The How-To’s of Trailer Maintenance
Are you new to trailer ownership or need a refresher on trailer maintenance? Winter is the perfect time to check the integrity of your trailer, and get your trailer serviced before the springtime rush. A little trailer maintenance now will minimize the need for stopping your fun in the middle of a well deserved vacation, or keep your construction or landscaping business ready for peak season.
Ball & Coupler
If you are borrowing a trailer or buying a new one, always double check that the ball size is correct and the weight rating on the ball matches the trailer’s gross weight rating. The ball size should be stamped on the front of the trailer where the ball enters. Once you drop the trailer onto the ball, make sure to latch it. You can test the hold by jacking the trailer up a few turns. The ball should hold in the coupler, but if the coupler is worn or out of adjustment the ball can slip out. You should also check that the latch isn’t too tight due to an adjustment issue. Lastly, make sure that the ball mount and the hitch on your vehicle are compatible with the gross weight of the trailer. The VIN on the trailer usually has the gross weight listed.
When the trailer is loaded, the tires will flex towards the frame. How much they flex will vary with the load and the build of the trailer. Because of this, it is important to check the integrity of your tires regularly. Check the torque on the wheels, inflate tires to their max recommendation, visually inspect tires for any cuts, wear or bulging abnormalities, and also make sure there is good clearance between the back of the tire and the frame.
Electrical & Wiring
Water, mud, ice, and snow all take a toll on your trailer, especially the trailer’s wiring. Use electrical contact cleaner to remove gunk from terminals, then follow up with electrical contact grease to coat and protect the terminals on the plug. To prolong the life of your plug even further, make sure your plug is not dragging on the ground, or left in the vehicle socket when the tow vehicle is pulling away. If you are still having issues with your wiring, bring your trailer into one of our four Croft Trailer Supply Service Centers to get a bid on a protective rewiring or an upgrade to LED light blubs.
Towing is not a race, be aware of your trailer and consciously slow down to make sure the tow is going to be safe. Always check your brakes, your vehicle’s brake control setting, test all the lights, and test the breakaway system before each use. The breakaway cable runs separate from the safety chains and latches onto the hitch loops. Safety chains should be criss-crossed like an “X” under the tongue. There should not be any links that are twisted or worn from dragging on the ground. When hooking and unhooking a trailer it is best to double check your trailer maintenance schedule and basic hookup to insure maximum safety for everyone on the road.
Getting Help with Trailer Maintenance
As always, if you have questions or concerns please call or visit us at any one of our four service centers in the Kansas City Metro Area. A qualified Croft Trailer Supply technician will be glad to speak with you about your concerns and can give you a complete safety inspection to make sure your trailer and tow vehicle is ready to hit the road safely. Our trailer experts can help you setup a custom trailer maintenance program based on the type of trailer you have and how it is used. Croft Trailer Supply is dedicated to helping you reach your destination safely, whether that means getting you to your next job, fishing tournament, traveling the countryside or just making memories that will last a lifetime.