Since its inception in 1996, one of the more popular lines of supplemental brake systems for vehicles being towed behind motorhomes is the Brake Buddy by Hopkins Manufacturing Corp. For 2018, the company is introducing a new lightweight portable model in both the Classic and Vantage series.
Manufacturer’s representative Jeff Hostetler of Tom Manning & Associates said both models are lightweight and offer many new features yet at the same price points as before.
“Probably the biggest highlight would be the weight. It weighs eight pounds, so it’s very easy to store and to carry when you’re moving it in and out of the vehicle. The other feature that we’ve added that’s never been done before in a portable braking system is the addition of a 12-volt charge line,” Hostetler said. He added that another feature is the models offer a large carrying handle that, when used in the towed vehicle, presses up against the driver’s seat for leverage and stability.
In addition, the portable Brake Buddy models do not plug into the towed vehicle’s cigarette lighter, which Hostetler said did not provide enough power in some situations. “We now have a harness that runs directly to the battery, connecting under the dash,” he said. “You just run it through where other harnesses are going through the firewall. This will stay under the dash and then we just have an umbilical connection that comes from the dash to the unit. It’s called our ‘EZ Pull Connector’ where, instead of grabbing the wires to pull it apart, you grab the connector there so you’re not pulling the wires out of the terminals.”
The MSRP on the Classic model is $1,095 while the Vantage model retails for $1,495. The main difference between the two is the Vantage offers “a lot more bells and whistles,” Hostetler said. “For instance, the Vantage has a wireless controller that mounts in the motor coach, so not only can you monitor the braking and the towed vehicle, but you can also adjust the braking and the tow from the motorhome,” he explained.