Archives for October 2019

Can You Use a Backup Camera With Your Utility Trailer?

Backing up a single axle utility trailer isn’t the easiest thing; it takes time and patience and for many people, it is a two-person job. You can’t see behind you, your trailer could have a big blind spot and often turning around while trying to maneuver your vehicle and keep the trailer in a straight line or going in the desired direction is nerve-wracking. But fortunately, there is a technology that can make this task a whole lot easier. If you struggle to back up your single axle utility trailer you should consider investing in a backup camera.


There are several things that you need to consider when choosing a backup camera for your utility trailer. Obviously, price is important but don’t buy the cheapest backup camera system that you can find because it just isn’t going to get the job done. Shop around and see what is on the market but before you commit to a backup camera you need to consider the following;


When you choose a backup camera system, screen size matters. You want a screen that is big enough to see clearly but small enough to not obstruct your view or distract you while driving. Screen sizes range from 3 inches to 10 inches but ideally, you want a monitor that is between 5 and 7 inches. To give you some perspective, a 4.3-inch screen is the same size or smaller than the average smartphone and that is just too small, but a 10-inch screen might be too big and if it blocks your view of the road it will ultimately become irritating.


Backup cameras have different fields of view and they can range from 90 degrees to 210 degrees. You need to choose a camera that enables you to see what you need to. 90-degree view angle is the narrowest option and while this gives you a decent view, it is not ideal. The other end of the spectrum is the 210-degree view. This may sound great, but it is actually too wide to function well and gives you a fish-eye effect. The distortion caused by the camera can make it hard to judge distances accurately on the screen. The best view angle is 130-degrees as it provides a good compromise between clarity and field of vision.


You will also have to choose between a wired or wireless system. A wired backup camera is very reliable, you don’t have to worry about losing signal when you are backing up and it can be installed on any type of single axle utility trailer, but it will need to be installed by a professional.A wireless backup camera is more expensive than the wired option, but it is simple to install, and most people can do it themselves. When choosing a wireless backup camera system, it is best to go for one that uses a digital signal as this is more reliable than the analog version. The set up is easy because the monitor is mounted with a bracket on the dashboard and plugged into the cigarette lighter for power. The cameras will have to be connected to the lighting wires and for this, you may need some professional assistance. The biggest disadvantage with a wireless system is that it can lose the connection especially if you have the analog version.


You can either have CCD (charge-coupled device) or CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) sensors on your backup camera system. CCD sensors create high-quality images with low noise and are more light-sensitive than CMOS cameras so they provide better quality images but they are generally more expensive.If you are willing to pay extra the CCD sensors are the better choice.When you choose a backup camera system for your single axle utility trailer make sure that it is waterproof and comes with a good warranty. At McFarlane’s, we can help you choose the best backup camera system for your budget and install it for you.

How to Check Your Tandem Axle Trailer for Bad Tires

Your tires may not be the most glamorous part of your tandem axle trailer, but they are the rubber that keeps your load on the road. Good tires are paramount if you want to tow safely and many people do not pay enough attention to their tires. The top causes of tire damage are overloading, excessive speed and prolonged exposure to sunlight, extreme temperatures and moisture but there are other factors that also play a significant role in the lifespan of your tires.


Your tires may not be showing signs of wear and tear yet and there may be no obvious indication that you need new tires, but trailer tires are designed to only last for five years. Regardless of how little mileage you put on your tires, you should automatically replace them after five years. That said, after three years approximately one-third of your tire strength is lost so if you use your tandem axle trailer often, consider replacing the tires every three years even if they still have adequate tread depth.


Inflating your tires correctly is essential to making sure that your trailer is stable on the road and that you don’t have a blowout. Your tires always need to be properly inflated and the best way to ensure that the tire pressure on your tandem axle trailer is correct is to use a handheld pressure gauge. You can easily keep a small pressure gauge in your tow vehicle and test your tires before you leave home. You should check the tire pressure when the tires are cold. If you want to know what your tire pressure should be you can find the information on the sidewall of the tire.


