Owning a trailer comes with great utility. You can haul almost anything with the right setup. These motorized towing machines can haul anything, such as automobiles, perishable goods, and camping tools.
As with any equipment, regular care and maintenance are required to keep your trailer running smoothly for years. This requires careful and frequent examination of the interior and exterior sections and ensuring they work seamlessly despite heavy use.
Follow this essential maintenance checklist to extend the life of your trailer, save money, and prevent being stranded with a broken-down rig.
Most common trailer types
Trailers come in many shapes and sizes, but their primary purpose is to haul or tow cargo. The maintenance requirements typically depend on the trailer type you have and its purpose:
1. Utility trailers are open-top haulers that carry machinery, livestock, automobiles, boats, etc. Focus your maintenance effort on the frame, deck, fenders, and lights.
2. Cargo trailers, also known as enclosed trailers, play a crucial role in the supply chain system. They offer protection from dust, debris, theft, and other potential hazards. Floors and lighting are key areas needing inspection.
3. Travel trailers demand the most maintenance, as these machines have living spaces. Besides the wheels and tires, owners need to check their complex interior systems and accessories.
Mulling to buy a trailer? Whether it’s for commercial or personal use, reputable companies like Brechbill Trailers have a wide range of trailer options to satisfy your unique needs.
Trailer maintenance tips
With proper care, trailers can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years. Extending their lifespan means conducting regular checks and ensuring their crucial components are protected and free from damage.
1. Inspect your trailer’s tires and wheels before every trip
The components that literally keep you rolling are one of the most critical systems. Check tires thoroughly before each trip for proper inflation levels, adequate tread depth, and any signs of cracking, bulging, or gouges. Ensure lug nuts are tight and no foreign objects are lodged in the treads.
Spin each wheel to check for alignment and wobble issues. If a tire constantly loses air or needs rebalancing, it likely needs to be replaced.
2. Examine and repack wheel bearings
Wheel bearings let your tires spin freely while supporting thousands of pounds of weight. Regular inspection and routine maintenance prevent seized bearings that can damage the hub and wheel and lead to major issues.
Consult your manual for the grease type and repacking intervals, or have a technician assess annually. Listen for grinding noises indicating worn bearings. Repack every year,12,000 miles in normal use, or more frequently for heavy loads or towing.
3. Ensure that the brakes function properly
While your tow vehicle does heavy braking, adequate trailer brakes are necessary for safe operation, especially with heavy rigs. Here’s a list of maintenance to-dos when checking the brake system:
- Inspect brake pads annually or every 6,000 miles.
- Check the breakaway system operation by pulling the pin.
- Flush any moisture from the system with a brake cleaner spray to prevent internal corrosion.
- Bleed hydraulic brakes if pedal pressure feels soft.
- Recharge the emergency battery, which activates the trailer’s emergency brake feature, every six months.
A well-functioning brake prevents your equipment from running through other vehicles and driving off a cliff while traversing challenging terrains.
4. Check suspension components
Your trailer’s suspension endures endless pounding from vibration, which can wear parts thin over time. Loose or damaged components make trailers unwieldy and unsafe at highway speeds.
Give the leaf springs and hangers a good inspection. Look for any cracking or looseness. Grab a wrench and ensure axle bolts and nuts are tight, not wiggly. While you’re at it, check that shocks aren’t leaking fluid and replace used-up parts before bigger issues crop up.
Staying vigilant with suspension checks helps catch issues before something fails at an inconvenient time, keeping you rolling smoothly all the while.
5. Tackle minor repairs ASAP
Trailer ownership costs can run thousands, depending on the type, size, and condition. When tiny repair jobs pile up, it’s tempting to kick the can down the road. However, addressing problems promptly is vital for preventing major headaches later. Even minor issues left alone can lead to broken parts, expensive fixes, and stranded trailers down the line.
For instance, catching tire imbalance early prevents excessive axle and wheel bearing wear. Worn-out and squeaking brake pads can be swapped out before they cause a loss of stopping power while towing.
Keeping basic tools and spare parts on hand makes it simpler to tackle the nitty gritty. Staying on top of things ensures smooth, reliable, and safe sailing trips for years to come.
Make preventative care a priority
Similar to vehicles, giving your trailer the attention it deserves pays dividends through reliable service and road safety. Checking tires, brakes, wiring, seals, and everything in between keeps you rolling smoothly for the long haul. Addressing minor issues promptly also saves big bucks compared to major repairs down the road.
Staying on top of inspections and taking preventative action means you’ll be hauling with confidence for countless, carefree miles ahead. Take care of the small stuff today, and your trailer will take care of you for years to come.