Basic Trailer Maintenance
April 22, 2007
The trailers we use to haul our boats, horses, equipment and other toys are one of our most overlooked and under maintained possessions. We rarely think about them until we need to take our boat out to the lake when the weather warms and even then, most of us are lucky to just check the tire pressure. Keeping your trailer in good running shape really isn't that hard and can save you from at best a minor inconvenience to at worst a serious accident.
The most common maintenance item is the bearings. They are without a doubt one of the more critical items on the trailer, especially if you have a boat and are submerging your wheels in the water at the boat dock. Once a year, you should have your hubs disassembled and thoroughly inspected and cleaned. You can either do this yourself or take it to a local auto shop. Whoever works on it should inspect them for wear marks, pits, or gouges that could have developed over the last year.
Now that you have the wheels off to clean the hub assemblies, you can get under the trailer and inspect the axle and springs. Check the axle to make sure it is not bent and make sure the springs look to be in good working order.
Once the hubs have been cleaned and repacked and the axle has been inspected, you can grease the axle. Keeping your bearing properly greased can head off a lot of problems and make your trailer last longer and ride safer. You should keep a grease gun handy so you can always add a little to the bearings. A cordless grease gun might be a good investment if you own a fleet of trailers. A cordless grease gun can make quick work of a long and tedious greasing job.
Also after you have been driving for a while, it is a good idea to check your hubs and bearings for excessive heat. An over heated hub indicates that something serious is wrong and causing a lot of friction. A wheel can come completely off a trailer and cause a bad accident. A good rule of thumb is the hub should not be hotter than a morning cup of coffee. If it is hotter than that, do not drive on it until the problem is corrected.
Trailers are not as fun or sexy as our boats we carry with them, but without a properly maintained trailer we would not get very far.
About the Author: Cooper is the webmaster for Red Hill Supply - Cordless Grease Gun
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