Cost to Install Trailer Brakes: Affordable Guide & Tips

cost to install trailer brakes

If you’re planning to tow a trailer, it’s essential to have a reliable brake system installed for safety reasons. However, the cost of installing trailer brakes can be a concern for many people. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the cost to install trailer brakes and provide you with tips on how to make it more affordable.

By understanding the factors that influence the installation cost and exploring different options, you can find a solution that suits your needs and budget. Let’s get started on your journey to safer towing!

Key Takeaways:

  • Trailer brake installation is essential for safe towing.
  • The cost of installing trailer brakes can be a concern for many people.
  • Understanding the factors that influence the installation cost can help you find a more affordable solution.
  • There are different types of trailer brakes available, and each may impact the installation cost differently.

Factors Affecting Trailer Brake Installation Cost

When it comes to determining the cost of trailer brake installation, there are several factors that can influence the final price. Understanding these factors can help you better estimate the cost and make informed decisions about your brake system.

Type of Brakes

One of the biggest factors affecting the cost of trailer brake installation is the type of brakes you choose. Electric brakes are generally more expensive than surge brakes, and hydraulic brakes can be more expensive still. Electric brakes require additional wiring and a brake controller installation, while surge brakes are typically more straightforward.

Complexity of Installation

The complexity of the installation can also impact the cost. If your trailer has never had brakes before, or if a previous brake system was removed, installation may require additional labor and parts. Similarly, if your trailer has a unique design or requires customized parts, the installation may take longer and cost more.

Labor Costs

Labor costs can vary depending on the installation service you choose and the level of expertise of the installer. More experienced installers may charge more, but their expertise can also ensure a smoother installation and more reliable brake system.

Additional Charges

Additional charges may apply depending on the specific installation service you use. For example, some services may charge extra for wiring or brake controllers, while others may include these costs in their overall price.

By understanding these factors, you can better estimate the cost of trailer brake installation and make informed decisions about your brake system. Consider your needs and budget carefully, and don’t hesitate to ask for quotes and compare prices before making a decision.

Types of Trailer Brakes

When it comes to installing trailer brakes, there are several types to choose from. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, as well as varying installation costs, so it’s important to understand the differences between them to make an informed decision for your towing needs.

Electric Brakes

Electric brakes are the most common type of trailer brakes. They are activated by an electric current from the tow vehicle’s brake system, which sends a signal to the brake controller to engage the trailer brakes. Electric brakes are generally more responsive than hydraulic brakes and offer better control, making them an excellent choice for heavy loads or steep descents. Installation costs for electric brakes tend to be mid-range.

Hydraulic Brakes

Hydraulic brakes rely on hydraulic fluid to activate the brakes, which is typically provided by a brake pump on the tow vehicle. They offer reliable stopping power and are low maintenance, making them a popular choice for boat trailers. However, they can be less responsive than electric brakes and may require periodic adjustments. Installation costs for hydraulic brakes tend to be higher than electric brakes.

Surge Brakes

Surge brakes are a type of hydraulic brake system that actuates when the trailer pushes against the tow vehicle during braking, which compresses a surge actuator to engage the brakes. They are commonly used on boat trailers and typically require no electrical connection. However, surge brakes can be more difficult to install and may require periodic maintenance. Installation costs for surge brakes can be higher than electric brakes.

Overall, the type of trailer brake you choose will depend on your towing needs and budget. It’s important to consider the installation costs, maintenance requirements, and reliability of each type before making a decision.

Trailer Brake Installation Process

Installing trailer brakes requires proper planning and attention to detail. Here are the typical steps involved in the installation process:

Step 1: Prepare the TrailerBefore beginning the installation process, ensure that the trailer is parked on a level surface and that the wheels are properly chocked. Disconnect the trailer from the tow vehicle and remove the wheels from the axle.
Step 2: Install Brake AssemblyNext, install the brake assembly onto the axles. Ensure that the brakes are aligned to the brake drums and that they fit snugly. Once in place, attach the brake pads and adjust the brake shoes to the recommended clearance.
Step 3: Connect Brake SystemThe next step involves connecting the brake system to the brake controller and the trailer tongue. Connect the brake wires to the brake magnets and run them through the trailer frame. Use zip-ties or clips to secure the wires in place.
Step 4: Test and Adjust BrakesAfter all connections have been made, test the brake system to ensure that it is working correctly. Adjust the brake shoes as needed to achieve the desired level of braking force.

Keep in mind that this is a general overview of the installation process. Each installation may vary depending on the type and complexity of the brake system being installed.

