The Breakaway switch

The Importance of the Breakaway Switch in Trailer Safety


At Futura Trailers, we prioritize your safety and the security of your cargo on the road. When towing a trailer, ensuring that your trailer remains under control in the event of an unexpected separation from your tow vehicle is paramount. This is where the breakaway switch comes into play. In this article, we'll explain why the breakaway switch is a critical safety device, how it works, and how to maintain it properly.

1. The Function of a Breakaway Switch:

When a trailer detaches from the tow vehicle, safety chains can only provide limited control, especially for heavier trailers (5500lb/2500kg and above). The breakaway switch is a crucial component in this scenario. It is designed to activate the trailer's brakes in the event of a separation, bringing the trailer to a stop.

2. How It Works:

The breakaway switch is connected to the tow vehicle. In the event of a separation, the pin in the switch is pulled out, triggering the activation of the trailer's brakes. These brakes are powered by the onboard trailer battery. Therefore, it's essential to ensure that the trailer battery is properly charged for the breakaway switch to function effectively.

3. Re-Engaging the Breakaway Switch:

If the breakaway switch is activated, it's a simple process to reset it. You can reinsert the plunger back into the switch, cutting off the power to the trailer's brakes.

4. Maintaining Your Breakaway Switch:

Regularly checking the breakaway switch is crucial to ensure your trailer's safety. The breakaway switch is linked to the onboard battery and activates the brakes when needed. Removing the switch engages the braking circuit, drawing power from the onboard battery. 

If your breakaway switch isn’t working properly, it’s important to replace it as soon as possible. A defective switch could prevent your brakes from engaging in the event of a separation, which could lead to serious accidents. You can purchase replacement breakaway switches at most automotive stores or online retailers, or from Futura Trailers.

5. Battery Issues:

If you're experiencing battery issues, always start by checking the breakaway switch.  Batteries discharged by leaving the Breakaway switch open may not be covered under warranty. Do not leave the trailer with the Breakaway switch activated, if left in this state the trailer battery will eventually go flat and the brakes will release. The Breakaway switch is not to be used as an E brake (handbrake).


The breakaway switch is a critical component for ensuring the safety of your trailer and cargo. At Futura Trailers, we take your safety seriously, and we encourage all our customers to regularly inspect and maintain their breakaway switches to keep their trailers in optimal working condition. Remember, your safety is our priority, and we're here to help you with any questions or concerns related to your trailer's safety equipment.


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