Archives for November 2019

Protecting Your Tandem Axle Trailer from Rust this Winter

Rust is a killer when it comes to your vehicles and trailers. Improvements in technology, bodywork, and paint mean that vehicles are less susceptible to rust but they are not immune to it. As soon as your paint job gets scratched or the bodywork of your vehicle or trailer is dented, the protection that the paint provides is compromised. A nick the size of a small stone can be the beginning of a serious rust problem on your tandem axle trailer if it is not dealt with quickly.Trailers are often worked hard and put away wet, and that is not how you should treat expensive equipment that is central to your business or an important part of your lifestyle. Tandem axle trailers are regularly dragged over rugged terrain, taken on rocky roads to reach the best snow or used daily on construction sites. This means that they can easily get scratched, dented and damaged, making them more susceptible to rust as road salt comes into contact with the exposed metal of the bodywork. You need to pay as much attention to the cleaning and maintenance of your trailer as you do to your tow vehicle.


Road salt is used to melt ice and prevent it from building up on the road surface during the winter. That is a great help to drivers, making roads safer and improving driving conditions, but it is not great news for your trailer. Salt and metal objects do not get along well together. Anyone who lives in the “Rustbelt” will have seen first-hand the damage that exposure to salt can do to the bodywork of vehicles and trailers.The basic science behind this bad relationship between salt and metal is because it aids the formation of ferric oxide, commonly known as rust. When unprotected metal makes contact with water and oxygen the result is a rust forming chemical reaction. That is bad enough but when you add salt to the equation, it lowers the electrical resistance of water and makes it easier for the chemical reaction to take place. This means that in any environment where you have a mixture of salt, water, and oxygen, rust is a very real threat. And what better place for the rusting process to take place than where your wheels meet the salty, wet, icy, snow-covered road – the underside of your tandem axle trailer.


Exposed metal rusts – there is no denying that fact. The best way to protect your trailer from rust is to keep it clean and well maintained. Inspect your trailer regularly, paying close attention to the undercarriage, and repair any damage, chips or bubbles and touch up small scratches as soon as possible. The longer you leave it, the greater the damage and costs will be. Tiny areas of rust can be scraped off with a stiff wire brush and the area repainted with a rust-inhibiting paint. Larger rusted areas, however, will need to be repaired by a professional body shop.Even if your trailer is not damaged or dented, road salt can still cause rust on the frame and joints, or even inside an enclosed trailer. Keeping your tandem axle trailer clean is essential if you want to prevent rust this winter. Just because your trailer isn’t covered in dust and grime, doesn’t mean it isn’t in need of a good clean. Rinse the underside of the trailer every time you have completed a trip on winter roads. If you live near the coast you need to wash your trailer at least once a month. Mixing baking soda with your rinse water will also help neutralize the corrosive power of the salt.Good trailer maintenance is the best way to keep your wheels on the road through the winter. Contact McFarlane’s for all your trailer maintenance needs.

Should You Buy a Cargo Trailer in the Winter?

People buy trailers for hundreds of different reasons and there is no right or wrong time to start looking for new or used trailers for sale. Many landscapers and roofing companies buy trailers in the spring because that is when their work starts picking up again, but there is no reason that you can’t buy a cargo trailer in the winter. Winter is a great time for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy the snow and a cargo trailer is ideal for transporting snow blowers, snow removal equipment, snowmobiles and the rest of your gear.


There are many numbers of reasons why you might need a cargo trailer in the winter. Just because the weather is bad, doesn’t mean that landscapers stop working. Landscaping businesses often turn to snow clearing during the cold months when there is no garden work. A cargo trailer is perfect for hauling all the equipment needed to clear sidewalks and parking lots.The main use for cargo trailers in the winter, however, is transporting snowmobiles. If you are a weekend warrior a trailer is the best way to get your snowmobile to the best trails, and owning an enclosed trailer also means that you have a safe, secure place to store your snowmobiles in the summer.


There are several things that you need to consider when choosing a cargo trailer that is mostly going to be used in the winter. One of the biggest decisions that you will have to make is what type of material best suits your needs. A steel trailer may be cheaper, but an aluminum trailer will last longer, pull easier and not suffer as much in the harsh winter weather. If you have the budget, go with aluminum.Another big decision is the size of the trailer and that depends on its function. If you are buying a trailer for transporting your snowmobiles, the size will be determined by the number of sleds you own. A cargo trailer can have space for two, three or four snowmobiles and trailers generally come in three heights; a lowboy with a deck that is as low to the ground as possible, a mid-deck that is raised for some ground clearance and a highboy where the deck is above the wheels.


