What Does the Trailer Tow Hitch Warning Light Mean? | YourMechanic Advice

What Does the Trailer Tow Hitch Warning Light Mean?

Sometimes the amount of storage space inside of your vehicle just isn’t enough. For this reason, you may need to rent or buy a trailer for extra space. Nowadays, there are many vehicles available with a tow hitch installed so that you can attach a trailer safely.

Trailers and other big towable items need to have lights connected to the their turn signals and brake lights. Otherwise the trailer will block the lights on the car and other drivers won’t be able to react accordingly. Most vehicles with a tow hitch will have an indicator on the dash regarding the electrical connection, between the trailer and the towing vehicle but it may vary from one vehicle to another. Refer to the owner’s manual for more information on the indicators for your vehicle.

What the trailer tow hitch warning light means

Typically, the trailer tow hitch warning light can come on for a few different reasons. Depending on the kind of car, this light could indicate that the tow hitch is unlocked or that there’s an issue with the lighting system. Some vehicles may also have an indicator to show that there is an additional load on the lighting circuit. Modifications to the lighting system that aren’t done properly can cause this light to come on due to changes in the overall circuit load. If you changed the types of bulbs used in any of the lights or added additional lights to your vehicle, check and make sure everything was installed properly when you notice that this light has come on.

Is it safe to drive with the trailer tow hitch warning light on?

The only time you should really be worried about seeing this light is when you’re towing something. If this happens, pull over safely as soon as possible and make sure that the hitch is fully secured and that all of the trailer lights are working. Should the light come on with nothing attached, you don’t need to pull over immediately. Once you have parked, make sure there is nothing wrong with the hitch itself or the electrical connectors, and ensure that your lights are working.

If this warning light stays on, the circuit should be investigated further for any shorts or damage. Our certified technicians are always available should you encounter any issues with your tow hitch.


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12 years of experience
Volkswagen Beetle - Warning Light is on - Stillwater, Minnesota
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Chrysler 300 - Warning Light is on - Durham, North Carolina
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