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Heavy trailers need brakes

Question: I have purchased a 3,000 pound tractor in Canada and will haul it home on a trailer that has a gross weight of 12,000 pounds using my suburban. I do not have wiring for trailer brakes on this suburban (non-heavy-duty). Is there a guideline for this or will I have trouble crossing the border twice without trailer brakes?

Answer: As for crossing the border you will have to take that issue up with those that work the border between the United States and Canada. Now the brake issue is one I can help you with. According to Minnesota statute 169.67 sb 3 (a) in part, states; no trailer or semitrailer with a gross weight of 3,000 or more pounds, or a gross weight that exceeds the empty weight of the towing vehicle, may be drawn on a highway unless it is equipped with brakes that are adequate to control the movement of and to stop and hold the trailer or semitrailer.

A surge brake on a trailer or semitrailer meets the requirement of this paragraph for brakes adequate to stop and hold the trailer or semitrailer. Clause (b) requires a trailer or semitrailer that is required to have brakes and that has a gross weight of more than 6,000 pounds to be equipped with brakes that are so constructed that they are adequate to stop and hold the trailer or semitrailer whenever it becomes detached from the towing vehicle.

So basically, unless the trailer has surge brakes, you are going to have to get the wiring changed so that you will have working brakes on that trailer. When you get the tractor loaded on the trailer check the total weight of the trailer and load. If that weight is more than 6,000 lbs you will need brakes that engage when the trailer comes separated from the suburban.

Here are some simple tasks to help you avoid being in a crash: turn on your lights; drive sober; stop talking on the cell phone; slow down and because not every driver out there is as careful as you, buckle up.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws in Minnesota send your questions to Trooper Andy Schmidt, Minnesota State Patrol, 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205, or e-mail