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One area of focus for this year’s International Roadcheck, which takes place May 4-6, is vehicle lighting, as this category accounted for significant violations in 2020, according to Grote Industries.
“Implementing a schedule of thorough, pre-trip inspections will go a long way toward cutting down on violations of all kinds, including lighting,” said Alicia Jones, Grote Industries’ global market manager – trailer/body builder. “But often, it is the unseen dangers of corrosion and wiring damage that contribute most to lighting failure on the road. Once moisture enters a wire, a capillary effect draws it through the wire and eventually throughout the electrical system. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of lighting violations.”
To help reduce potential lighting violations, the following steps should be taken:
- Be sure to inspect all wiring and make sure all frayed wiring is spliced out and properly sealed. Discoloration and foreign material on damaged wiring is a telltale warning sign of corrosion. Copper corrodes into a powdery green or white substance, while iron-based components form brown or red rust as they deteriorate. Corroded or incorrectly spliced wires are poor conductors of electricity and as a result, lamps, especially ABS indicator lamps or stop/tail/lamps, will flicker or stop working altogether.
- All splices should be heat sealed with shrink splices; avoid taped splices in your wiring. When inspecting your wiring, be aware that built-up winter grime often hides splices that need attention.
- Any wires that hang down from their correct runs on the exterior of a trailer are prime candidates for wear or damage. Wiring needs to be bundled and securely fastened into its run using plastic tie wraps so that vibration or environmental factors cannot dislodge it.
- Although the use of drip loops to direct water away from connections is a good practice, check to see that drip loops are not in a place where unseen ice can build up. Bear in mind that in winter, drip loops no longer always deflect water as they do when the temperature is above freezing.
- Sealing out corrosion with dielectric grease is another great way to safeguard your system, and it can add years of life to your trailer when used correctly. Whenever a harness connection is opened, either harness-to-harness or harness-to-lamp, the old grease should be cleaned out and new grease should be applied. This ensures that the connection is always protected and prevents an excessive amount of dielectric grease from building up, which can prevent harnesses from closing properly.
- At the front of the trailer, battery and nose box connections need to be checked to make sure the required current is present. Terminals should be cleaned, tightened, and greased to protect the battery and the overall electrical system.