Average Cost of Installing Trailer Brakes

The cost of installing trailer brakes can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of brakes, the complexity of the installation, and the labor charges. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $800 for installing trailer brakes.

FactorsAverage Cost
Electric brakes$400 – $800
Hydraulic brakes$500 – $900
Surge brakes$300 – $600

Keep in mind that these estimates are just a general guide, and your actual cost may differ depending on your specific needs and location. To get a more accurate estimate, it’s recommended to get quotes from different service providers and compare prices.

Tips to Reduce Trailer Brake Installation Costs

Installing trailer brakes can be a significant investment, but there are ways to reduce the cost without sacrificing quality. Here are some tips to help you save money:

1. Shop around for quotes

Don’t settle for the first quote you receive for trailer brake installation. Shop around and compare prices from different auto shops to find the best value for your budget.

2. Consider DIY options

If you have the skills and tools necessary for trailer brake installation, consider doing it yourself to save on labor costs. However, be sure to research and follow proper installation procedures to ensure safety and reliability.

3. Choose the right type of brakes

Choosing the right type of brakes for your trailer can impact the installation cost. Electric brakes are typically more expensive, while surge brakes are less expensive but less efficient. Consider your towing needs and budget when selecting the type of brakes.

4. Bundle services

If your trailer requires other services such as maintenance or repairs, consider bundling the services to save on overall costs.

5. Ask for discounts

Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts or promotions from auto shops. Some shops offer discounts for new customers or seasonal promotions.

By following these tips, you can reduce the overall cost of trailer brake installation without compromising on safety or reliability.

Hiring a Professional vs. DIY Installation

When it comes to installing trailer brakes, you may be wondering whether to hire a professional or attempt a DIY approach. There are pros and cons to both options, and it ultimately depends on your expertise, time, and budget.

Hiring a Professional

If you have little to no experience with trailer brake installation, hiring a professional may be the way to go. Not only do they have the expertise and tools to complete the job efficiently, but they can also ensure that your brake system meets legal requirements and is properly maintained. Additionally, some professionals offer warranties or guarantees on their work, giving you peace of mind and added protection in case of any issues.

However, hiring a professional can be more expensive compared to a DIY approach. The cost can vary depending on the complexity of the installation and the rates charged by the professional. It’s always a good idea to shop around for quotes and check online reviews before committing to a particular service provider.

DIY Installation

If you have some experience with trailer brake installation or are willing to take the time to learn, a DIY approach can help you save money on installation costs. There are plenty of resources available online and in-store to guide you through the process, and many brake systems come with detailed instructions.

However, it’s important to note that installing trailer brakes can be quite complex and time-consuming. It may require specialized tools and knowledge of electrical or hydraulic systems. Additionally, there is a risk of improper installation, which can compromise safety and lead to costly repairs down the line. If you’re not confident in your abilities, it may be better to hire a professional instead.

In summary, whether to hire a professional or attempt a DIY approach depends on your personal circumstances and level of expertise. Whichever option you choose, prioritize safety and reliability to ensure a smooth and stress-free towing experience.

Trailer Brake Installation Cost Examples

Looking for specific examples of trailer brake installation costs? Here are a few to give you an idea:

Electric brake installation on a single axle trailer$300-$500
Hydraulic brake installation on a tandem axle trailer$1,000-$2,000
Professional installation of surge brakes on a boat trailer$500-$1,000

It’s important to note that these costs are estimates and can vary depending on the region, the complexity of the installation, and other factors. It’s always a good idea to get a quote from a professional before starting any trailer brake installation project.

Finding Affordable Trailer Brake Installation Services

When looking for affordable trailer brake installation services, there are a few key factors to keep in mind to ensure you find the best value for your money. Follow these tips to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Research reputable shops: Start by researching reputable shops in your area that offer trailer brake installation services. Look for shops that have positive reviews and ratings from other customers to ensure they have a track record of quality work.
  2. Ask for recommendations: Reach out to other trailer owners or enthusiasts for recommendations on affordable brake installation services. They may have personal experiences or insights that can help you make a more informed decision.
  3. Compare quotes: Get quotes from multiple service providers to compare prices and services offered. Don’t be afraid to negotiate and ask for discounts or specials, especially if you’re getting multiple services done at once.
  4. Consider mobile services: Some brake installation services offer mobile services, where they can come to you and install the brakes on-site. This can save you time and money, especially if you don’t have the tools or knowledge to install the brakes yourself.

By following these tips and being diligent in your search, you can find affordable trailer brake installation services without sacrificing quality or safety.

Additional Considerations for Trailer Brake Installation

When planning for your trailer brake installation, it’s important to consider a few additional factors to ensure a safe and efficient towing experience.

