As I don't plan on using any "auxiliary" lighting on our 2011 Honda CR-V, I would make a comment here on them. One thing that is a factor in just about any light, especially an auxiliary light of some design, is the fact that many of them have a "center point" in which the light has MAXIMUM visual presentation. That is, take those Harbor Freight, or any other retailer of those magnetic trailering lights and look at them from a slight angle or, any angle other than "Dead on center" and they loose a bit of brilliance and lumen presentation.
But, look directly at the "center beam" of such lights and they present a rather brighter picture. LEDs do the same thing but, have different aspects in their design. Some LEDs are of the "bulb" type that more or less shoot a straight out beam of light and almost disappear when viewing from angles of 30 degrees or more. But, SMD LEDs, have a design characteristic that allows for as much as a 120 degree span of light.
Anyway, as you might guess, you as the driver in an RV or Truck behind someone using those add on, magnetic lights will most certainly see a dimmed, or less bright view due to the fact that, 1, if the lights are placed on the roof or, say a trunk of a toad and, that roof or trunk has the natural slope in a downward projection of ANY angle, then those lights are most certainly not projecting their maximum capability beam up to the eyes of the RV or truck driver behind them.
Second, it's even worse if, they put those magnetic auxiliary trailer lights on a bumper of a toad. Then they are really not as effective as they can be.
I have built many trailers in my life and for the most part, have taken the time to construct the mounting systems for the rear tail lights to actually aim "up" at a few degrees towards an on coming driver from the rear. Believe me, it's incredibly brighter when looking at the most effective light array due to the mounting of the light itself.
Now, it might only be a few degrees but, for many lights, again especially after market ones, it will make a difference.
So, in reference to the OPs post, while it was in poor driving conditions, rain, impaired visibility, and more, it's possible that like another answer stated, a poor ground, (which happens way more than any other problems), could certainly have cause poor lighting. Poor angle of mounting them would also have an effect of good light projection from them and, since I, and many of you also, have seen very poor wiring jobs done, that could have been a factor.
Most folks who have RVs and tow a toad, are aware of how important it is to do a correct and effective wiring of the toads lights. We, like the OP, have also seen NO LIGHTS ON TRAILERS, TOADS, AND MORE due to the fact that the driver simply does not care and is willing to take the chance of a ticket because of either laziness or ?
I have wired my new CR-Vs tail lights to display exactly the same effects when towing as the do when driving the car, including the amber turn signals, third brake light etc. Since they are working that well, I'm confident that they work as well as any auxiliary lighting would. More lights is better. So if you choose to add those magnetic lights, maybe take a bit of time to make sure they project the maximum brightness by seeing if you can "aim" them up a degree or two to project into the eyes of driver following you in the rain. Just a suggestion here. Happy RVing.
Scott and Karla SDFD RETIRED
2004 Itasca Horizon, 36GD Slate Blue 330 CAT
2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Ext Cab 4x4 Toad 2008 Caliente Red LVL II GL 1800 Goldwing KI60ND
I've got the 9.99 harbor freight set and they are as bright as my regular tail and brake lights. And 10 years old are they. Unlike others they have an amber lens on the front side. I suppose you could take off the amber lens and put a disc of aluminum foil behind it for extra light.
That guy you were following may have had a bad ground or was mis wired. The tow lights are wired directly to the tail/turn/brake lights harness or plugged into the tow plug if it has one and should work the same as the towing veh..
In my time I've seen some bad wiring jobs where they twisted the strands together and taped them up.
I have 2 sets of them. One I carry for emergency "backup" in case of problems. The problem ISNT with the cheap lights...its with the person looking at / for them.
Stay back is my professional opinion!
2000 Country Coach Allure; Cummins ISC 330 HP; 71/2 - 8 MPG regardless
2002 Jeep Liberty
Read in the 24600 area of the California Vehicle Code. Several pages dealing with tail, brake, signal, clearance lights.
Before somebody chimes in with CA being way out of line with their laws, MOST equipment laws are generally pretty close state to state.
I stopped them in my career because it's required by law and more importantly, dangerous not to have lights. Almost always gave a verbal warning UNLESS the person TALKED themselves into a "safe driving award" aka ticket.
Any good ambulance chasing attorney LOVES a rear end accident when the rear endee didn't have tail lights or brake lights.
Would you stop a class A MH pulling a small car on a good dolly with the lights on the dolly working correctly? In others words with the OEM lights mounted on the dolly in good working condition but no auxiliary lights on the car loaded on the dolly.
Mike, Cindy, Chris and Spunky the Cocker Spaniel
1998 32 ft Tiffin Allegro
Ford F53 with 460 V8
Onan 5500 Watt Generator
Master Tow 80THD tow dolly
2009 Mini Cooper S Toad
"Anyway, as you might guess, you as the driver in an RV or Truck behind someone using those add on, magnetic lights will most certainly see a dimmed, or less bright view due to the fact that, 1, if the lights are placed on the roof or, say a trunk of a toad and, that roof or trunk has the natural slope in a downward projection of ANY angle, then those lights are most certainly not projecting their maximum capability beam up to the eyes of the RV or truck driver behind them."
Sorry...I strongly disagree. You can look at my lights from any angle you want, and they're plenty bright...brighter than the tail lights on the vehicle. I've stood beside them plenty of times while doing a light check, and they're very bright.
2005 Pace Arrow 36D
Very Understanding Wife
Well Sir, that's why we live in America. It allows us to have our own opinions. I never said they dont work at an "off" angle, I mearly stated they are not AS BRIGHT AS STRAIGHT ON. Try it, I think you'll agree. Sure you can see them, if they disappeared, or dimmed severely, because of an off angle, they wouldn't sell any. Of all the people we camp with and cruise from state to state with, none use those style lights. All have wired them directly into the toads circuits. But, it appears that there's many that do use them.
I know the guy I was following,did not have the lights wired for turn signals. I got around him as soon as I could,and other drivers were doing the same. As for HF,I won't buy anything from them,too many problems with cheap junk.
2008 Newmar Canyon Star - 2007 Dodge Dakota Toad - Ready Brute tow bar & brake system - one cat - Sassy 14
Probably not, BUT one of the reasons the dolly has lights is so it can be towed without a load on it at night. The dolly lights do not necessarily meet the requirements for the vehicle it is carrying, depending on the state law pertaining to WHERE tail lights have to be in relation to the rearmost part of the towed vehicle. Circumstances might warrant a warning, but probably not a ticket. Certainly not a ticket from me now. I've been retired almost ten years now.
Personally, I would mount some lights on the rear or near the rear f the vehicle riding on the dolly. Disregarding the tort liability one MIGHT incur, I wouldn't want rear-ending my towed vehicle.
The RVer in question has probably never followed his motorhome and toad down the highway in pouring rain and heavy traffic. We can only hope he reads this thread, and then asks for help. And in pouring rain it can be very hard to see the taillights of both cars and tractor trailers. But those tractor trailers which have Truck Lite or Grote led tail lights sure can be seen. But have read that some of the conversion kit Leds are worse than regular lighting.
Dim lights on the toad or trailer can also be caused by a Wiring Harness 12 Volt Converter that changes wiring from separate turn signals on the coach to using the brake light bulb on the trailer/toad. They all lose some voltage, but mine was terrible. I put relays downstream of the converter with a new voltage supply to correct the problem, and the toad lights are much brighter now.
Fred & Vicki
Richmond Hill, Ga
2000 Holiday Rambler Endeavor/Freightliner/330 Cat
2000 Honda Odyssey toad w SMI Silent Partner braking system