Can I Mix LED Lights With Regular Lights on a Trailer? 

 

It’s trailer season! Many of us have a tough-as-nails, reliable older trailer that we have fondly kept up with new parts,  including lights, when needed. But it’s getting harder to find the old incandescent bulbs, so can you mix LEDs with standard lights? We have the correct answer for you.

 

“Please check your trailer cables, wires, turn indicators, and lights to ensure they are hooked up properly; it can mean the difference between safety on a roadway or accidents and injuries.” 

 

 

Do you remember years ago when you switched all your incandescents in your home to LEDs?

And do you recall the first winter when you couldn’t figure out why you had to turn up the heat because suddenly the room was colder? 

Incandescent bulbs draw so much amperage that they throw out their own heat; up to 90% of their energy is emitted as heat. Baby’s incubators and animal pens use bulbs for these reasons. 

A 100-watt bulb’s filament reaches temperatures of 4600℉ that can heat the glass body of the bulb to 150 – 250℉. Incandescent bulbs heat up a room, in fact, a 40-watt bulb will heat a room by one degree every hour

Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) will not make a room even remotely warm, but conversely, using LED bulbs saves cooling/air conditioning costs during the summer.

 

LEDs have other benefits, especially for your trailer.  

 

  • A light emitting diode is the “size of a fleck of pepper” and emits light in many colours. A trailer light assembly may have multiple diodes, which can be a lifesaver if one of the diodes fails.
  • LEDs send light in a specific direction that can benefit certain applications inside and outside your trailer.
  • LEDs do last longer; three to five years should be expected. Plus, because your trailer may be used sporadically, that number could translate to a decade or more.
  • As previously mentioned, LEDs throw off no heat and may be safer, reducing the possibility of combustion and burnt fingers if you need to change a light immediately.
  • Regular bulbs lose their intensity before burning out. If consistent lighting matters to you, LEDs have the benefit of having the same intensity throughout their life.

 

Please see the Canadian Government page for more details concerning highway requirements for trailer lighting, reflectors, turn signals, and side markers legally required on all trailers.

 

Positioning of required trailer lights1        Positioning of required trailer lights1

 

 

You can have a mix of regular and LED lights on your trailer without having any concerns whatsoever.

 

Your older trailer is wired for the high amperage draw of incandescent lights. An LED bulb uses those same wires; it simply uses less amperage because it is a more efficiently developed bulb, so there is zero concern for your trailer wiring to power two types of lights.. 

 

Switching to LEDs is good news if you want to add more lights to your older trailer. Is it time for new wiring or wiring accessories?

 

LED bulbs are less resistive / more efficient, meaning they use less amperage. You have more amperage energy if you want to add more or different lights.

Read more in our article, How to Measure The Proper Size Trailer Axle to Buy.

Check your fuse panel for the maximum amperage capacity and keep track of the number of amps of each LED bulb so you don’t exceed its capacity. (Checking your fuse to see if it requires replacement if your trailer lights go out is a great first step to determining why they may not be working.)

 

Need lights, reflectors, or new wiring? Visit our lighting page, or call us at (519) 451 1116; our friendly and knowledgeable staff are happy to help you.

How To Measure The Proper Size Trailer Axle to Buy 

Do you need a trailer axle replacement or an axle upgrade? Several measurements necessary to determine your current axle size are indicated in the diagrams below. For an axle upgrade, you’ll need essential capacity rate numbers. Keep reading or visit a trailer axle store in London, ON, for help.

 

A new set of replacement axles are perfect if you continue towing the same weight.

If you’re hoping to tow more weight and upgrade a trailer axle(s), you must consider many other aspects of the trailer including crucial capacity weight numbers. You’ll also need to beware of tire clearance, tire width, hub face distance, spring centres and overhang, ground clearance, and the towing capacity of your vehicle.

In the London, Ontario area, call or contact Standard Axle, your helpful axle and trailer parts supplier since 1991.

 

How to determine a spring axle replacement size: 

 

  • The diameter of your existing axle tube: Look to see if there is an axle tube measurement (for example, 1.75”, 2.17”, etc.) on the axle itself.
  • The hub face measurement: See our diagram below. (The wheel sits against the face of the hub assembly to which the bolts attach.)
  • The bolt pattern on the hubs: Take a photo of the configuration of the bolts.
  • The spring centre measurement: See our diagram below.
  • The axle’s weight capacity: The axle tube’s diameter will align with a respective weight capacity. See our Axle Capacity Diagram below.

Spring Axle Measuring Guide - StandardAxleSpring Drop-Axle Measurement Guide StandardAxle

Spring Axle Weight Capacity Numbers - StandardAxle

 

How to determine torsion axle replacement size:

 

  • The diameter of your existing axle tube: Look to see if there is an axle tube measurement (for example, 1.75”, 2.17”, 3.5”, etc.) on the axle itself.
  • The hub face measurement: See our diagram below. (The wheel sits against the face of the hub assembly to which the bolts attach.)
  • The bolt pattern on the hubs: Take a photo of the configuration of the bolts.
  • The outside of main rails measurement: See our diagram below.
  • The axle’s weight capacity: The axle tube’s diameter will align with a respective weight capacity. See our Axle Capacity Diagram below.

