How to Clean Corrosion From Trailer Light Connections

Written by kenneth crawford
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How to Clean Corrosion From Trailer Light Connections
(Andy Reynolds/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Trailer lights use a connector that installs into a plug on your vehicle to operate. When the connector is not in use, it is often susceptible to the elements. Moisture from rain and humidity causes the metal pins inside the connector to become rusty or corrode. When this happens, the connector does not make good contact and the lights may not work properly. Cleaning corrosion from trailer light connections removes the material preventing a good contact between the connector and plug. Electrical contact cleaners are available at auto supply stores.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Can of electrical contact cleaner
  • Soft bristle steel brush
  • Canned air

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  1. 1

    Disconnect the trailer light connector from the plug with your fingers.

  2. 2

    Insert the straw into the spray nozzle of the electrical contact cleaner. The straw is usually taped to the can.

  3. 3

    Spray the contact cleaner over the end of the connector and the plug outlet in a sweeping motion. Ensure that the cleaner gets onto the pins but do not fill the connector with cleaner. Allow the cleaner to set for five minutes.

  4. 4

    Brush the connector pins with a small, soft bristle steel brush. Apply firm pressure but not enough to bend the pins. Insert the bristles of the brush into the holes on the plug and twist back and forth to loosen and remove any rust.

  5. 5

    Remove the loose debris with canned air. Spray a few shots of air into the connector and the plug to blow out the loose debris.

Tips and warnings

  • Cover connectors with plastic when not in use to prevent moisture.
  • Apply dielectric grease with a cotton swab to the connector if the connectors often remain engaged with the plug.
  • Wear eye protection when working with canned air and spray lubricants to avoid injury from flying debris.

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