Brake Meter for Agricultural Vehicles & Trailers

A previous study of agricultural trailer braking showed that many agricultural trailers failed to meet basic safety requirements.

The research report, jointly funded by HSE, DfT and the industry, examined a range of trailers and trailed equipment to identify their braking performance.

Those that failed were then tested again after carrying out a service and brake adjustment. The results were shocking… Most trailers failed to meet even the basic requirement – and some still failed even after adjustment!

The report also took the time to highlight the business benefits from selecting and maintaining the right equipment and identifying the cost savings associated specifically with good practice.


As with any other road or workplace vehicle, agricultural vehicles must comply with the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. These are enforced by the Police and DVSA. Operators of agricultural vehicles must also comply with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 that are enforced on site by HSE inspectors.

Both Regulations contain provisions requiring tractors and their trailers to be properly maintained and safe for use, this includes trailer brakes. On the highway the minimum legal requirement for trailer brakes is 25% braking efficiency at a maximum 20mph (32kph). Above this speed they must have a failsafe dual-line system (hydraulic or air) with 45% braking efficiency.

Bomwonk Decelerometer
A modern brake meter decelerometer and printer

Brake Testing

So how can we test the braking systems on our agricultural vehicles quickly, repeatably and then produce documented evidence that we have done this if and when we are checked by the DVSA?

The solution is portable and cost-effective. It eliminates the need to go to a professional brake testing service to conduct the checks necessary to show the effectiveness of your braking systems. The solution is the modern portable brake meter.

Procedure to test Agricultural Tractors

In order to test an agricultural tractor or other farming vehicle we set the vehicle up ready for a short run on a decent area of level road.

The brake meter is told which braking system will be tested first – service or parking brake and it is placed in the drivers cab, pointed forward in the direction of travel. When the unit is ready to take the test (the unit must be level which it indicates on the LED display), the driver confirms that he is ready to conduct the test and the subject vehicle is driven forward at 15kph and then the brakes are applied so that the vehicle comes to rest.

Thats it! The unit measures automatically a number of factors including test speed and  braking force if the unit is drifting to the right or left overall etc. From this data set the unit is instantly able to calculate the overall efficiency of the braking system which can be scrolled through using a single button press on the unit.

The test is then repeated for the other braking system and the results can be printed out using the optional thermal printer as evidence that the test was conducted and what the result was at that time.

These results also form a benchmark which is used for testing trailers.


Procedure to test Agricultural Trailers

Note: In order for a trailer to be tested using a brake meter a benchmark test for the drag vehicle must have been completed.

Testing trailer brakes is an identical procedure to that which is described above. The trailer and drag and placed in position for a repeat run of the benchmark test so that overall service brake and parking brakes data can be compared. This is obviously significantly easier if a printer has been acquired.

When comparing the data sets, we are seeking brake efficiencies for both systems which are “in the same ball park” or in simplistic terms “that the trailer is performing its fair share of the braking effort.”

On the assumption that the efficiencies are similarly banded then we can be sure that our trailer brakes are working.

If we are seeing wildly different values for efficiency then further investigation is obviously required. This may involve a visit to the repair garage for a more detailed investigation – although inconvenient at the time, the positives to this are the savings made through not making unnecessary service / repair inspections and most importantly, that you are safe and legal.

Purchasing a meter or kit for brake testing.

We supply this meters to repair garages, service establishments and farmers around the UK. It can be purchased online by clicking here or by calling 0844 800 9785 during normal office hours.

getech-garage-equipment-logoGETECH supply MOT bays & equipment for all vehicle classes. As a manufacturer within the MOT scheme we are perfectly positioned to remain abridged of current and future known legislation. With a design ethos for total modularity, our equipment is some of the most flexible currently available in the UK.

For more information on GETECH call during office hours, visit or mail



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