Posted by Tim on 10/31/2013 to Trailer Safety
Choosing the right trailer lights for a personal trailer depends as much on the trailer as the state one is going to be driving in. A number of different kits are available, but that doesn’t mean every one of them is the right one for a specific trailer. Size, state laws, use, and location all influence what makes the right set of trailer lights for the situation.
The first big issue is whether a driver’s trailer is more or less than 80 inches wide. Any trailer that is over 80 inches wide from side to side and made after 1969 is often required in most states to have a lighting system on the back so drivers behind can understand if the trailer driver is stopping, slowing down or turning (http://drivinglaws.aaa.com/laws/trailer-lighting/). This trailer light kit needs to be a lamp-style system and not a simple signal illumination. Many states also dictate a certain number of lamps need to be installed as well, depending on the size of the trailer. Not having the right number can often get a person a fix-it ticket enroute.
Even trailers that are under 80 inches or as small as under 30 inches wide still need to have at least a one-lamp kit installed on the rear of the trailer in a number of states.
Type of Lamp
The market is now seeing a proliferation of LED-style trailer light kits. These are slightly more expensive than traditional bulb light kits, but they last far longer without replacement. Most stakes recognize and allow LED-style lamps as long as the illumination meets basic lighting standards, especially when driving at night or in dark or foggy conditions.
Don’t Forget the Wiring Kit
Trailer lights won’t work very well without the correct wiring kit, no matter if the kit is the right one for a given trailer. This hook up and electrical connection component is essential to hook up the lighting system as well as the signals to the vehicle actually towing the trailer. If the wiring kit isn’t present, then the lights won’t work, even if installed on the trailer.
Most trailer light kits can be obtained at a local auto parts store that carries a good inventory of spare auto parts. Such stores can often be found in any medium-sized town, usually near auto repair services. However, a driver should still check his local state requirements as there is a lot of variation from location to location in terms of lighting rules.
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