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How To Wire Your Car For Trailer Lights

With summer around the corner there will be a lot of people pulling those campers and trailers. Make sure you get those lights wired and working correctly.
» Part 1: Before You Start
» Doing The Wiring
  1. An exception to this wiring code is if your vehicle has a 5-wire system that incorporates an amber or separate turn signal light in the rear of your vehicle. In this case you will need to purchase a trailer light converter that adapts the trailer's 4-wire system to your vehicle's wire system. They are available at your nearest Auto Store and come with complete and detailed wiring instructions. Just ask an experienced sales person for assistance.


    Several types of wiring kits are available, from the basic economical kit with plug-ins and wire, to the deluxe kit that comes complete with chrome mounting brackets. Choose the kit that best fits your need and your pocketbook. The first step for wiring your vehicle for trailer lights is to locate the taillight wiring harness.

    Most tail light wiring is accessible from inside the trunk or near the rear bumper. Next, find a suitable spot to connect the quick connect harness to, and double check to make sure the harness is long enough to reach the connector on the trailer. If additional wire or connectors are needed, just ask, your nearest Auto Store should have what you need.


  2. Next, connect the clip end of the test light to a good, clean metal chassis ground. Next, turn the headlight switch to the headlamp/parking lamp "ON" position. With the test light, probe the wires (Figure 3) until the test light comes on and stays on. Connect the brown wire to that wire with a quick connector (usually supplied with the kit). Remember to turn off the headlights once connected.


    How To Wire Your Car For Trailer Lights


  3. Turn the ignition switch to the "ON" or "RUN" position and activate the right turn signal. Once again, probe the wires with the test light until the light flashes. This wire will be the right turn signal and right brake light wire. Connect the green wire to this wire. Turn off the ignition.


    How To Wire Your Car For Trailer Lights


  4. With the ignition switch still in the "RUN" position, activate the left turn signal. Once again, probe the wires with the test light until the light flashes. This wire will be the left turn signal and left brake light wire. Connect the yellow wire to this wire. Turn off the ignition.



  5. The last wire to connect is the white wire. Locate a good metal chassis ground and connect the white wire there using sheet metal screw, or attach it to an existing ground wire. Your installation is complete.


  6. Now hook the harness to the trailer connector and check all the lights for proper operation. If not all lights work at first, double check the quick connectors for proper connector or check the trailer light bulbs. You may want to tape all connections with electrical tape to help ensure trouble-free connections in the future. Place the wired trailer connector back in the trunk or secure underneath the car, clear from any exhaust pipes or road obstructions.


Remember to double check trailer lights every time you hook up to your trailer and recheck them about every 100 miles when towing. I would also suggest you install a heavy-duty turn signal flasher to carry the additional electrical load of the trailer lights.

» Part 1       » Part 2
Additional Information provided courtesy of and Warranty Direct
© 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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