Torsion Axle Measurement Guide - StandardAxle

Torsion Axle Weight Capacity number Guide - Standard Axle

 

If you cannot find the weight capacity of your axle by these means, measure the bolt pattern on the hub, and know the size of the brakes and the bearing part numbers. Call us first for tips on measuring bolt patterns (519) 451 1116.

With this information, Standard Axle can determine the axle size of your existing trailer. See our happy customer reviews.

 

 

Is it hard to replace my trailer lights with LEDs?

It’s definitely time. Replacing your old high-amperage-drawing lights isn’t hard. And LEDs come with so many benefits that outweigh a slightly higher cost. Simply purchase a kit or individual LEDs that hopefully match the mounting style of your existing lights, and don’t worry if your preferred new LEDs require a couple of newly drilled holes.

 

How does an axle’s load capacity work with the type of axle?

Different types of axles, the number of axles on a trailer, and upgraded tires determine how your load will ride on gravel roads versus highways. Every axle has a load capacity, the amount of weight it can support. A trailer can only carry the smallest capacity-rate-number of its varied components: tires, axle, or tow vehicle (the transmission of your vehicle is the determining factor of the latter).

 

Should a trailer axle have a bend to it?

The short answer is yes; an axle must have an upward bend in the middle or on one side to deflect the weight of the load. Without the camber (bend) the axle would sag with weight putting increased wear on the inner tread of the tires. When a trailer is loaded, the weight pushes the axle straighter and makes the tires sit flat, keeping tire wear consistent across their width.

 

What trailer brakes are best?

Trailer brakes are necessary when the weight pushing your vehicle while towing downhill puts excessive pressure on your vehicle’s brakes. Electric trailer brakes are controlled by your vehicle’s brake pedal pressure, have excellent stopping power, are easy to install, and are long-lasting and relatively cost-effective. Hydraulic surge brakes are engaged by pressure at the front of the trailer tongue and therefore have a little lag time, are relatively easy to install, are long-lasting and handle water well. 

 

Are torsion axles better than spring axles?

Why is the decision between torsion and spring axles a layered one? Because each axle solves different needs, torsion axles provide a smoother ride thanks to a rubberized suspension system and how they mount to the frame, but parts cannot be repaired or replaced and over time rubber will decay. Spring axles are wholly affordable, support is spread more evenly, and parts are replaceable and fixable, but the ride is less smooth. Fill out our Axle Order Form or give us a call.

 

Replacing double trailer axles – can I change just one?

To equal the load wear, you should always replace spring axles’ leaf springs in pairs. Similarly, if you’re changing the entire axles or upgrading to higher-weight capacity, both should be replaced simultaneously. A trailer with two axles is called a tandem, dual, or double axle trailer and two torsion axles are always called twin axles.

 

How to prevent trailer bounce:

Trailer bounce can be caused by many things: stiff suspension, over-inflated tires, an improperly balanced load, tongue length and axle position, an empty trailer, or towing a load over the axle’s weight capacity. It can be prevented by: redistributing the load (60% goes toward the front), ensuring the tongue weight is less than 15% of the trailer weight, reducing tire pressure, checking suspension rating, or upgrading the axle. Always make sure the correct trailer tire is being used.

 

When is a trailer breakaway system needed?

According to the Provincial and Territorial Brake Regulations, “any Ontario trailer having a gross weight of 1,360 kilograms (3,000 lbs) needs to be equipped with brakes that are adequate to stop and hold the vehicle.” A breakaway system ensures that if a trailer detaches from the towing vehicle, a pin pulls out of the system, and the battery applies the electric brakes on the trailer, making it stop.

 

Are all trailer jacks the same size?

A trailer jack, also known as a hitch jack or tongue jack, has just one purpose; lifting and lowering a heavy trailer so its tongue’s coupler is at the correct height for your vehicle’s hitch. Trailer jacks are not all the same size, and choosing the right size trailer jack is crucial. The weight of the load you’ll typically tow must match the weight capacity of your axles; this number you’ll use to ensure your jack is the correct one for your trailer.

 

Why is my boat trailer bouncing?

Boat trailers usually have solid axles with leaf springs designed to provide the absorption of a boat’s awkward distribution of weight. When your trailer is empty, the springs jump a lot, making your trailer bounce. Your goal with a loaded trailer is to have minimal bounce for the safety of every vehicle on the road with you— improper tire balance or travelling faster than recommended trailer tire speed may create bounce on a weighted trailer. Tongue weight, meaning you may have too much or too little weight forward of the axle, may be caused by the boat’s motor being closer to the centre of the boat instead of at the back. Try moving gear etc., to balance the load. 

A winch strap from the bow to the winch stand or trailer frame can also help with trailer bounce. Standard Axle is happy to help you troubleshoot your weight/balance concerns. 

 

Can you upgrade axles on trailers?

Upgraded axles are a large part of Standard Axle’s business. Upgrades are beneficial and can provide a new life to an older trailer. Remember that the weight capacity of your trailer is dictated by the smallest capacity rate-number of three components: the tires, axle, or vehicle. Therefore you may need to increase the size and weight capacity of your trailer’s tires and get a more substantial tow vehicle if you decide to upgrade the axle(s). 

 

 

Standard Axle has been helping our enthusiastic community of trailer owners with repair parts and trailer accessories since 1991. 

 

Today, Wayne and his knowledgeable staff ship to you across Canada and the US. Give us a call with any questions you may have.