How to Rewire a Trailer

Written by bob white
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How to Rewire a Trailer
Rewiring your trailer lights assures they work when you need them. (Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Trailer wiring has a tendency to fail just when you need it to work. This is because the wires are exposed daily to rain and sun which corrodes the connections. Proper maintenance of the trailer's electrical system can extend its life, but the trailer will eventually need rewiring. All trailers are required to have a basic system of brake, signal and marker lights to legally travel on public roads. These systems are important because they help you avoid an accident.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • 4-way trailer wiring kit
  • Cable ties
  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Scotch lock connectors
  • Wire strippers
  • Insulated butt connectors
  • Electrical tape
  • Pliers

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Remove the existing trailer wiring by cutting the wires 6 inches from each light and cutting the cable ties that secure the wires to the trailer.

  2. 2

    Fasten the new 4-way trailer harness to the trailer tongue with a cable tie. You need to leave enough wire so that the harness can reach the tow vehicle receiver, but not to much so that the wire drags on the road.

  3. 3

    Loosen the grounding screw on the trailer tongue with a screwdriver. Slide the white wire from the 4-way harness under this screw and tighten it down.

  4. 4

    Run the brown wire down one side of the trailer and connect it to the first marker light's power wire with a scotch lock connector. These work by placing one wire in each groove and closing the gate until it locks. Continue running the brown wire around the trailer, connecting it to every marker light in the same fashion.

  5. 5

    Run the green wire down the right side of the trailer and cut and strip the insulation off the end of the wire when it gets to the right turn signal. Connect the green wire to the power wire for the right turn signal with a butt connector. These work by placing one wire in either end and compressing with pliers.

  6. 6

    Run the yellow wire down the left side of the trailer and cut and strip the insulation off the end of the wire when it gets to the left turn signal. Connect the yellow wire to the power wire for the left turn signal with a butt connector.

  7. 7

    Wrap all of the connections in electrical tape and secure the loose wires with cable ties.

Tips and warnings

  • Test the trailer lights respond to the driver commands as expected before heading out on the road.

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