If you are looking for a great entry-level trailer, you won’t go wrong with a two-place, 8’6” wide highboy made of aluminum. This trailer has a single axle and no brakes and is probably the most economical trailer to pull. The disadvantage is that it doesn’t have a drive-off front ramp but with most snowmobiles having a reverse option, a front drive-off ramp is not essential.A good option if you want more space is a three-place 7-feet-wide lowboy with a steel frame. This trailer is low to the ground and the tandem axles give it a smoother ride than a single axle trailer. The trailer also has a front ramp, making it easy to drive your snowmobiles in and out, but only being 7 feet wide means that there isn’t much room for storage cabinets or racks.If you are a serious snowmobiler and want loads of space, then a three or four place 8 feet wide trailer is ideal. This option can be a lowboy, mid-deck or highboy. The disadvantage of a lowboy is that you have to maneuver your snowmobiles around the full-size fender boxes when loading the trailer and it does not have the best ground clearance for rugged terrain. The mid-deck gives you more ground clearance and the fender boxes are low enough to drive over. The highboy, however, is the most popular option for an enclosed cargo trailer of this size; it is easy to load, has good ground clearance and plenty of room for storage cabinets and racks.Contact McFarlane’s if you are looking for new or used trailers for sale this winter.

How Do You Brake Safely with Your Dump Trailer This Winter?

Snow and ice turn the landscape into a beautiful winter wonderland each year, but they also make the roads treacherous and create less than ideal conditions for anyone towing a dump trailer. But don’t let the bad weather keep you indoors or stop you from doing business. Understanding how braking safely in the winter while towing can help keep you from any unwanted incidents.


The key to safe winter driving is to avoid putting yourself in a position where you have to brake, accelerate or swerve suddenly. Snow, rain, and ice have a huge impact on the condition of the road and the way you drive. Wet icy roads are slippery and to compensate for the reduced traction, you need to drive as smoothly as possible, accelerating and braking carefully.Smooth braking and using a light touch on the brake pedal is essential when driving on slippery roads if you don’t want to lose control of your vehicle and trailer. One of the best ways to guarantee that you can brake smoothly is to make sure that you leave a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. If you hit the brakes hard, you run the risk of skidding, sliding and even jack-knifing your dump trailer, so think carefully about how long it will take you to get your vehicle and trailer to come to a complete stop. If you have a manual transmission, downshifting can also help you slow down your vehicle and trailer without losing control but once again you have to use smooth, controlled movements.Besides adhering to a safe following distance, you also need to reduce your speed in bad weather because obviously, your speed has a direct impact on your stopping distance and ability to brake safely. It is also important to ensure that your load is properly distributed and secured, or it could shift during braking and cause your trailer to become unstable and even tip over.


One of the best ways to maintain control over your dump trailer and brake safely is to install a set of trailer brakes. By distributing the braking force between the tow vehicle and the trailer, you will put less strain on your breaks, have more control and your trailer is less likely to skid, fishtail or jack-knife.The braking power of your trailer comes from your tow vehicle and without an electric brake controller, the brakes and tires on your dump trailer simply lock up when you apply the brakes. To eliminate this situation, you can install an electric brake controller that sends a signal from your vehicle’s brakes to your trailer brakes via the 7-pin hook-up on your hitch.There are essentially three kinds of brake controllers; proportional, time delayed and inertia activated brake controllers.


A proportional or pendulum brake controller is the smoothest controller, but it is also the most expensive. It senses how quickly your vehicle is braking and transfers the same amount of force to the brakes of your trailer. The advantage of a proportional brake controller is that your trailer slows down at the same speed as your tow vehicle.


A time delayed brake controller applies a predetermined amount of braking force to the trailer when the tow vehicle brakes. The amount of power that is applied to the trailer brakes is set by the driver depending on the weight of the trailer. There is a delay between the driver applying the brakes on the tow vehicle and the brakes being activated on the trailer. This time delay can also be set by the driver.


An inertia activated controller is similar to a time delayed controller but has an automatic override option for emergency braking that allows the trailer to decelerate at the same speed as the tow vehicle.It is possible to install your own brake controller, but it is better to get the job done by a professional. At McFarlane’s, we can help you install the best dump truck brake controller for your needs and budget.