12 Steps to Replace Your Trailer Lighting

A car trailer is a relatively simple device and, in the ordinary course of business, can be expected to last a long time. If you look after the wheel bearings and rudimentary suspension, you just need to make sure that you clean off any corrosive saltwater when you return from your boating trip. However, you will need to pay a little more attention to your trailer lighting system if you are to remain as safe as possible when going back and forth to the lake. If it's been some time since you performed any maintenance and have been noticing some issues, maybe it's time for you to consider a full replacement. Where should you start and how difficult is this?

12-Step Guide

Your lighting system is basically composed of two separate areas: the lights themselves and the wiring loom.

  1. Begin by removing the old lights from the rear after you have disconnected the wires that run into the back of the frame.
  2. Once you've done this, cut the cable ties that run along the chassis rails so you can pull the wiring loom away from the trailer in preparation for the replacement.
  3. Make a careful note of the installation as you are taking it apart so that you replace everything correctly before you introduce any new cable ties.
  4. You will need some cable strippers to expose the end of each wire and will need to cut off any excess installation carefully without overdoing it so you are ready for assembly.
  5. Remember that when you fix a new lighting setup, you must always address legality. In addition to the lamps for visibility, brake lights and indicators, you must also illuminate the number plate on the correct side of the trailer.
  6. You should take advantage of existing holes within the chassis frame to do this, and it's a good idea for you to compare the equipment that you take off as you're buying its replacement.
  7. Some trailers have additional lights fitted on the side of each wheel protector, and you may have to wire these up separately as you go along.
  8. Remember, all the wires are colour-coded, and while these can vary from kit to kit, pay close attention to the diagram that you get with your new purchase.
  9. Don't forget to connect the earth return or nothing will work.
  10. Once everything is in place, it's a good idea to check for serviceability before you tie everything down. Attach the tow bar to the vehicle so you get sufficiently strong earth before you connect your wiring loom to the back of the car.
  11. Assuming that everything is working as it should, you can then tighten all the screws, bolts or nuts and apply the cable ties to the loom. Pay attention here and make sure that nothing hangs down in a vulnerable position.
  12. Apply some heat shrink to each joint so that it is sealed, and just to be safe, use electrical tape to repel any rainwater.

There you have it: a new lighting system and many months of carefree boating ahead!