Before heading off on your next memory making adventure it is important to give your Caravan electrics a thorough check.
Most seasoned road travellers understand the importance of well-maintained caravan electrical systems. For those who don’t know what to look out for, we have put together this caravan electrics checklist to keep you safe on the road.
Check for Build Up
First off you want to check for corrosion. Unless you are one of the lucky few, chances are your trailer spends a large portion of its life in storage. When left unused for extended periods, your trailer plug can be susceptible to corrosion and dirt build up. Before hooking anything up, give your trailer plug (and the tow vehicle’s plug) a good hit with WD-40 to clean out anything that might interfere with the connection. Once it’s clear of any debris, make sure there is a good connection by connecting and disconnecting the plug a few times.
While you are checking your plugs, be sure to check that the pins aren’t bent or pinched. If they are, carefully bend them back with a small flat head screwdriver. If your pins look rusted, have green copper corrosion or are bent beyond repair, you need to replace your plug. Trailer plugs are inexpensive and can be fitted quickly and easily if you know what you are doing. If you don’t, we suggest contacting a qualified auto electrician to fit one for you. No one wants a DIY disaster ruining your next holiday.
Any Wiring Damage
The second thing to check for is damaged wiring. It is very common to see trailer wiring faults caused by critters having a nibble on loose wires. Any type of damage to the wire harness can potentially lead to a short. Damaged wires can also be caused by rocks, sticks or debris hitting the underside of the trailer during travel. It is important to thoroughly check all wiring and replace any damaged wires.
The best way to protect your wiring from damage is to make sure wires run through high-quality conduit and are tightly secured. There should be no loose or hanging wires anywhere on your caravan. Make sure any joins in the wiring are also connected correctly and securely to avoid problems on the road.
Balance Your Brakes
The next check is the wiring of your electric brake controller. Properly balanced electric brakes are vital to your safety on the road. If the wiring of a brake controller is not correctly installed, this can lead to unbalanced braking. An unbalanced trailer will feel like it is twisting under braking or may have one side that gets hotter than the other.
For optimum electric brake performance, ensure the length of wire from the output wire to each magnet is equal. This configuration ensures the trailer brakes evenly as each wheel brakes with an even amount of power. Click here for more tips on Electric Brake Controllers.
Inspect the Earth
Checking the earth wire in your trailer plug is the next on the list. Standard trailer plugs are wired up to fit basic trailers, so if you fit a brake controller, the standard earth might not cut it. A bad earth may interfere with lights or other circuits when the brakes are applied. An upgrade to the earth cables should keep everything operating as intended.
Maintain your Connections
Safety on the road for your family and your vehicle is paramount which is why electrical wiring is so important. Secure connections and quality wiring are vital to ensure the safety of your caravan. Electric brake controllers are definitely not something you want to risk messing up with a dodgy DIY job. For peace of mind when it comes to the electrical safety of your trailer, get it checked over by a qualified auto electrician.
When these checks are done regularly, you will be able to quickly identify any problems with your caravan electrics. Prevention is the best option, but early detection could also save you from a potential disaster on the road. If you have discovered any damaged connections or some dodgy wiring its best to get things looked over by a professional.