Maintenance Tips for Your Dump Trailer
Your dump trailer is the lifeblood of your Michigan business, whether that’s construction, salvage, landscaping, or something else. You want to make sure that your rig is ready to go so that your business can thrive. Here is what you need to know about maintaining your dump trailer.
Maintaining the Tires
Tires keep your dump trailer safe as it travels along the roads around Michigan. However, they don’t keep your trailer safe on their own, but require some periodic maintenance.
Start by keeping an eye on your rig’s tire pressures, especially as the weather turns colder in the fall and over the winter. Check your tires frequently to ensure they are maintaining the proper pressure.
For every 10 degrees the temperature drops outside, your tire pressure will drop about 1 PSI. Low-pressure leads to more tire surface area contacting the pavement, increasing friction. This leads to your tires overheating and wearing improperly and could lead to a catastrophic failure.
Additionally, check the wear on your tires to ensure it’s wearing evenly on the insides and outsides. Be sure there aren't low spots as you go around the tire’s circumference. This unusual wear can both jeopardize your tire’s integrity, and point to potential safety hazards with your rig.
Keeping the Battery Good
Many dump trailers have an independent power source from their tow vehicle. This is what is used to power the hydraulic system to operate the bed lift.
Keep a close eye on your battery to ensure it’s ready when you need it. You will need to put it on a charger occasionally to keep it running well. When you do put it on the charger, do a trickle charge over the weekend to prevent damage from trying to charge it too quickly.
Make sure to also keep an eye on the physical condition of your battery. When it starts going bad, it will give off two distinct signs. First, you might notice some leaking from the battery itself. This may be hard to distinguish from the hydraulic system, being they are usually located close together on the trailers. The second sign to watch for is bulging in the battery housing.
If you may notice either of these signs, or that the bed isn’t lifting correctly, chances are you need a new battery. Plan to get your battery tested and replace it if necessary.
Trailer Frame Maintenance
It’s important to keep your frame in good working order to keep your rig safe. Inspect the frame at least annually. Make sure you are looking at all the joints to ensure there is no rust or cracks in the welds. If you find a little surface rust, scrub it off and repaint the area to protect it.
Hydraulics are Key
Hydraulics are the key for your dump trailer being able to lift and dump your load, but is also one of the more complicated parts of the rig. You may notice you cannot get the bed to rise or lower. While this may indicate a power issue, it may also suggest you have a hydraulic problem. The system locks in place when the hydraulics fail, to provide some safety to those operating it.
Start by checking for leaks around the hydraulic components. If you experience a failure, the most common cause is a leak in the system. Just keep in mind fluid may also be from the battery, so exercise caution as you investigate.
If you find the rig is stuck in the up position, you may be able to manually lower it by loosening the nuts at each of the coils on the pump. Loosen these slightly, and you may get the bed back down so that you can transport your trailer to a dealer, like USA Trailers, for service. Keep in mind this is a temporary fix to get service, so don’t plan to operate your rig regularly in this manner.