In 1971 J. Standard Baker Quoted " Drivers Towing Trailers Are Four (4) Times As Unsafe As Those In Cars Alone!
If a car doesn’t come with trailer wiring installed from the factory, aftermarket kits are available.
These converter boxes, no matter who makes them, are not life-time units. They develop a certain amount of heat from their internal electronics and, unless they are properly secured and wired in, they can suffer from the various vibrations and bumps that vehicles experience on a daily basis. For best results the converter box needs to be located in a well protected area inside the vehicle. Inside the hollow of the rear body where the tail-lamp mounts is a good site or inside the rear plastic interior panels if one is equipped with an access door.
The converter should not be in any direct contact with any material due to the risk of heat transfer or chafing. It should be mounted and allowed to hang by its wiring with a minimal amount of slack to prevent it from banging against panels. Any cut and splice wiring connection needs to be done with a proper solder joint protected by a waterproof shrink tube. Toss those blue clamp-and-splice connectors that come with the kit in the garbage as they will only lead to a world of electrical faults down the road.
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While tying or securing the vehicle trailer connector to the hitch is a convenient idea, it’s best to leave it loose so it can be stored in the trunk or cargo area when not in use. If you haven’t got a handy spot to stow it out of the way consider getting a self-adhesive Velcro loop kit to stick it to an out-of-the-way vertical cargo area interior panel. To avoid overloading the vehicle trailing wiring converter keep your trailer’s lighting and wiring system in top shape.
It’s not going overboard to take a few minutes at the beginning of every trailer season to remove every bulb and clean out any corrosion in the sockets. Also check to make sure the trailer lamp weather-seals are intact and doing their job. Check the wiring along the length of the trailer to repair any retaining connectors that may have come loose or broken over the last season.
These days, aside from pickups like the Ford F-150, the scope of vehicles that can tow is getting smaller and smaller.
Derek McNaughton, Driving
One of the most finicky aspects of installing a custom hitch is installing the nuts for the mounting bolts. These are inserted into often closed rear sub-frame rails and the kits come with thin steel wire kits to “fish” the nuts through remote openings and then move them into position to receive the bolt. Most hitches bolt to the sub-frame with only four or six bolts, so this usually isn’t a DIY deal-breaker for anyone with average mechanical capability.
It’s almost a prerequisite to have a helper to hold the hitch in place while the bolts are being installed. Choose someone with tolerant ears for the odd verbal outburst when a nut slides out of position or a wrench slips leading to some skinned knuckles. If your vehicle already has captive nuts welded into place by the factory (lucky you!) be careful threading the bolts in place as they’re often a fine thread variety and easy to cross-thread.
Also read: Beware of shoddy install jobs on aftermarket car accessories
Lighting up your trailer’s running, brake, and signal lamps is another thing altogether. If you have the option of buying a vehicle with a factory installed trailer wiring hook-up, go for it. It’s the best method for a long-lasting system that is fully compatible with your vehicle’s electrical system. The second best solution is a vehicle manufacturer supplied accessory kit. These will come as “plug and play” units requiring no cutting or splicing. For the small to mid-sized car market, about the only option is an aftermarket kit obtained from one of the aforementioned hitch companies or others.
The main problem with wiring a late-model vehicle to a trailer is the new differences in lighting systems. Many vehicles now come with low-voltage, computer controlled LED tail-lamps and/or lamps that use one bulb for both signal and brake. This type of auto can’t be wired directly to a trailer using incandescent bulbs powered by a 12-volt system. The answer is a small converter box in the vehicle trailer wiring kit that can convert the signal.
Are you driving a compact or mid-size vehicle and need to tow a small trailer for the summer road trip? You've got a few options
By Brian Turner
Originally published: 2 days ago
With every new model year of vehicles introduced, the number of those approved and equipped for trailer towing gets smaller and smaller. Almost no subcompact, compact, or midsize sedan on the market today has any towing capacity approved by its manufacturer. So what’s a new car owner to do if they want to equip their new ride to tow a small utility or recreation equipment trailer?
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Fortunately just about every aftermarket trailer manufacturer lists and sells custom-built, no-drilling required hitches for most drives on today’s roads. Companies such as Hidden Hitch, Reese, Curt, and Draw Tite have retailers from coast to coast to coast and professional installers can be found at every level of auto service facility. All kits come with mounting hardware and can make for a short and relatively easy DIY driveway project provided a backyard tech has some basic safety equipment such as rated jack-stands, wheel chocks, and a good jack.
Some vehicle models require trimming or cutting a piece out of the rear bumper cover. If you’re leasing your ride, this may run into expenses down the road as most leasing companies require the vehicle to be returned at the end of the contract term in original condition. Most hitch suppliers provide this information in their online catalog spec sheets and, if not, they all have consumer hotline numbers.
Need to tow a trailer? Follow these tips to get hitched
Everybody that installs an "Aftermarket" tow bar and they do it by themselves needs to be held liable and accountable for what happens when their trailer comes off and either kills somebody, injures or destroys property.