Before installing your trailer brakes, be sure to check the legal requirements in your state or region. Some states may have specific guidelines or regulations regarding brake systems, so it’s important to ensure that your brakes meet these requirements.


Proper maintenance of your trailer brakes is essential for optimal performance and longevity. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance, including regular inspections, lubrication, and replacement of worn parts. Neglecting maintenance can lead to brake failure and potential safety hazards.

Warranty Considerations

When choosing your trailer brake system and installation service, consider the warranty options available. A reputable installer will offer a warranty or guarantee on their workmanship, and the brake components themselves may also come with a manufacturer’s warranty. Be sure to understand the warranty terms and any limitations or exclusions.

Weight and Payload

The weight of your trailer and payload can affect the type of brakes you need and the associated cost. Heavier trailers may require more complex brake systems or additional brake components, which can increase the installation cost. Be sure to consider the weight and payload of your trailer when budgeting for brake installation.

Towing Frequency and Distance

If you plan to tow your trailer frequently or over long distances, investing in high-quality brake systems and professional installation can provide peace of mind and improve safety on the road. Consider the frequency and distance of your towing needs when weighing your brake installation options.

Upgrading your Trailer Brakes for Safety and Efficiency

Investing in quality trailer brake installation goes beyond cost savings and convenience; it also enhances your safety on the road. Upgrading to modern brake systems can mean the difference between a smooth towing experience and a potential disaster.

Modern trailer brakes offer advanced features such as electronic stability control, which can improve your stopping and steering on slippery or uneven surfaces. Additionally, upgrading your brakes can increase your braking power, giving you more control over your trailer’s acceleration and stopping distance.

By prioritizing safety and efficiency, you can enjoy a more comfortable and confident towing experience. Whether you opt for electric or hydraulic brakes, choosing quality installation services can provide peace of mind on your trips.


Congratulations! You have now gained a better understanding of the cost to install trailer brakes and the various factors that can influence it. By carefully considering the type of brakes, complexity of the installation, and other relevant factors, you can more accurately estimate the cost and make informed decisions. Remember that investing in quality installation services is crucial for ensuring safety and efficiency while towing.

Upgrade Your Trailer Brakes Today

Whether you are a seasoned traveler or just starting out, upgrading your trailer brakes is essential for enhancing your towing experience. With modern brake systems, you can enjoy smoother, more controlled rides and better peace of mind on the road. By following our tips and exploring different options for affordable and reliable installation services, you can easily upgrade your trailer brakes and start enjoying the benefits. So what are you waiting for? Upgrade your trailer brakes today!


Q: What factors can affect the cost of trailer brake installation?

A: The cost of installing trailer brakes can vary based on factors such as the type of brakes, the complexity of the installation, and any additional services required.

Q: What are the different types of trailer brakes?

A: There are three main types of trailer brakes: electric brakes, hydraulic brakes, and surge brakes. Each type has its pros and cons and can influence the overall installation cost.

Q: What is the average cost of installing trailer brakes?

A: The average cost of installing trailer brakes can vary depending on factors such as labor, materials, and any additional charges that may apply. We will provide an estimate to give you a better idea of what you can expect to pay.

Q: Are there any tips to reduce trailer brake installation costs?

A: Yes, we will share some practical tips on how to save money when installing trailer brakes. From shopping around for quotes to considering DIY options, these tips will help you keep the cost down while ensuring a safe and reliable brake system.

Q: Should I hire a professional or attempt a DIY installation?

A: We will weigh the pros and cons of hiring a professional for trailer brake installation versus attempting a DIY approach. By considering factors such as expertise, time, and cost, you can make an informed decision that suits your needs and budget.

Q: Can you provide examples of trailer brake installation costs?

A: Yes, we will provide real-life examples of trailer brake installation costs in different scenarios. This will give you a deeper understanding of what you can anticipate when budgeting for trailer brake installation.

Q: How can I find affordable trailer brake installation services?

A: We will share tips on how to find affordable trailer brake installation services without compromising on quality. From researching reputable shops to asking for recommendations, these tips will help you find the best value for your money.

Q: What additional considerations should I have for trailer brake installation?

A: There are various additional factors to consider when planning for trailer brake installation, including legal requirements, maintenance, and warranty considerations. We will highlight these points to help you make informed decisions throughout the process.

Q: Why should I upgrade my trailer brakes?

A: Upgrading your trailer brakes is important for enhanced safety and efficiency. We will discuss the benefits of modern brake systems and how investing in quality installation can provide peace of mind during your towing adventures.

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