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LED Trailer Lights

Newer vehicles use more sophisticated electronics and controls to manage trailer lights.   These more complex systems don't always play nicely with LED Lights.   Before purchasing bike rack lights it's good to understand these scenarios.  
 

Newer model factory truck tow options send out a constant low voltage to the trailer plug circuits.  The computing system is looking for a change in resistance in order to activate/deactivate certain towing modes and safety features.   Each manufacturer manages these systems differently.   Some systems allow you to disable these features while others do not.   

 

This constant low voltage and some other features prevent the Kody light bar from "resetting" between flashes.  Not resetting results in the loss of the sequential turn signal and the whole light to only flash or blink.  It still communicates to traffic behind the vehicle but does not indicate direction.   

Some vehicles electrical systems will recognize the bike light is installed and think it's a trailer.  This can result in the cancelling of some driving features such as lane detection.  


LED trailer lights, especially this one rack light, consume a very small amperage or amp draw.  More sophisticated trailer systems will see this small amp draw as an error in the trailer light circuit or as a blown out bulb.  This causes the turn signals to flash quicker than normal and the vehicle will get a fault warning on the dash.  The quicker signal will override the sequential turn function of the rack light and it will only flash on and off.  This is a common problem on vehicles when they tow a trailer with LED lights so solutions do exist.  

 

We don't have a complete list but we know these issues are common on vehicles with OEM or factory installed tow packages on newer American manufacturers like Ford and Chevrolet/GMC and European vehicles including BMW and Audi.  

 

Ford vehicles have seen the most issues with our lights.   There are some solutions but normally with the limited functionality as mentioned above.   We're happy to discuss these options so feel free to reach out to us.   Full size Ford vehicles from 2016 to 2020 have the limited functionality where the turn signal flashes the entire light instead of sequencing.  On 2021+ full-size Ford (F-Series, Expedition, Transit, etc.) the lights do not function at all.  2021+ Mid-size Fords (Ranger, Explorer, Bronco and Maverick) the light has full function except for the sequential turn sign where the whole light just flashes.   

 

We have launch a Double Light Set Up (currently for Kuat NV only) that works properly on Fords and Tesla Model Y.  This is a good solution to the functionality issues with the single light on these vehicles. 

Solu
tions

  • Visit the dealership and ask them to flash the vehicle's ECU so the vehicle can register and recognize the low amperage draw of the bike rack light turn signals from the trailer plug.  

    • Downside:  The issue may repeat itself when you utilize a different type of light/trailer on this vehicle.

  • For flashing turn signals we need to isolate the vehicle's electrical system from the lights.  This can be done in two ways either by wiring directly from the light signals or by adding relays between the trailer connection and the light.  

  • For low amp draws and warnings on the dash, install a 7 way to 4/5 way LED adapter which has resistors built-in that may resolve the issue.  You can also add your own resistors to the circuit but it's a little more tricky (please contact us if you have any questions).  Here are some links to 7 Way to 4/5 Way Adapter with Built-in Resistors:

 
If you have any questions or need help with installation or anything else, please contact us. We will get back to you as soon as possible! 

Kuat NV 2.0 bike rack loaded with bikes on the beach.  Kody Technologies bike rack lights installed on the rack with the brake lights shining bright and easy to see.
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