it thoroughly. 

What Is The Use Of A Multimeter When Testing The Brake Controller?

The multimeter indicates the voltage flow in the terminal of the brake controller. 

A typically working brake controller should have a fluctuating voltage reading. In case the multimeter gives a low reading or a constant reading, then your brake controller is faulty. 

How Do I Know If My Brake Controller Is Bad?

The only way to fully confirm that your brake controller is not working correctly is to test it. You can use a trailer or a multimeter to test the brake controller.

Nonetheless, if your brakes are relatively weak or no brakes at all, it might indicate a faulty controller. However, strictly note that a defective controller is not the only cause of brake failure.

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