LED Trailer Lights
June 29, 2023
Most trailers have incandescent lighting, but more and more trailer owners are upgrading or switching to LED trailer lights.
Trailer owners who want to cut back on energy costs and save money choose LED trailer lights over conventional lighting.
Are LED trailer lights better? Can you replace your trailer lights with LEDs? How do you run LED lights on a trailer?
This article gives an overview of LED trailer lights. It also lists down different kinds of LED trailer lights and if you can replace them with LED.
Trailers travel on the road for hours every day. Upgrading your camper with a waterproof junction box and heavy-duty wiring LED trailer lights can benefit your trip. You don’t have to worry about replacing your trailer parts from time to time if you choose sturdy components.
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Are LED Trailer Lights Better?
LED (light emitting diode) lights have been gaining popularity for several years now. The demand for LED lights in automotive lighting is projected to go from $1.4 billion in 2020 to $3.9 billion in 2024.
Why are LEDs popular among cars, trucks, and trailers in particular? Because LED lighting offers several advantages over standard trailer lights
Installing towing lights is a good option if you travel at night. LED lights allow better visibility over other incandescent lights because LED light bulbs are brighter and whiter.
You can also save on energy consumption because LED lights are 80% more efficient than incandescent lighting. These lights also produce more light with less energy than incandescent alternatives.
Another advantage of LEDs is that they can last longer than incandescent bulbs, saving you tons of time and money in replacing them. Switching to long-lasting LED lights instead of incandescent lights is better for the environment.
LED lights are also a safer alternative for your trailer lights because they’re much cooler than conventional incandescent lights.
LED light bulbs don’t get hot as incandescent lights. This feature lowers the risk of combustion or burning your fingers when replacing LED lights.
How Do You Run LED Lights on a Trailer?
You don’t need specialized tools to run led lights on your trailer.
Whether you’re installing new led lights or replacing old ones, here are the steps in wiring LED lights on your trailer using a standard tail light kit available in most stores.
If you are replacing your old trailer lights, remove the old lights first. Disconnect the wires behind the connection and unscrew the trailer lights. You can skip this step if you’re installing the lights for the first time.
The next step is to connect the trailer to the towing vehicle. Take out the LED lights from the LED trailer light kit and attach the one that has the number plate light. Then you should mount the light to the right side of the trailer.
Make sure to slide the bolts and screws through and make sure that the lights are even and away from the center.
Connect a wire on the light the same color as the trailer wiring. Apply enough pressure to the housing to secure the connection with the ground wire. But don’t push too much that it’ll damage the plastic housing. Do the same for the second light.
Take the trailer plug and secure it on your towing vehicle’s socket. Ask someone to check if the signal lights are working one at a time. Check if all the lights are working, like the turn, reverse, and brake lights.
If everything is working well, slide the heat shrink over the joins. Use a heat gun to seal the joins. If you don’t have heat shrink, you can use electrical tape to keep the moisture and dirt out.
There are different towing laws and rules from state to state, including weight and size restrictions. But one common requirement in all states is that your trailer must be wired to the vehicle.
Can You Replace Trailer Lights With LEDs?
More people are changing their incandescent trailer lights with LED lighting as LEDs are safer, cheaper, and brighter.
You can replace your trailer’s lights with LEDs, which is easier than most people think. You can change these lights by buying a kit or each light individually, following the DOT’s (Department of Transportation) lighting standards.
You can pick a similar mounting style as your old trailer lights. You can also change to a new style for your LED lights, which might need extra cuttings and drillings.
Do You Need a Load Resistor for LED Trailer Lights?
Not all automotive light systems work the same way when using LED work lights. Upgrading your RV’s lights to LEDs may result in fast-flashing indicators or electrical issues like dashboard errors or cruise control malfunctions.
To avoid problems with your LEDs, you should install load resistors. These resistors are designed to solve issues resulting from standard incandescent to LED replacement.
Trailer Wiring and Cables
Using the proper wiring and cables for your trailers is important to make sure that your trailer lights, brakes, batteries, and turn signals are working properly.
Choosing the proper wiring and connectors also benefits your trailer functions, like the entertainment system, interior lighting, and refrigeration.
Trailer cable supplies power to a trailer’s turn signals, taillights, and brake lights. These cables are mostly used for towing heavy equipment and vehicles, like trailers and camper vans.
There are many configurations for trailer cable, like variations in the number of conductors, wire gauge, and insulation type.
Your trailer’s wiring system is made up of four colored wires called four-way wiring. The four-way wiring system is pretty standard for campers and boat trailers as they’re suitable for these vehicles.
Each wire in the four-way wiring system has a specific function.
The brown wire is for the trailer’s tail or parking lights, and the green wire is for the right turn sign and brake light. Meanwhile, the yellow wire is for the left turn signal and brake light. Finally, the white wire is for common or chassis ground.
