TruckSpring Times

Truck & Trailer Parts - News & Information

What is Air Compressor Duty Cycle?

All air compressors are built with a duty cycle rating. This rating is typically given as a percentage of the amount of time that an air compressor can be run in a full cycle, typically one hour, that includes the compressor’s run time and rest time.

Some compressors, such as Viair air compressors are built with a thermal protection that will automatically shut them down when they reach a temperature that they can be damaged. Others may not and it is up to the operator to shut them down in the correct amount of time. The compressor must be off and cooling down for the rest of the time they were run to avoid damage.
Viair air compressor

Air Compressor Duty cycle refers to the amount of time a compressor can be operated in a given time period at 100 PSI, and a standard ambient temperature of 72° F. If you are running the air compressor in the dead of winter or on a hot summer day, the amount of cool down time will vary. With duty cycle, It's all about heat dissipation and the rates will vary depending on ambient temperatures and operating conditions.

Duty Cycle is almost always expressed in percentage format: Compressor on time ÷ (on time + off time) = Duty Cycle %. The times to duty cycle in an hour is broken down in a chart below.

9% Duty Cycle      5 Minutes On / 55 Minutes Off or Cool-Down time
10% Duty Cycle     6 Minutes On / 54 Minutes Off or Cool-Down time
15% Duty Cycle     9 Minutes On / 51 Minutes Off or Cool-Down time
20% Duty Cycle     12 Minutes On / 48 Minutes Off or Cool-Down time
25% Duty Cycle     15 Minutes On / 45 Minutes Off or Cool-Down time
30% Duty Cycle     18 Minutes On / 42 Minutes Off or Cool-Down time
50% Duty Cycle     30 Minutes On / 30 Minutes Off or Cool-Down time
100% Duty Cycle   1 Hour Run Time or Constant Duty

If you want to break it down into 10 minute intervals - if an air compressor has a duty cycle of 50%, the air compressor will be running for 10 minutes, then it should run for a combined maximum of 5 minutes ON and 5 minutes OFF.  If the compressor is 60% duty cycle this means the compressor must be off for approximately 4 minutes of every 10 minutes.

If your air compressor is maintained and the duty cycle followed they will provide many years of reliable service.

Brake Controllers - Proportional or Timed Delayed?

When upgrading to a bigger trailer, a new tow vehicle, or just replacing an old trailer brake controller there are a few features to consider that may make your towing experience more enjoyable and safer. All brake controllers are wired into the vehicle with the same 4 wire setup but the technology inside the controller is what sets different models apart.

Why do I need a brake controller?

Brake controllers are the physical link between your brake pedal on your vehicle and the brakes on the axles of your trailer. Without them, uncontrolled weight can push forward, creating the potential for accidents and damage, not only to your truck or car but other vehicles if you can’t slow or stop in time. An electric trailer brake control provides power from a towing vehicle to the electric brakes on a trailer. If your trailer has electric brakes, a brake controller is needed. Always check your tow vehicle owner’s manual. What you can tow, including weight and number of axles, is important in helping you make the right decision about what brake control you will need.

While there are many styles, there are only two types of brake controls, time activated and proportional.


proportional trailer brake controls


Proportional Brake Controllers

Proportional controllers are the type most consumers purchase if they:

  • Tow frequently, especially trailers used to transport heavy loads.
  • Move precious cargo, like your friends and family, horses, livestock, racing vehicles, etc.
  • Have a fleet of trailers and need to quickly switch from one tow vehicle to another.

Most proportional brake controllers are designed with the industry standard ‘plug-n-play’ which allows for quick and easy interchange with compatible vehicles. With proportional controllers every action of your brake pedal in the tow vehicle is matched, precisely and smoothly. When you slow for a railroad grading or go down a steep hill, your trailer eases down and matches your speed mile by mile.

proportional brake cotnroller

(In the graph above, the red line shows what happens when you brake in your tow vehicle, and what happens to the brakes in your trailer (blue line) when a proportional controller’s installed. It’s an exact match. Smooth and even response, second by second. It’s why these systems have become the choice of most consumers.)

graph test results for proportional brake controls

Proportional brake controls determine the tow vehicle’s rate of deceleration and apply the trailer brakes to match. They provide smooth braking response in any stopping situation, with no need for adjustments.

