Tips to Help Maintain Your Equipment Trailer
Hauling your equipment trailer around Michigan can sometimes feel like a gamble. How you maintain your trailer will directly affect the odds of that gamble. Consider these tips for proper maintenance to ensure your trailer will take care of your equipment as you cover the miles.
Keep It Inflated
Your tires are the most important part of your trailer, keeping your equipment safe along with everyone else on the road. Every time you pull over, visually insect the tires to see if any of them look squishy or low. Before you head out for the day, check the actual pressure with a proper tire gauge.
A single low tire may indicate a fault with that individual tire. However, several squishy tires may indicate an overloaded trailer. Keep an eye on your equipment weight compared to the trailer capacity to ensure it stays within the limit.
Keep an Eye On Your Suspension
Next to your tires, your suspicion are incredibly important to keeping your equipment trailer riding down the road straight. A worn suspension may cause your trailer to bounce around the road, risking a jackknife.
You can check your suspension in a couple of ways. If you have leaf springs, visually inspect the leaves. Look for cracks in any of the leaves or remount clips or missing center bolts.
Regardless of whether you have leaf springs or torsion suspension, check the wear on your tires. Uneven tire wear indicates a problem with the suspension failing.
Mind Your Brakes
You’re required to have brakes installed on your equipment trailer if it weighs more than 3,000 lbs while empty, or over 15,000 lbs loaded. The trailer’s brakes are responsible for helping reduce the stopping distance, not to mention keeping it safely behind the tow vehicle.
Start by trying to rock each brake shoe back and forth. You’re looking for play or stutter as you rock the shoe. The shoes on both sides of the trailer should have the same amount of resistance when rocking it.
Your tow vehicle should have a brake controller to distribute the braking power between your vehicle and trailer. Uneven resistance from one side to another may indicate a failing brake controller, which could cause skidding, jackknifing or dragging.
Make Cleaning a Priority
Like a clean car, a clean equipment trailer looks great as it travels down the road. However, cleaning your trailer is more than a mere vanity chore.
Rather, when dirt builds up on your frame and running gear, it causes corrosion to set in more quickly. It also wreaks havoc on the bolts and chains.
Make sure to regularly clean and dry your trailer. Double-check the seams and welds to ensure there aren’t any cracks or rust.
Keep an Eye On Your Coating
As you haul equipment, it stands to reason your trailer will get banged up along the way. The result is damage to the coating on your trailer, opening vulnerability to corrosion.
Regularly check the coating on the frame to see if there are nicks or dings. If you find any, do a touch up on the coating before rust has a chance to develop.
Check Your Lights
Michigan's law requires that every trailer has lights on it. You must have a clearance light on each side of the front, and at least one brake light on the back. If the trailer weighs more than 3,000 lbs gross vehicular weight, you must also have two side markers on each side plus two reflectors. You must also have two clearance lamps and two reflectors on the back, along with the brake light.
Beyond being a potential fine for failure to comply, it also increases your risk while driving in dark settings. These lights and reflectors help other vehicles see you and give your rig the proper space.
Grease Your Axles
Your trailer will continue rolling down the road only while the wheel bearings continue turning. If the grease in the bearing dries up, it’ll allow dirt and moisture to get in the bearing race, causing it to freeze up.
To prevent this, you need to keep grease in the bearing race. Ideally, you’ll want to it every year to keep it in good working order. However, make sure you use the proper grease for the temperature, being the temperature changes the grease’s viscosity.
Get It Aligned Properly
Before hitching the trailer to your tow vehicle, check the hitching mechanism and the tongue. If you notice any corrosion, have it repaired before attempting to tow the trailer.
As you hitch up the trailer, make sure it’s properly aligned to ensure you have the proper control as you travel. A misaligned hitch will make it difficult to steer your vehicle and maintain control of the trailer. It may also cause the trailer to sway from side to side. Have your hitch adjusted or repaired immediately if you notice any indication of a misalignment.
Start by making sure you have a quality equipment trailer from the selection at USA Trailers. Visit one of our seven showrooms throughout Michigan to find the best trailer to haul your equipment.