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Trailer Maintenance Tips

Trailer Maintenance: Extending the Life of Your Trailer Investment

It seems like sometimes that the trailer maintenance is a secondary thought and doesn't get the attention that is not only deserves, but NEEDS. No matter if you are hauling animals in your horse trailer, slugging yard debris on an open/flatbed trailer to the dump or heavy equipment to and from the work site, regular trailer service and maintenance will ensure that the job will get done both safely and add years to the lifespan of your trailer.

Belore Trailer Sales, which has been in the trailer sales business for 40+ years, can be a great source of information on trailer service and has the facilities in order to provide you with fast, effective service and has more trailer parts you'd need, on hand. Another source of valuable information is your trailer's owner's manual. It should note specific trailer service & maintenance recommendations for your specific trailer.

In general, there are specific items that require your attention in order to provide maximum performance, value of your trailer investment and confidence in the equipment you are using will bring you, your family, your horse/livestock or equipment, home safe and sound.

Cleanliness: It's Next To Godliness

Road salt and de-icer seem to do nothing but help rot your trailer investment. The corrosiveness of these agents can severely limit the life of your trailer investment, especially if left without attention. Too many trailers come through the winter and don't even get a quick hose down, which with the warmer weather, leaves your trailer essentially bathing in salt 24/7. Add a bit of moisture to that bath and the salt works its way into places you didn't even know existed on your trailer, including your lighting.

Speaking of corrosion, even a horse trailer/livestock trailer needs to be hosed out; may be even more often/quickly than a trailer that's been exposed to salt & road grime. That is unless your horses/livestock are house trained! Their waste is extremely corrosive/acidic and works its way into every crease it can find and eats at every joint possible which is why you should lift the mats and wash the floor thoroughly and wait until the mats and the floor are completely dry before placing the mats down again.

Even heavy duty, equipment floats or flatbed trailers need to be cleaned of periodically. The next time your put your mini-excavator back on the trailer it'll drag mud all over the place; or may be the worksite resembles a mud bath which will undoubtedly leave the trailer frame/undercarriage hanging in mud. So why even bother cleaning it? Well the MTO might see things differently! What about the extra weight you're unnecessarily carrying? What about the fact that mud doesn't melt so it has a tendency to plug up & set as hard as concrete limiting or breaking functional elements of your trailer (gearing, jacks, hinges, etc.). From an even more basic perspective, mud covers up areas of potential concern. You could become blind to something that you should easily be able to identify as an issue or potential problem.

Tires: #1 Point of Failure

Number one on the easy trailer maintenance list is to make sure that your tires are properly inflated before EACH and EVERY trip. It is probably the most common factor in tire failure and it takes less than 10 seconds per tire. Just do it! It is also a safety factor as a blown tire can be the direct cause of an accident; and with it, the wreaking of your trailer, your vehicle, your equipment/livestock and most importantly others you are sharing the road with.

Everyone knows that you should rotate your car/truck tires every 10,000km or so, but many premiumtrailer manufacturers, such as the ones that Belore Trailer Sales represents, recommend that you rotate your trailer tires every 8000-10,000km as well.

Limited, specific usage trailers such as an open or enclosed snowmobile or motorcycle trailer may have a different tire problem to keep an eye on. Since they may not get all that many miles on them each year, the mileage they get won't warrant a tire rotation so you may not be face to face with your sidewalls very often. The exposure to the sun's heat and UV light may cause your tires to crack well before they 'should', at least according to the amount of miles they have on them.

The last point on tires is that your spare tire needs the same sort of attention. May be we skipped a step here. We should have told you, strongly insisted, essentially made mandatory, the fact that you actually have a spare tire with you for your trailer. Trust us. It's a small price to pay for a lot of security of mind.

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Lubrication Points

Your wheel hubs are a KEY lubrication point. Many times trailer owners have a tire failure and blame the quality of the tire for a blowout but in many cases, they hub was not kept lubricated which caused a massive build-up of heat causing the tire to fail. In a case such as this, it is the fault of simple preventative trailer maintenance not being done.

While inspecting your wheel hub, make sure you add checking out the lugs nuts and rims to your trailer inspection checklist. Excessive rim corrosion will limit its life and wheel nuts/bolts that come loose… well, we probably don't need to paint you a picture as to what can happen there.

Trailer door hinges and latches should be thoroughly lubricated and checked for binding. Some heavy duty trailers will have grease fittings built right in and need to be kept lubricated with quality grease. Jacks and hitches seem to go without maintenance all too often as well. The typical trailer jack will last 5-8 times longer with simple maintenance so why not do it? Unless you have an unlimited supply of money I guess!

In the case of horse trailers, there are some additional areas of concern. The sliding window(s) may require attention as will the internal gates and the feed latches.

Lights & Brakes: Stop and Be Seen

Just as you should check the air pressure of your tires before each and every trip, you definitely should add checking your trailer lights to the list. Not just that they are on, but taillights, brake lights, signals and all clearance lights as well.

If your trailer has brakes, making sure that they are working properly is absolutely key to your safety, your cargo's safety and the safety of those around you on the road. Having Belore Trailer Sales look at your braking system every 15-20,000km is a great place to start and is part of our annual trailer certification program to make sure that you get you 'yellow safety sticker' each and every year.

Trailers that have breakaway/electric brakes will have a power supply and it is imperative that you know that this battery is operating properly. Make sure you check this system before you drive away each time.

Trailer Hitch

Before hitching up, take a moment to visually inspect your ball hitch. If you happen to see any cracks, flat spots or excessive corrosion on the ball or the coupler, bring it into a trailer dealer such as Belore Trailer Sales to help identify how to proceed so that you and your cargo are safe. It's never a bad idea to put on a lightweight grease/lubricant directly on the ball to minimize this obvious wear point.

FYI: If you believe you need a new hitch, Belore Trailer Sales has all manners of trailer hitches for sale and can assist you with that as well.

Now that spring is finally here you are undoubtedly getting ready to maximize the usage of your trailer. Remember, trailer maintenance takes a team approach to ensure safety and longevity of your trailer investment; 1) self-maintenance, each and every trip you make; 2) in-depth trailer maintenance/safety certification, done by a quality, certified trailer dealer such as BeloreTrailer Sales.

Be smart. Be safe. We've been here for over 40 years selling trailers and we'd like to see as many of you back as possible in the next 40 years.