With so many options available for vehicle-specific wiring kits, it can be tough to choose one for your vehicle.
That’s especially true if you don’t know much about wiring. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to choose the right vehicle-specific wiring kit for your car, as well as provide some tips and tricks for common issues that occur when installing them and how to overcome some of these challenges.
Let’s get started!
What is a Vehicle-Specific Wiring Kit?
Vehicle-Specific Wiring Kits are specially developed for each type of vehicle to meet the manufacturer’s criteria.
So, if you’re driving and need to indicate or brake, these lights will behave similarly to your vehicle but on your trailer or caravan, which is a legal requirement when towing. They ensure that any towing safety feature is functioning and operating as intended by working with the car’s technology and electrical systems to support the car’s capacity to tow a trailer or caravan safely while completely integrating with the car’s safety and towing systems.
The manufacturer includes safety elements into the systems, such as:
Bulb Failure Detection:
As the name implies, this feature can identify if a bulb is failing or not performing correctly.
The circuit recognises that the bulbs have a specific resistance and send a defined current through the circuit, but when a bulb is out, it emits an infinite resistance, which causes the bulb to ‘click’ more quickly.
Fog Light Cut Out:
The vehicle’s fog lights are turned off when a trailer is connected. This eliminates the possibility of blinding other drivers by reducing glare from being reflected off the towbars, trailers, or caravans.
Reversing Sensor Cut Out:
When a trailer or caravan is connected, the vehicle’s reverse sensors are disabled when the reversing lights are detected.
This avoids potential distractions and prevents you from causing any accidents or damage while reversing; if the parking sensors are left enabled, you may wind up with a constant beep where it picks up the trailer or caravan due to its proximity to the rear of the vehicle.
Trailer Indicator Monitoring:
Trailer indicator monitoring uses a “double flash” to monitor trailer indicator function in the event of bulb failure.
Working indicators when towing a trailer or caravan is a legal requirement in many regions and ensures that other motorists can easily see your intentions when you manoeuvre around corners, switch lanes on the motorway, or pull out of junctions.
Trailer Stability Programme (TSP):
The TSP programme is an additional function pre-programmed into the vehicle’s electrical system.
When a trailer is correctly secured to the vehicle, the TSP system detects the trailer or caravan swaying automatically. When activated, the system progressively reduces the vehicle’s speed by reducing engine power and applying the brakes to aid in re-establishing stability control.
It should be noted that not all car makes and models may feature some or all of the technologies indicated above.
Purchasing a vehicle-specific wiring kit is usually preferable because it will adequately synchronise with your vehicle’s electrical system, and installing a universal wiring kit may void your warranty.
How Do You Determine Which Type of Kit Is Right for Your Car?
There are two types of wiring kits on the market, and the age of your vehicle usually determines the one you need.
The first is a vehicle-specific wiring kit, as previously explained, while the second is a universal wiring kit. The main difference between a universal kit and a vehicle-specific kit is that the universal kit can be installed in almost any vehicle; they are available in 7-pin and 13-pin wiring kits and can transmit signals related to the rear lights; however, they cannot be programmed to work with the vehicle’s on-board computer systems like the vehicle-specific kit can because they transmit an analogue signal and thus cannot control the vehicle’s electronics.
To determine which one is best for your vehicle, evaluate the vehicle you have and your individual demands; price is also a factor to consider.
What Are the Most Common Installation Challenges and How Can They Be Overcome?
Complications may develop during the installation of a universal wiring kit, necessitating additional competence from the fitter, and it is worth noting that universal wiring does not or only partially support specific (safety) functions of your car.
It doesn’t help that the fitting instructions only cover the most common operations, so whether a universal wiring kit can be done effectively is dependent on the fitter’s expertise and experience.
Here are some common issues that can occur when fitting a vehicle-specific or universal wiring kit to your vehicle:
- Lights go out or flicker when turning or switching on.
- Front fog lights don’t light up when switched on or after switching the dipped headlight.
- Lights on the dashboard or instrument cluster do not light up or flicker when switching on and off, turning the steering wheel, or switching on the dipped headlight.
- The reversing sensor beeps when the car is put into reverse gear but doesn’t detect objects behind the car.
- The bulb failure detection doesn’t function, operates intermittently, or doesn’t function at all.
The best way to overcome these problems is to first look at the instruction manual to ensure that everything has been connected correctly and that all your connections are tight.
If everything is in place and connected correctly, you can consult a neighbour or an online forum to seek further advice. They may have encountered a similar problem and may be able to help you resolve it. Failing that, the best approach would be to contact a professional company to help you fix the issue or point you in the right direction.
What Should You Do If You Encounter Problems With Your Kit After Completing the Installation?
We touched on this a little above with our discussion about overcoming some of the most common problems, but if you fail to get them solved, then the best advice we can give you if you encounter any problems is to consult a professional as quickly as possible. Otherwise, it may just be left unsolved, and you could face much bigger problems later on or risk putting yourself or other drivers in danger if your vehicle’s systems aren’t functioning correctly. For example, you wouldn’t want to be towing a trailer or caravan knowing that your indicator lights don’t work or that your brake lights aren’t working effectively.
A professional will be able to diagnose any potential issues with your kit quickly and help you get it sorted in no time at all. As part of our commitment to providing first-class service to our valued clients, we recently invested in the latest reprogramming equipment for our Westfalia diagnostic and recoding tools.
Your vehicle can now recognise the system when it is towing, thanks to the reprogramming of your towing electronics. This enables it to modify the functionality to fit, much like changing the operating system on a computer.
We can come to you instead of you coming to us. All the comfort and safety features will work as intended by the manufacturer after the recoding is complete.
Our on-site recoding service allows us to get your car safely back on the road in no time, and our engineers have many years of experience in the industry.
Where Can You Find Further Information on Vehicle-specific Wiring Kits and Their Installation Procedures?
The best way to get advice would be to seek it from a professional technician, but the internet is also full of great information on the subject.
Many articles online will tell you what wiring kits you need for different vehicles. Be sure also to visit forums to discuss your needs and experiences with others. It’s likely they may have come across similar issues in the past and can provide you with advice on what to check and how they managed to solve them.
Be sure also to check the manufacturer’s site. Not only are they likely to have information about the product, but they will likely have a manual or guide. Of course, they may even have technical support where you can contact the manufacturer directly and ask them questions if you are unsure about the functionality.
We are sure you will agree that vehicle-specific wiring kits are a great way to get your caravan or trailer working as it should.
They ensure your vehicle will be able to tow safely and securely. Remember always to consult your vehicle’s manual and the manufacturer’s manual and website to get detailed advice on how best to install your vehicle-specific wiring kit; otherwise, you may find you end up wasting precious time and money getting it wrong and getting it right the first time will require a professional technician as it’s best left to the experts.
If you’ve shopped for installation or recoding services, you’ll likely have come across our company at some point. Our team of professionals have vast experience with vehicle-specific and universal wiring kits. They will be able to resolve any issues that arise for you quickly and efficiently, meaning your car can be used safely in no time.
Don’t hesitate to contact us, and a member of our friendly team will be happy to help you.