Friday, March 12, 2010

Safely Hauling Horses – Working Trailer Lights

A few weeks ago I went to a roping and noticed more than half of the horse trailers coming or going with non-working trailer lights. Ask yourself “how many times have I trailered someplace without checking the lights or, worse yet, knowing that the trailer lights didn’t work?”

This apparently is a common problem so you aren’t alone. I think half the time (or more) the problem isn’t with the lights or the wiring,….it’s with the plug connections. In the dusty dirty world of dirt roads and parking lots these connectors, be they 4 flat, or, 6 or 8 round get dirt and mud caked in them so that the necessary connection between trailer lights and the truck just don’t happen.

Another problem is oxidation of the metal connection ends. Sometimes a knife to scrap off the oxidation is all you need to make a good connection.  Some of these connectors are also made of “pot” metal and can get bent out of shape or compressed enough not to allow a good connection.
One of my solutions to this problem is to give the connectors and adaptors and good cleaning with a small toothbrush and alcohol, which evaporates quickly and does not effect your connections. Sometimes, I have ran very hot water in the sink and used the sprayer to flush out dirt and debris. But I do this when the wife is out shopping as it gives me time to clean up the mess.

Make sure you always place the protector on the truck connections as well. These are harder to clean since you can't dunk then in a cup of alcohol. Some WD-40 and a brush works okay. Best to keep the rubber protector on the 4 flat inserted, and the spring loaded cover on the 6 and 8 round connectors in place.

A can of D-Electric grease, available from an Auto-Parts Store is a good idea. A small dab of this electrical connection enhancing grease makes the connections surer. Keep an in-expensive can of this in your trailer.

When not in use store your connectors and adaptors in plastic bags or place plastic bags over the ends of the connectors and rubber band them or tie them shut. At worst it’ll make hooking up your trailer easier and les messy. At best, it’ll allow trailer lights to function and keep someone from running into the back of your horse trailer and hurting your horses.

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