Pros of Proportional Brake Controllers:

  • Safety: In an emergency stop the proportional controller will match the braking power instantly instead of ramping up.
  • Decreased Brake Wear: With tow vehicle and trailer braking the same brake wear is even.
  • Smooth Braking: With the trailer matching the tow vehicle there is no jerking when the trailer brakes apply.
  • No Adjustments: No need to adjust the brake control for different size trailers or road conditions.  

Cons of Proportional Brake Controllers:

  • Mounting: Most must be in line with vehicle direction, so, that limits space where they can be installed.
  • Cost: Advanced technology adds to the bottom line of your up front expense.


time delay trailer brake controllers

Time Delay Brake Controllers

Time delay trailer brake controllers apply the trailer brakes with a preset amount of braking power and there is a delay as the unit ramps up the power to full braking. On most models the time and the initial braking power is adjustable. Time delayed systems slow your trailer using preset brake settings and on how long your foot’s on the brake. The biggest difference is braking isn’t instantaneous.

time delay brake controller

The graph above shows what happens with a time-delayed brake controller. The controller is preset before hauling a load, based in part on the weight of your trailer. There is a delay from when you begin slowing (red line) to when the power levels build up in the trailer to compensate (blue line).

graph results timed brake controllers

Time activated brake controls apply braking power at a fixed rate of time that is NOT proportional to the pressure you apply to your brake pedal. They provide voltage output that increases the gain setting over a period of time (typically 3 seconds). This is known as the ramp cycle.

Pros of Time-Delay Brake Controllers:

  • Cost: If you don’t tow often your initial expense is much less. Great if you tow a small trailer for moving a few things, snowmobiles in the winter, lawn equipment, etc. 
  • Installation: Can be mounted in any location on the tow vehicle and in any position.

Cons of Time-Delay Brake Controllers:

  • Wear: Uneven pressure between tow and trailer means higher wear on brakes over time.
  • Feel: Improper settings for initial brake pressure could create ‘jerking’ between tow and trailer.
  • Brake Pulse: As soon as hazard lights are on, trailer brakes can ‘pulse’ on and off potentially damaging brake magnets over an extended period.


PROPORTIONAL:                vs                  TIME-DELAYED:
Smooth braking                                          Same braking power, no matter conditions
Designed for all load types                         For lighter, occasional towing
More expensive                                          Less expensive
Less wear on brakes over time                  More wear on brakes over time
Best on all road conditions                         Not recommended for steep hills or valleys
Even braking, between tow and trailer       Tow vehicle carries most of load in braking

All brakes controllers have their advantages and what type and features in a brake controller you'll need is typically determined by what you are towing and how often. Feel free to contact us at 1-800-358-4751 or 989-755-0561 if you have any questions about which trailer brake controller is the correct fit for your towing setup.

Toyota Tacoma Leaf Spring Recall

Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing has issued a recall on Toyota Tacoma pickups. The recall covers Tacoma 4x4 and Pre-Runner pickups from the 2005 through 2011 model years. The recall affects over 600,000 trucks manufactured from September 14, 2009, to October 11, 2010. On these trucks one of the leaf springs may break (either from stress or corrosion) and as a result the fuel tank may be punctured causing a fuel leak. Toyota has not yet released a remedy for this recall but it is expected to begin recalling vehicles at the end of November 2014.

Owners will be notified by mail and Toyota says dealers will fix the problem at no cost. If you have any questions about the Toyota leaf spring recall you can call Toyota at (800) 331-4331.

Firestone Ride-Rite Kits Now in Stock for 2014 Ram 2500's

New Product Announcement - Firestone Ride-Rite Air Spring Kit 2580
Owners of 2014 Ram 2500's! If the rear coil springs on your new 2014 RAM 2500 are sagging under the loads you are carrying, we now have the answer. The Firestone Ride-Rite air spring kit 2580 kit is designed to provided extra support for the new Dodge RAM 2500 pick ups. This is a no drill air spring kit that uses the existing holes in your frame for easy installation. The kit was designed to position the air spring between the coil spring and tire for maximum stability. It has a 5,000 lb. capacity and can drastically improve the ride height and stability when carrying heavy loads in your 2014 RAM 2500.
The Firestone Ride-Rite 2580 kits include:
  • 2 Firestone 6873 Air Springs
  • Brackets
  • Hardware
  • Air line
  • Separate inflation valves for manual inflation
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
Ride-Rite kits can be paired with an on-board compressor system at the time of installation or at a later date for added convenience.

