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Old 11-17-2021, 08:18 AM   #1
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Testing Brake Lights

Iím sure thereís a really obvious answer - but how do you check your brake lights when solo camping?

I always make sure my running lights are on as part of my pre-trip inspection and that my directionals are working. But when Iím traveling solo - I canít figure out how to test my brake lights!
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Old 11-17-2021, 08:27 AM   #2
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You should be able to see the brake light reflection of your tow vehicle on the front of your trailer in your rear view mirror especially in low light conditions. If your tow vehicle stop lights are working then confirm the trailer.

The emergency flasher lights use the same wiring in your trailer as the brake lights in almost all cases. If the tow vehicle brake lights are working and the emergency flashers are working on the trailer then you can have high confidence that the brake lights on the trailer work.
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Old 11-17-2021, 10:42 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeloduster View Post
You should be able to see the brake light reflection of your tow vehicle on the front of your trailer in your rear view mirror especially in low light conditions. If your tow vehicle stop lights are working then confirm the trailer.

The emergency flasher lights use the same wiring in your trailer as the brake lights in almost all cases. If the tow vehicle brake lights are working and the emergency flashers are working on the trailer then you can have high confidence that the brake lights on the trailer work.
Thank you! Iíve always assumed if my tow vehicle brake lights are working and all other lights are working on my TT then the brake lights will be working on the TT as well. But assumptions can get one into trouble. Iíll add checking hazard lights working on my TT as one more layer of confidence.

Thanks again!
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Old 11-17-2021, 10:49 AM   #4
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Just a thought, that I recently thought... You could use your smartphone video camera and set the phone camera pointing at the tail lights, start recording, go inside the RV and do the turn signals, brake lights, reverse lights, and tail lights. Then stop the video and bring the camera phone back inside and sit down and watch the video. ~CA
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Old 11-17-2021, 10:56 AM   #5
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They sell prop rods specifically for this. Truck drivers use them to do a walk around to make sure that the brake lights work. In some jurisdictions the troopers will ask to see the prop rod during a roadside inspection on a commercial vehicle, as the prop rod is necessary for a proper pre-trip inspection.

You could likely make your own prop rod to shove between the front of the seat and the brake pedal, or find one in the proper size on Amazon.

Just one example: https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-21520-T...7168135&sr=8-1
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Old 11-17-2021, 11:05 AM   #6
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Do it at night. You should be able to see them light up in the dark looking in the side mirrors.
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Old 11-17-2021, 11:19 AM   #7
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All of my trailers used the same bulb for signals as brake lights, so I just put on my 4 way flashers and do a walk around.

Kick tires, check hitch and safety chains, look at the lights, get in and go
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Old 11-17-2021, 12:29 PM   #8
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some of these solutions only work when you don't have separate fuses in the tow vehicle for the trailer stop, tail and left/right signals.
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Old 11-17-2021, 01:02 PM   #9
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Another way to check the lights at the rear of your trailer is to ask someone to help. Even traveling solo there are other people around as you shop for groceries, get fuel, etc. Don't be shy about asking for a safety check if needed.
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Old 11-17-2021, 07:38 PM   #10
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DIY... from Boyz On A Budget

Piece of wood (cover ends with a towel) b/t the seat and pedal (or anything that will depress the brake pedal, ) usually about 15" from the seat to the pedal (your distance may vary)
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Old 11-17-2021, 08:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
They sell prop rods specifically for this. Truck drivers use them to do a walk around to make sure that the brake lights work. In some jurisdictions the troopers will ask to see the prop rod during a roadside inspection on a commercial vehicle, as the prop rod is necessary for a proper pre-trip inspection.

You could likely make your own prop rod to shove between the front of the seat and the brake pedal, or find one in the proper size on Amazon.

Just one example: https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-21520-T...7168135&sr=8-1
I drove big truck for nearly 30 years locally, owner operator and private fleet. This is the first I've heard of someone carrying a prop rod for this. When pretripping I would just fully engage the trailer brakes(there is a detent at full engagement that holds the brakes on without holding on to it) to light up the brake lights. I have been through several DOT level one inspections in several states and BC in Canada. No one ever asked to see a prop rod.
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Old 11-17-2021, 08:06 PM   #12
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Many of the new trucks have a smart connector. My 2015 F150 will let me know if one of the lights is not working. I would guess that the other major truck manufactures would have a similar hitch. Safe Travels
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Old 11-17-2021, 08:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravelSolo View Post
some of these solutions only work when you don't have separate fuses in the tow vehicle for the trailer stop, tail and left/right signals.
With a name like TravelSolo you must face this situation regularly. How do you test your brake lights?

Thanks to those who replied. Iím going to experiment with your suggestions and if Iím not satisfied I appreciate the Amazon link. The rock I tried didnít quite do the job. ;-)
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Old 11-17-2021, 08:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
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With a name like TravelSolo you must face this situation regularly. How do you test your brake lights?



Thanks to those who replied. Iím going to experiment with your suggestions and if Iím not satisfied I appreciate the Amazon link. The rock I tried didnít quite do the job. ;-)
I look for reflections usually. I'm the darker hours I just look in the rear camera screen for the glow
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