Brake Controller Required?

Willam Bond

New Member
Sep 20, 2021
I have a 2020 Ford Ranger with the tow package with a seven and four pin connector. I'm looking at getting a Ranger 10 or 12 Aliner and wondering if I'll need a brake controller?


Super Active Member
Mar 8, 2017
If you get a trailer with brakes, you need a controller. Brakes make for a more pleasant drive and, once you get the controller installed, require very little thought to use.

I would be surprised if your truck doesn't have an easy port to plug in a controller. Check the manual.


Adventures with KODI in AZ
Jul 2, 2016
Definitely install a brake controller. You can feel the difference between having and not having one. It made towing our Classic easy with our Colorado and then the Titan.

Happy Camping…[put&hy]

Dave Fro

Sep 21, 2020
Not sure about where you are, but where I live, if the trailer has brakes, it is the law that you must use them, and to use them you need a brake controller and a 7 pin connection that is fully wired up properly to the TV.

Mary Bordeaux

Jan 25, 2020
Augusta, Georgia
Bad news, you need a controller. Good news, they're very inexpensive and easy to install. Our 2017 Chevy had a plug in, bet your Ford does too! Our mechanic was going to charge $50 to hardwire the $75 controller I found on Amazon, with the plug in he only charged $20.


Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 7, 2013
Anchorage, AK
If there is something that looks like this on your dash, you have a brake controller built in (should with the tow package):


If not, you need a brake controller. As others said, it's pretty much plugging in a plug and mounting a box to your dash. No harder than mounting a CB... oh man, I'm old.


New Member
Jun 28, 2021
I have a 2021 Ford Ranger with the 7500lb factory tow package. There are no factory installed brake controllers. Ford puts together a kit that includes the same model Redarc controller I've put in other vehicles. If you have the forward collision prevention system, you must use Ford's brake controller. This is because you can't use the brake pedal signal as most brake controllers do as that signal doesn't capture emergency automated braking. Only the Ford kit picks up the emergency braking through a specific input module and wiring harness they include. The install is easy, but time consuming as you have to tap into the 3rd brake light signal, at the point it located at.

I put this in myself, paid about $300 for the kit through a dealer that sponsors the ranger5g forum. I don't know the labor costs, but it will be higher than a standard install. You'll need a brake controller for towing anything over 1500lbs. Let me know if you need more info, I've done lots of mods to my ranger.
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New Member
Jun 28, 2021
More on this, I have this as my setup:

View media item 12610
An Echo Brake Controller may need to be affixed more securely than with the supplied strap.
In one of my trips, it disconnected due to vibration/bumping. I added a small bungee cord, it worked nicely!

I always wondered how well those devices do. For the 2019-2021 Ford Ranger with the forward collision detection system, this is not a Ford approved option as it will not be activated during emergency braking. Lot's of info on the forum on this if interested.


New Member
Jun 28, 2021
Oem tow pkg these days that doesn't include a controller?! So stupid!! Even my ford flex has an oem one

When I was shopping for our Ranger, here's what I found:
1. Ford Ranger - as described earlier in the thread, but another bit - there is no plug for a plug-n-play install, but there are the needed wiring is sitting capped under the dash.
2. Ford F150 - DOES have a plug under the dash for a plug-n-play install, and companies like Redarc sell the appropriate adapter to plug their own controllers into it.
3. Chevy Colorado/GMC Montana - Chevy/GMC have a factory option for a brake controller - the great thing about it is that it's controls and display are built into the various controls and displays on the dash.

We didn't look at the details for Toyotas or larger GM trucks. However, you can get a sense of this before you buy through looking at which vehicles Redarc offers their plug-n-play adapters for.

Overall, I definitely agree - any TRUCK manufacture that sells a "factory tow package" should include the brake controller. I can see not doing this in passenger cars where the tow receiver is basically a mount for a bike rack! :)


Living the Darkside...
Silver Supporting Member
Feb 6, 2007
Centerville, OH
If you are buying a controller, skip the time delay options and go for a proportional controller. You will be happier with the performance of the controller. It is worth the extra dollars spent.


New Member
Jun 28, 2021
Specifically, for the 2019+ Ford Ranger - the controller included in the kit is the Redarc Elite proportional controller, see the link below. This is my second vehicle for this controller and it works really well. You also have a function on the proportional dial to activate trailer brake manually, in case you need to correct any fish tailing of the trailer.

Link to the controller that is in the Ford kit: Tow Pro Electric Brake System | REDARC Electronics