How many LED lights can be out to consider a trailer light out-of-service?

How many LED lights can be out to consider a trailer light out-of-service?

Even one is too many for safety minded fleets who like to keep their trailers rolling productively.

The headline is a question that’s on a TMC taskforce docket, and one that Al Anderson, vice president of sales and marketing at Peterson Mfg. Co., has a keen interest in.

“We haven’t finished the recommended practice yet, but we’re trending towards some percentage of LEDs being out before it’s not legal anymore, which therefore [means] it’s not safe anymore,” he said, standing inside the Peterson Mfg. Co. show trailer at this year’s TMC show held in New Orleans. “Keeping trailer lights lit is vital to uptime because you’re not going to get a violation, you’re not going to get an infraction, you’re not going to be put out of service by CVSA. It is just very critical to keep everything illuminated like it should.”

He makes a good point: Worry about keeping all your LED lights on and not on how you keep up with the bare minimum safety requirement. Proper trailer equipment spec’ing and preventative maintenance makes that happen. Corrosion, often exacerbated by chemicals like magnesium chloride for example, is a primary concern for wiring harness systems. The shift towards modular wiring harness systems has strengthened maintenance strategies and beefed up the arsenal in the fight against corrosion’s impact on trailer lighting performance. Instead of replacing entire systems, modular systems offer the ability to address only damaged sections.

Today’s tried and true spec’ing and preventative maintenance practices are increasingly informed by connected trailer telematics solutions. Peterson Pulse, a CAN bus-based system, for example, supports various telematics devices and offers over-the-air updates. It can monitor a wide array of data points, from door status to internal temperature, crucial for fleets transporting sensitive goods. Advanced systems can even provide specific diagnostics, such as pinpointing which light or mechanical part may be failing, thereby streamlining maintenance tasks and enhancing operational readiness.

With the wealth of data available from advanced telematics systems, there’s the threat of being overwhelmed. It’s essential to focus on actionable data that directly addresses specific fleet problems, ensuring that the information gathered is effectively used to enhance operational efficiency and safety.

Watch the video above for Anderson’s insight on trailer lighting and telematics tips.


No script? No plan? No problem. Welcome to Fleet Equipment Unscripted—the video interview series that connects you with the greatest minds in the heavy-duty trucking world. Fleet Equipment Unscripted is sponsored by Hendrickson.

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