Ask A Trooper
Sgt. Jesse Grabow
Question: With the warmer weather and snow melting I’m getting spring fever and purchased an old trailer to haul my motorcycle around, are brakes required on it?
Answer: Brakes are required on all trailers with a gross weight of 3,000 pounds or more. Trailers manufactured after June 30, 1988, with a gross weight of 3,000 pounds or more require brakes installed on all wheels.
Every trailer with a gross weight of more than 3,000 pounds shall also be equipped with a breakaway brake device which will automatically apply and hold the brakes should the trailer accidentally become detached from the towing unit.
Trailers manufactured prior to July 1, 1988 that are equipped with three or more axles are not required to have brakes on the front axle, provided the brakes on all other wheels meet the performance standards prescribed by law.
The manufacturers of many new vehicles equipped with anti-lock brake systems require any towed unit be equipped with electric brakes and the towing vehicle be equipped with an electronic brake controller.
It’s also important to check the brakes on your personal vehicle every three months. Too often, vehicle owners put off simple maintenance until it’s too late. Deteriorating brakes can create longer stopping distances, ultimately leading to a crash. Do your part to maintain your vehicle to avoid a crash.
You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths.
If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, firstname.lastname@example.org).