By Dave Helgeson
Checking the brake lights on your travel trailer, fifth wheel, truck camper or tent trailer has been problematic for years. Without a partner to stand behind your RV and tell you if they are working or not meant having to jam something on the vehicle’s floorboard to hold the brake pedal down, then running to the back of your RV to take a look.
Others checked their brake lights’ operation by looking for their reflection in a window, chrome bumper or other reflective surface located behind their RV. With the advent of remote vehicle entry via a key fob, checking your RV’s brake lights these days is as easy as pushing a button.
Now it is just a matter of hooking up your vehicle to the RV, walking behind the tow vehicle, and depressing the lock button on your key fob. If the brake lights on your RV are operating correctly they should flash along with the lights on your tow vehicle. If not, you need to check the connection at the vehicle or the bulb in the RV. Now checking your brake lights before leaving home or the campground is a snap!
Note: On American-built tow vehicles and RVs, the turn signal and the brake light typically share the same filament in the light bulb, so in reality (barring any really weird problems with the tow vehicle) you are checking both the brake lights and turn signals when you depress the key fob button. On foreign tow vehicles, the key fob typically activates just the vehicle’s turn signals (as the brake lights use a separate bulb); but since the RV’s brake light and turn signal still share the same filament, the results (again, barring unusual problems with the tow vehicle) are the same when checking the lights on your RV. Bottom line: foreign or domestic, using your key fob will confirm the connection between the vehicle and the RV along with the bulb function and its connection with the socket.