It’s surprising how many times we hear about caravan brakes being burnt out. Just recently we’ve come across two within a matter of days of each other. The situation seems to be more prevalent when a big 4x4 is the tow vehicle and the caravan has a gas strut assisted handbrake – the one without a button on it. Ignoring the possibility of the owner forgetting to let the brake off before moving off, we suspect that a likely possibility is the handbrake being ‘nudged’ by the overrun device during towing. One of the benefits of a gas strut assisted handbrake is that it only needs to be lifted a short distance for it to come on. The downside however, is that if this happens during towing, the driver may not realise anything is wrong – especially if he has a beefy 4x4.
The result can be disaster as the photograph here shows. The caravan was towed for so many miles that the drums overheated and actually disintegrated. Not only that, both plastic wheel boxes melted, resulting the caravan needing both new boxes and a new axle.