How to Check RV Brakes

When testing your RV brakes, it is not enough proof that they function properly simply because your RV begins slowing when you apply them. Slowing may be caused by other factors, such as only one wheel brake working properly. The most reliable test for RV brakes is to use a magnetic compass to test all your wheel brakes.

Things You'll Need:

  • Magnetic compass
  • Helper
  • Chocks

Step 1 – Park Safely

Before checking your brakes, be sure your RV is parked safely so it won't roll when its brakes are not applied. Place chocks against the tires. If your RV has an automatic transmission, place it in the "Park" position. If it has a manual transmission, place it in the "Reverse" or "Low" position.

Step 2 - Test a Wheel Brake

At one of your RV wheels, hold a magnetic compass below the RV's wheel hub (about 3 inches) while your helper is depressing the brake pedal. An erratic movement from the compass needle will indicate a properly functioning brake. Apply this same test to all other wheels.

Step 3 – Optional Checks

When your brakes fail the magnetic compass test, check for other possible causes that might contribute to your brake failure, such as wire connections (including your wiring harness), brake control, connector plugs, and fuses.