Properly maintaining trailer lights

Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
333
Location
VA
What's the trick to having reliable trailer lights? It always seems like I have to chase down a ground or something when I hook up a trailer. Is there anything to treat connections with to be more reliable? All of my trailers' lights are grounded through the bolt/mounting stud of the light. Should I ground each light with a separate wire?
 
Joined
May 5, 2013
Messages
783
Location
Peace valley, Missouri
When grounding lights most don't run a separate ground wire just ground with a mounting screw to frame. Rust or corrosion builds up between screw, frame and crimp on terminal to mounting screw. Other problem people have a tendency to pull wire very tight instead of a little loose for trailer frame flexing.
 
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
954
Location
Michigan
I always use tooth washers (prefer stainless) under the ring terminal with a good shot of dielectric or fluid film under and on top of the connection.
Wiring on most trailers is sketchy from the start.
 
Joined
Aug 25, 2022
Messages
186
Location
West Central Indiana
Clean ground connections are key.
I, personally use anti-oxidant compound to keep the ground connections (All of them, each individual light, trailer plug wire- white one, I think.., towing vehicle ground connection, etc.) from corroding and it works for me.
Others on here use a dielectric grease for the same reason and they swear by it- Your choice.
I use a very light coating of dielectric grease in the actual electrical connector. I periodically clean it out with a brake cleaner and re-apply because dirt/dust sticks to the grease.
 
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Joined
Jul 16, 2005
Messages
584
Location
Montague, NJ
My '00 snowmobile trailer came from the factory with individual ground wires to all the lights. No issues with grounding to the frame which always seem to be the biggest issue. No issues since upgrading all the lights to LED either. That's a trailer that gets tons of salt exposure also. Steel axle mounting pads rotted away, galvanized axle in it now also but lights always have been great. All the plug-in type lights sockets got packed with dielectric grease.
With 5 trailers to maintain I want to just ''plug and play''.
 
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
954
Location
Michigan
One of the tried and true telltales of a bad ground is to turn on the 4 way flashers or a turn signal and watch for the lights to pulse when they arent supposed to.
 
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