Trailer light converter

A Trailer light converter is an electrical component used for connecting the wiring of a trailer onto a towing vehicle. It is sometimes necessary because of the legal requirement for trailer lighting. Furthermore, from a technical perspective, it is used for wiring the two vehicles together to power and synchronize their lighting systems. A trailer light converter assists in adapting the differences in voltage and the number of wires.

Most basic trailers in Canada and USA usually have only one light (with one wire) on each side that functions as both a turn signal and a brake light (though sometimes there is a separate yellow and red light for signal and brake lighting). The brake signal from the towing vehicle usually needs to be received by the converter and then sent to both the left and right trailer lights.


Trailer light converters generally follow a 4 wire electrical color scheme. (See Table 1)

Table 1: Electrical Wiring Color Scheme
  • Green - Right turn
  • Yellow - Left turn
  • Brown - Running Lights
  • White - Ground (Vehicle Structure)

The Towpower Trailer light converter, as portrayed on the right, follows a five colored wire electrical scheme.[1][2]

Table 2: Electrical Wiring Color Scheme
  • Green - Right turn
  • Red - Brake
  • Yellow - Left turn
  • Brown - Tail light
  • White - Ground (Vehicle Structure)

Towpower is manufactured by Reese and hold various patents for trailer light converters. The other end of this device uses a 4-Way flat wire connection.[1]

Trailer light wiring options

Depending on the towing equipment of a vehicle, there are possible installation variants:

  • Some newer vehicles come equipped with the tow-ready package from the factory. Such setup means, that the vehicle will have the factory connection for the trailer harness in the rear bumper. For that setup it is enough to attach the vehicle to the trailer with the right connector.
  • If the newer vehicle is not equipped with the trailer package for the factory, the owner will have to install the vehicle-specific T-connector first. This connector is the direct vehicle-to-trailer harness, that will supply the trailer with the power. In such setup, the 4-way harness will have to be routed to the rear end of the vehicle.
  • The older vehicles usually do not feature the pre-installed trailer connectors from the factory. Such vehicles require a universal wiring kit to connect the trailer to the vehicle. Usually, installation of such a connector takes around an hour.

See also


  1. Trailer Light Converter. USA: Cequent Consumer Products Inc.,(Promotional information with product packaging). See Image:Trailer wiring.JPG
    Note: The packaging of this device is by Cequent Consumer Products Inc. and states that the trailer light converter was assembled in Mexico. Furthermore the package provides, in English, French and Spanish, clear and "easy to install" instructions for mounting and insulated butt connector.
  2. Government of Canada, Industry Canada, Canadian Intellectual Property Office, Information Branch. CIPO - Canadian Trade-marks Database. Patent Application # 0776295 & registration # TMA464317. Industry Canada. 2005-03-23 (Last updated 2008-07-29). Canadian Intellectual Property Office. Accessed 2008-08-04.
    Note: The item is labeled on one side, in bold letters, with the registered trademark of "REESE". The other side of the device it labeled with P/N 74729, and "PAT.DES.4 11.829".(See also U.S. Patent D411,829)

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