How do you wire for a trailer?

I just got a 1996 Rav4, and I need to buy myself a hitch and wire it up. The aftermarket hitches, ball mounts, and balls available seem to be easily understandable, but I have no idea what kind of wiring I need to get or how to attach it when I get it. There seem to be dozens of options on each site, ranging from $12 to $50.

The trailer I’m going to use has a 4-pin connector on it.

Please, oh wise dopers, help me understand which wiring doohickey to buy, and where it actually connects up to my automobile.

You will need something like this.
You need to splice into the wires that feed your left turn/brake light, your right turn/brake light and your tail/marker lights. If your car has separate light bulbs for the brakes and turn signals, then you’ll need one of these instead.

You should be able to find them at most auto parts stores, or a RV or boat dealer. If you’re not technically savvy they can probably arrange to install it for you.

Any RV or trailer service can help you. If you are towing a travel trailer, you will also probably need a charge line for your battery(s). Some trailers have electronic braking and require a chip to be installed in your vehicle to activate them. Trailers with surge brakes only need a ball hitch and lighting wiring. Depending on the trailer, you may need either a sway control or an equalizer hitch.

I’ve cleaned up some butcher jobs. Doing a good job takes some craftsmanship as well as some knowlege. Also some intuition about where to tap the vehicle harness so that water, road salt, etc won’t be a problem.

See if you can locate a trailer wiring harness that just plugs into the stock wiring. That is by far the cleanest way to do it. It may well be offered as an accessory by the dealer, or might be available through U-haul etc.

As kevbo says, the best way is probably something like this:

You would just unplug a connection under your vehicle, plug this between the connectors, and you’re good to go.

Thanks for all the help. I saw the T-connectors that plug into stock wiring advertised, but I wasn’t sure where they plug in. I looked under the back of my car briefly and didn’t see any wires, but maybe I just have to look a bit closer.

Check with your Toyota dealer. They can probably tell you where to plug it in. The adapter plug will probably also come with instructions.

How much (trailer) is the RAV4 rated for? Just curious.

How do you wire for a trailer?

Need trailer stop please send to iamthewalrus(:3= santa barbara california stop must be fifth wheel stop

Probably about 2,000 lbs. 3500, tops.

Ask the folks you’re renting (or buying) the trailer from. I had U-Haul install wiring on one of my vehicles. Remember that there are different kinds of connections. On my truck, I have three plugs: one for my horse trailer (which has electric brakes), one for U-Haul style trailers, and one for bumper-pull camper trailers.

Personally, I’m skeevy about connectors installed with insulation displacement connectors and those with harness plugs, just because moisture has a habit of making it’s way in and doing that nasty over time. Accuse me of overkill, and I’ll plead guilty as charged, but I identify and strip the harness leads, solder the trailer connector leads as required, heat shrink the individual connections, and then overwrap the whole deal with Scotch 130C self sealing dielectric rubber and Super 33 vinyl tape.