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Most trailers owned by residential (non-business) owners are used for general utility or recreational use. Most of them, such as boat or snowmobile trailers, are used seasonally and then endure long periods in storage. Here are a few tips to keep your trailer in good shape for years and prevent costly replacement and repairs.
It is well known that most trailer tires need to be replaced not because of tread wear, but due to sidewall dry rot (also called stress-cracking). This condition is due to the combination of ground moisture being absorbed into the rubber and daily sunlight causing the moisture to be forced out of the rubber.
- remove your trailer tires and store in a dark, dry place
- or safely jack up your trailer so that your tires are off the ground
- or use inexpensive tire covers
These measures will certainly extend the usable length of your trailer tires.
For general protection against the elements, invest in a good tarp or cover for your trailer. If using a tarp, remember that it must be supported from the inside to prevent tearing and to allow rain or snow to runoff and not puddle. Tying the tarp down using all grommets will protect the tarp from wind damage.
There are specialized trailer covers available for many of the specific-use trailers such as RVs, Travel Trailers and Toy Haulers. This is a small expense to protect your investment.
Take the time to inspect and do some basic maintenance before putting your trailer to bed. Tires, brakes, lights, reflectors etc. should be inspected now so that the trailer will be ready for its next use. More importantly, it is a good time to repack or change bearings on the hubs / drums. Check out this link for more specific information on Trailer Wheel Hubs
While inspecting your hubs, it is a good time to inspect your electric or hydraulic brakes for wear and adjustment
Inspect your coupler (where the trailer hitches to the ball) for proper function and wear. Repair or replace if necessary. Also, make sure to tighten all bolted on accessories such as spare tire carriers, tag and light brackets etc
The Trailer Parts Superstore sells the replacement parts you’ll need to keep your trailer running safely for years. It is also a great source for trailer maintenance information.