Five Easy Steps to Storing Your Utility Trailer
Although a utility trailer might seem like something you can simply detach from your truck and park in a garage or storage facility, you can actually damage your trailer if you do not store it correctly. For instance, many trailers have electrical systems that operate the lights or blinkers, and this system needs careful attention. Additionally, if you are storing a trailer for the winter, you need to ensure it is protected against moisture. Basically, you need to consider everything on the trailer that moves as well as the frame. Of course, you will also want to keep your trailer safe. Although there are not too many steps to properly store your trailer, they are important if you want it to perform smoothly from one season to the next.
Inspect and protect
Prior to storing your utility trailer, you should inspect it for any type of damage that might progress over the course of storage. For instance, since you probably use your trailer for hauling lots of equipment or yard debris, there might be scratches on the paint that can rust. If so, you should paint these scratches to keep moisture from damaging it. Additionally, if the bed is made of wood, you should check for loosening beams. If you find any loose beams, you should replace them. If you do not, the wood will continue to deteriorate until it breaks free of the bolt.
Your inspection should also entail the lights, cables, and wheels. The lights should work prior to storage, and you should ensure the cables are tight and secure. Finally, you should remove and safeguard any accompanying hitch pins. Some trailers have a hitch cap that secures over your vehicle's hitch ball. To ensure this does not stick, you can lubricate it by spraying oil on the hinges or spring.
Electric cables should be inspected for rust. To clean them, you should use a wire bristle and gently brush the exposed connectors until they are shiny. Most trailers come with a battery, and this battery should be removed through the duration of storage and replaced at the end of the storage season. Not removing the battery can lead to a dead battery, or it can lead to excess battery deposits, which can short the battery.
Ball Bearings and Axles
Wheels and tires should be greased as necessary to ensure they do not dry and tighten over the course of storage. You should use standard ball-bearing grease, and you should apply it liberally to the wheel and axles. The wheel should have a grease pin that allows you to simply plug the grease gun into the wheel and grease the ball bearings.
Eliminate Extra Load
Any time you are considering trailer storage, the trailer should be propped up on something to relieve the tires of all weight. To accomplish this, you should prepare two beams of wood or two lines of concrete blocks. The wood or blocks should be stacked high enough to allow the trailer to sit on top of them without having the tires touch the ground. Obviously, the blocks should be just wide enough to support the under carriage of the trailer without hitting the axles.
Additionally, the tires should be inflated to the proper pressure prior to being stored. If you do not inflate the tires properly, they can dry out while in storage, and cracks can develop. Cracking will be minimized if the trailer is lifted off the ground, but under-inflated tires can cause undue wear that will lead to future tire trouble.
You can also protect the tires by spraying the rubber to keep them from drying. The spray will seal the material and keep it from oxidizing, which can lead to cracks. Cracks on the tread might not be a major issue, but spraying can help keep the rubber around the air valve from cracking.
When you store your trailer, you should find a secure place with an enclosed gate. If your property has a large garage or shed, you can keep your trailer secure without incurring additional cost. However, commercial trailer storage can be an attractive solution as they offer ample storage space with 24/7 security. Many storage facilities will offer 24/7 access as well, allowing you to periodically use the trailer as necessary should the need arise.