I have customers come to me on a regular basis asking what they can do to take care of their trailers. See, in the state of Pennsylvania, trailers with a GVW over 3,000 pounds require a yearly inspection. This means that there can be some pretty shady light duty trailers out there on the road. Now we can only hope that the owners are keeping an eye on things, all though we know that may not be the case. So I am going to go over a few basic things to look for and keep in check for many years of safe towing.
First, lets start with the tires. This is the i thing to hit the road, so they better be in good shape. Before you take a trip with your trailer, be sure to check the air pressure to assure they are not over or under inflated. An over inflated tire can result in wearing out the center of your tires. And the opposite for under inflated. They will wear the edges out. Both could lead to a possible tire blow out. Dry rot is another culprit contributing to blow outs while traveling down the road. To spot a dry rotted tire, look closely for cracks in the rubber. Over time and exposure to the elements, tires dry out. They can crack, shrink and pull away from the rim, and ultimately create weak spots. With the tires carrying the load of your trailer, it is most important to keep an eye on them.
Following in line with the wheels, how are your bearings? Have you had them repacked with new grease? Have you ever even checked them? To keep the wheels moving smoothly the bearing need to be greased on a regular basis, and changed and repacked when needed. Look for water in the grease, dirt, debris, and even rust are signs of trouble. We repack bearings here regularly for our customers, or if you are a little mechanically inclined, you could tackle the job yourself. Pull the dust cap off, check the grease, and if you pull the bearing, it shouldn’t have any play in them. If you shake them and they jingle, time to replace them.
Now I can go on and on about what to look for and how to take care of your trailer, and don’t worry, I eventually will. I am going to start giving detailed instructions on how to perform routine maintenance soon. Stay tuned and hang in there. My goal is to have every trailer out there in tip top shape!