RV trailer brakes and bearings maintenance

By Dustin Simpson July 4, 2023

When was the last time you did a RV trailer brake inspection? During a recent RV wheel bearing service, we found that this customer’s RV brake shoes were worn down on three out of the four brakes. This also caused damage to the drums. We also found that the roadside rear brake magnet wiring was cut in half and that the backing plate/shoe and drum were rusted. We found that all bearings were burnt and loose in bearing cages due to lack of lubrication.

Picture of the four brake backing plates.
Brake magnet wiring cut inside drum, so only three out of the four brakes had been operating.

Making sure that the brakes and suspension are in good working condition is key for any RV. With that said, a lot of braking and suspension systems go unchecked and can cause accidents and trailer fires. We want to make sure this is prevented so trips can be enjoyed with family and friends. Trailer brakes should be inspected at yearly intervals or more often depending on performance.

This is a cut away example to show you how the brakes and bearing ride inside the drum.

Our normal maintenance on trailer brakes consists of inspection, cleaning and adjustment for proper function. During our inspection, we are also looking for worn shoe linings; inspecting the magnet arm for any loose or worn parts; checking the shoe return springs, mounting springs, and adjuster springs for deformation; as well as checking magnets for signs of uneven wear.

Other causes of brakes not working properly are:

• Poor connections
• Open circuit
• Insufficient wire size
• Broken wires hanging below the axle
• Improperly set up controller
• Internally shorted magnets
• Defective controller
• Brake wire shorted to ground somewhere in the system
• Corrosion between the ground wire and the brake wire in the electrical connector plug

Are you not sure if your brakes are working properly? Give us a call or your local RV repair shop and schedule an appointment! Check everything top to bottom to make sure you have a safe and fun trip.

Service Description: Trailer brake inspection


Recommended every 12 months or every 12,000 miles, whichever comes first.

  • Inspect brakes and bearings for wear or damage.
  • Clean and repack wheel bearings and replace seals.
  • Clean and adjust brake shoes and test operation.
  • Adjust tire pressure and torque wheels to specs.
  • Inspection of shackle links, springs, hangers, welds and wiring at axles.
  • Price includes grease, seals, brake cleaner, shop supplies and waste charge.

See our website for service menu prices.

DIY Tools

Curt 7-Pin RV Trailer Wiring Tow Vehicle Socket Tester

Trailer Light Tester

7-Pin Terminal Maintenance Set

Make sure you check out our website, California RV Specialists, and their YouTube channel for more helpful information, and see our published articles on RVtravel.com and other social media pages.