Trailer Light Testers
Exposure to different weather conditions, atmospheres, and terrains may cause your trailer lights to malfunction.
Fixing electrical wiring issues can be challenging, especially when you’re joining two sizable objects, like a trailer and a tow vehicle.
The most common sign that something is wrong in your trailer is if the brake lights or turn signals aren’t lighting up.
If your tow vehicle’s wiring is accessible, you might even be able to test it with a simple bulb test.
Check for burned-out bulbs or connect the trailer lights directly to the tow vehicle without using the tow wiring system. If none of these tests work, then you might need a wiring tester.
Some wiring problems are harder to detect, and you need light testers to check for specific problems. Wiring testers give you a more accurate inspection of your trailer or tow vehicle’s wiring system.
To know the voltage coming from your tow truck, you could also use a multimeter.
Trailer Light Adapters
A camper or trailer usually comes with wires and built-in connectors. Some RV owners choose to add trailer brakes to trailers after purchasing them. Trailer wires and connectors naturally wear and tear.
With different sizes and shapes, it’s important to know the basics of trailer light adapters when picking them.
Wiring trailer for adapters connects the electrical system of your car to the trailer, letting other drivers see your lights even when the trailer is blocking the back of your car.
Trailer wiring adapters may be single or multifunction. Wiring adapters connect the vehicle’s wiring system attaching wiring harnesses, brake collectors, and computers to manage the vehicle’s controls and lights.
The shapes of trailer plugs and sockets vary. Common types of connectors are flat, round, and RV blades.
Flat connectors are used for towing smaller loads and have a lower number of pins. Flat connector pins are arranged in a single row.
Round and RV blades are used for heavier loads with extra required functions. These connectors are arranged in a circle, and there’s one pin in the middle for a six-pin round or RV blade connector.
Identification Light Bar
You should get an identification light bar if you think you’ll be in situations where you’ll need more light, like when driving at night.
Identification light bars are the three marker lamps mounted at the camper’s or truck’s top rear, equipped at the vehicle’s center line.
These lights alert following drivers that the vehicle in front of them is wider than 80 inches.
Light bars are more effective in illuminating an area than other types of auto lighting because of their brightness and dispersion of light.
If you’re a camper, off-roader, or trail trekker, you probably love to drive out of the middle of nowhere to live a low profile. A light bar can provide you with backup light so you can see in the darkness of the night.
There are two classes of legal requirements for trailer lights. Trailers are classified based on their width.
Taillights, stoplights, turn lights, side marker lights, and side and rear reflectors are all required for trailers that are shorter than 80 inches wide. A license plate light, extra side marker lights, and side reflectors are also mandatory.
Additional lights are needed for trailers over 80 inches wide to help indicate the trailer’s perimeter.
Three red identification lights are needed at the trailer’s rear. Identification lights are usually sold with the lights mounted at the required spacing in a single bar.
Clearance lights are required on each side of the trailer to alert other drivers of your trailer’s width. Clearance lights are placed as far out as possible or near the fenders.
Front clearance lamps are placed facing forward symmetrically at the widest points of your trailer to show the width of your vehicle.
If you have a boat trailer, it’s best to get waterproof or submersible trailer lights. Submersible tail lights can protect your vehicle’s internal circles from the rain.
Stud mount trailer accessories are a thing of the past. More trailer owners are shifting to surface-mount grommet tail lights for their boat trailer lights.
Instead of fastening to the trailer with bolts, surface-mount lights slide into a rubber grommet connected by a lip that encircles a hole.
Combination tail lights include tail lights, direction indicators, fog lights, brake lights, and reverse lights. Combination tail lights or rear combination lamps can also be used for other functions, like number plate lamps.
Side marker lamps indicate the entire length of the vehicle. Photometric specifications guarantee that the side marker lamps are properly visible from different angles.
LED side marker lamps are a piece of affordable safety equipment to warn other drivers of the presence and movement of big trucks and trailers.
Round red LED side markers and oval tail lights are also common trailer accessories.
License Plate Lights
Your car needs lights because they serve many purposes for both the car’s safety and your own. But not many people pay attention to how light illuminates the license plate.
Tag lights, also called license plate lights, make it possible for other cars to see your license plate at night.
If your car’s tag lights go out, you should fix them as soon as possible to avoid getting pulled over.
If the lights need to be replaced, see if there are any screws outside that you can remove quickly. If not, you should take some of the liners out of your trunk to get to the bulbs.
Working to Keep You on the Road
LED trailer lights are cost-effective and energy-efficient options for your trailer lights.
Save time, money, and effort by upgrading your trailer with heavy-duty wiring, a waterproof junction box, and tough and long-lasting LED trailer tail lights.