While you are down there checking your tire pressure, also look for baldness and signs of wear and tear. The wear pattern of your tires can tell you a lot. If your tires are bald in the center then they are overinflated, if they are bald on the outer edges they are underinflated and if they are entirely bald then they have reached the end of their lifespan and need to be replaced immediately. You also need to look out for bulges, cracks, punctures, cuts and flat spots, and don’t forget to check the valve stem for cracks.The wear pattern on your tires can also be indicative of other problems with your trailer. Many trailers have issues with their axles because they work hard and are often driven over rough terrain. Checking your axle alignment is a specialized job that can take a bit of time but a quick look at your tires can tell you if things are not as they should be. If you know that your tire pressure is always correct, then baldness on the outer edges of your tires can mean that you have a bent axle or spindle. If you have baldness on both the outside and inside edges of your tires, then alignment could be an issue.The wear pattern can also tell you if you are regularly overloading your trailer. If your tires are only bald on the inside edges, then your trailer frame could be warped. This is a common problem caused by overloading and if you are driving around with a tandem axle trailer that has a warped frame, bent axle or bald tires, it is a threat to both your safety and that of other road users.If you want to tow safely and make sure that your trailer lasts a long time, then you need to pay close attention to your tires. You need to check your tire pressure regularly, look at the wear patterns and replace your tires every five years at least. At McFarlane’s, we can advise you on all your trailer needs and makes sure that your trailer remains safely on the road.

What are the Basics of Cargo Trailers?

There are several different types of trailers on the market and when you start looking for a new or used trailer for sale, it is important to know what is out there. Knowledge allows you to make informed decisions and before you buy a trailer, you need to familiarize yourself with what is on the market; the types of trailers, their parts, and components as well as the various accessories and what they are used for.


Open or utility trailers are, as the name suggests, open and there is nothing to protect the cargo from the elements. Open trailers can be accessed from all sides and are ideal if you are transporting sand, stone, grass or garden waste.Cargo Trailers are typically enclosed trailers where the cargo is protected from the elements. Cargo trailers can be used to transport high value cargo, vehicles, motorbikes or sports equipment like jet skis and ATV’s. Landscaping companies often have cargo trailers to safely transport and store their mowers and equipment.


There are different ways to attach your cargo trailer to your tow vehicle, but most trailers are either gooseneck trailers or bumper pull trailers.A gooseneck trailer is attached to a hitch ball that is mounted on the bed of the truck over the rear axle. Gooseneck hitches are typically used for industrial trailers and are often rated up to 30K.A bumper pull trailer is attached to a hitch ball that is mounted on the frame of the tow vehicle and is common for recreational use.


There are several different weight terms that you need to be aware of to ensure that you stay safe on the road and don’t overload your trailer.The trailer weight is the weight of the empty trailer when it is driven off the manufacturers’ lot fully assembled with all its accessories and extras.The payload capacity is the total weight of the cargo that the trailer can carry.The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is the total combined weight of both the trailer and cargo when the trailer is fully loaded.The tongue weight of a trailer is the weight that is transferred to the tow vehicle through the tongue or gooseneck hitch of the trailer.


Towing needs to be taken seriously. If you have never towed anything before you shouldn’t just buy a trailer, drive it off the lot, load it up and hit the road. You need to approach towing with the right attitude and allow think safety first, or you will be a danger to yourself and other road users.When you buy a trailer make sure you know the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and never overload your trailer. Overloading can damage your trailer but even worse, it can lead to unsafe towing conditions. An overloaded or incorrectly loaded trailer can be incredibly unstable on the road. It is also your responsibility to ensure that your fully loaded trailer does not exceed the maximum tow rating of your vehicle or the capacity of the tow hitch.When you load your trailer make sure that the load is balanced across the trailer but slightly heavier towards the front. You also need to ensure that the load is securely fastened especially is you have an open utility trailer. You obviously do not want your load flying off on the highway, but an improperly fastened load could also shift and cause the trailer to rollover.Before you leave home, do a walk around and check that your safety chains are correctly attached, all the lights and indicators are working, and inspect your tires for deformities, bulges, cracks, cuts or other damage. You also need to check the pressure of each tire with a tire pressure gauge.When you are on the road you need to drive smoothly and steadily. When you are pulling a trailer your braking distance increases so you need to be aware of what is happening on the road ahead and leave more space between your vehicle and the one in front of you.McFarlane’s can help you find the perfect used trailer for sale and give you advice on safe towing.