boat trailer lightsTroubleshooting your boat trailer lights

Trailer lights giving you trouble? May is a wonderful time in Alaska. Spring chases winter up to the mountain peaks, rivers begin to rise as the long days melt the snow, and summer toys are pulled from their long hibernation. Getting gear ready is an exciting event. Each piece brings back memories from past adventures with anticipation of what will unfold this season. Old and broken items give way to retail therapy with the newest, latest and greatest gadget.

For those of us that require a trailer to move our toys to and fro, spring can mean a trip down the electrical rabbit hole. It seems that gremlins like to seek refuge in wiring during the winter and quite often during the summer between your last excursion and the one that you are about to leave on right now.

A groan and suppressed profanities usually follow the discovery of a missing break, turn signal, or running light. A little temper tantrum is acceptable as you know that your day has increased in complexity. Not all is lost, though; many problems are simple to fix and easy to diagnose especially with most of the answers right at your fingertips.

Follow this link for a great and easy breakdown of how to troubleshoot your trailer lights: Troubleshooting 4 and 5-Way Wiring Installations | Basically, this is all you really need; it even gives you a list of tools that will be required.

It can be frustrating when your wiring isn’t working, especially when you are not sure where to begin troubleshooting…Here are a few points that will help keep unwanted surprises to a minimum:

  • Always double check that your trailer lights are working as you park your trailer for the day/season.
  • When packing for an outing, hook up and check your trailer lights first. This will at least give you some extra time to plan ahead versus discovering you have no trailer lights once you are packed and ready to leave.
  • Follow the above link and assemble a tool kit with the recommended tools to eliminate unnecessary trips to an automotive store.

No matter how you look at it, dealing with trailer lights is a pain. But, if you take some time to familiarize yourself with wiring basics (follow the link), have the right tools (same link), and think about the bullet points above you will have less down time.


Nick Ohlrich is co-owner/guide of Alaska Drift Away Fishing. For more info check out their web site or call them at 907-529-8776.