Storing Your Trailer
Storing your trailer is an important part of protecting your investment making sure your trailer is in good working order for many years to come. Not everyone uses their trailer year around. For example you might be a professional contractor, landscaper or maybe you have a boat or snowmobile trailer that is only used a portion of the year. Storing your trailer in the off season is not rocket science, but it can save you money in repairs and maintenance by doing it correctly. Why not protect your trailer when it’s not in use the best way you can? Here are a few tips:
Storing Your Trailer: Always Remove Batteries
Depending on the type of trailer you own, it could have batteries that power the hydraulics or emergency brake systems. Disconnecting and removing these batteries from your trailer is can prevent corrosion and harm during long-term storage.
If your trailer is going to be outside be sure to keep the batteries in a heated building and try to charge them every 90 days or so to maintain their performance and prolong battery life.
Leave Trailer Brakes Off
If your trailer has an emergency brake be sure that it is off. Having the brake on while your trailer is in storage will put undue strain on the braking system. Instead, either chock the wheels or raise your trailer on jack stands.
Take a Load Off Your Trailer Suspension
For long term storage (more than a few months) it is a good idea to jack up your trailer and place the frame on jack stands. This will remove weight from both the tires and suspension which will minimize stress and prolong the life of your trailer.
Always follow the manufacturers recommendations for placing your trailer on the jack stands and never use the axle tube or suspension equalizers as a jack support or jack stand point. This could cause expensive damage to your trailers running gear. The frame is also a much more stable spot for a jack or jack stand.
Buy a Good Trailer Cover
A good cover will prevent dust, dirt and most importantly water from settling on your trailer while it’s in storage. This is even more important if your trailer is being stored outdoors as a good cover will give added protection from the elements.
Give it a Good Cleaning
Make sure you give your trailer a good cleaning to remove any dust, mud or moisture. Moisture can lead to rust that, over time, could eat through the metal sides or floors. Pay special attention to areas with grooves or rubber matting.
Grease and Protect Moving Trailer Parts
All moving parts on your trailer need a good coating of lubricant or grease especially if you are storing your trailer outside. The trailer hitch, suspension parts and hinges need attention along with the brake system or any other moving parts.
Boat Trailer Storage
Boat trailers are subjected to repeated water immersion and will need special attention. Before storing your boat trailer it is a good idea to remove the brake drums and then clean, dry and lubricate all of the brake system components.
Some axles, like on boat trailers, are subject to repeated immersion in water. Prior to storage, remove the brake drums and clean, dry and lubricate all brake components. Inspect all bearings and ensure that they’re in good condition, then clean and lubricate everything.
Trailer Wheel Bearing Care
You may have noticed that on oil lubricated hubs, the upper part of the roller bearings isn’t covered in oil all the time. During regular use of your trailer the bearing rotates in the oil bath as the wheel turns.
When your trailer is in storage of course the wheels will not be turning. You can greatly increase the life of your trailers bearings by spinning the wheels once a month while your trailer is being stored. This will help to keep all your trailers bearings lubricated and protect from rust or corrosion.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re wanting to store your trailer in a garage or outside the process is very similar. Keeping these tips in mind the next time you are getting ready to put your trailer in storage will help ensure you get the maximum life from your utility trailer components.