Brakes required on all trailers of 3,000 lbs or more

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, February 3, 2021

By Troy Christianson

Question:  I am getting my four-place snowmobile trailer ready for a trip, do I need brakes on all the axles?

Answer: Brakes are required on all trailers with a gross weight of 3,000 pounds or more. If brakes are required they need to be on all wheels of a trailer manufactured after June 30, 1988.  Trailers equipped with three or more axles and manufactured prior to July 1, 1988, are not required to have brakes on the front axle provided the brakes on all other wheels meet the performance standards prescribed by law. 

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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.

Every trailer with a gross weight of more than 3,000 pounds shall 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.

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 Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848.  (Or reach him at, Twitter:   MSPPIO_SOUTH