Order online at or call us today with any questions at 1-800-358-4751.

Rock Ride Air Spring Kits

New Product Announcement - Rock Ride Air Spring Kits


ROCK RIDE  air spring kits are now available at! ROCK RIDE air springs are made by MEKLAS, a company based in Turkey, which employees over 250 people. They have been manufacturing high quality air springs and air bags since 1986. ROCK RIDE has kits available in three popular applications:

  • 2250 - Chevy / GMC 2500HD, 3500, and 3500HD (2001-2010) (4x2 or 4x4)

  • 2299 - Dodge / RAM 2500 and 3500 (2003-2013) (4x2 or 4x4), RAM 1500 MEGA CAB (2006-2008)

rock ride air spring kit

Rock Rite Air Spring Kit Benefits:

  • 5,000 Leveling Capacity
  • Easy To Install
  • Economical Air Spring Kits
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Same Specs as Firestone Air Spring Kits

All Rock Rite air spring kits are rated at a 5,000 lb. capacity and they include heavy duty brackets and all of the hardware necessary for installation. They can be inflated in the same way you inflate a tire and ROCK RIDE kits are compatible with Air Lift and Firestone compressor systems. All ROCK RIDE products carry a limited lifetime warranty. Order online today at or call us with any questions at 1-800-358-4751.

Reese 30156 Rail Kit for Ford Pickups with factory tow packages

Do you have a Ford pickup truck with a factory hitch prep package and want to use a 5th wheel hitch other than the Reese Elite series? Does your pickup truck have Reese Elite series rails installed and you want to use a 5th wheel hitch other than the Reese Elite series?

Ford pickup trucks with the 5th wheel hitch prep pack have "pucks" installed that only allow the use of Reese Elite series 5th wheel hitches, until now. The Reese 30156 mounting adapter kit is designed to work with newer model Ford pickups with the factory installed 5th-Wheel or Gooseneck tow prep package or trucks with the
Reese® Elite™ under-bed rail kits already installed.


The rail kit is rated for up to 20,000 lbs. gross weight and is designed to not touch or scratch the bed. It will allow you to use your existing 15k, 16k, or 20k standard 5th-wheel hitch in your pickup truck.




Reese 30156 Features:

  • Black powder coat finish

  • Use with Ford OEM under-bed rail kit or Reese® Elite™ under-bed rail kits

  • Will not touch or scratch the truck bed

  • Uses the fast and secure Reese® patented latching system

  • Limited lifetime warranty

  • Reese 30156 Instructions

Get this easy to install kit from today or call 1-800-358-4751 and put your existing 5th-wheel to use in your pickup truck!

T-One Trailer Connectors - Take the work out of trailer wiring

Need to set up your new vehicle or an older vehicle that doesn't have trailer wiring?

Spring is finally here and Summer is quickly approaching. Now is the perfect time to take a look at the trailer electrical connectors on your tow vehicle and your trailers.

Tow Ready T-One connector harnesses are a quick and easy way to get your vehicle ready to tow. You can have your vehicle wiring ready to tow in 3 easy steps. With Tow Ready T-One trailer wiring harnesses you do not have to cut your existing wiring. No cutting or splicing of wires will minimize areas where corrosion can occur and it makes trailer wiring installation quick, affordable and easy. Many of the units now come with circuit protection which will protect your vehicle from electrical faults that may be in the trailer wiring.

how to wire a trailer - step 1STEP 1:

Locate your existing wiring harness. T-One connectors are vehicle specific and the instructions will show you where your existing harness can be found.





how to wire a trailer - step 2STEP 2:

Unplug your harness.






how to wire trailer - step 3


 Plug In the Tow Ready T-One Connector





how to wire trailer - step 4



That's it! You're ready to tow!




If you are having problems with your existing trailer connections on either your tow vehicle or your trailer and the ends of the connectors are missing caps and starting to corrode or looking just plain worn out it may be time to replace them. At we carry a full assortment of trailer side and vehicle side connectors, adapters, and testers. Call us today and we can help you find the trailer wiring product that is right for you!