The Basics of Custom Trailer Maintenance

Custom Trailers

Cargo and custom trailers are a great way to transport almost anything. People are prepared to pay good money for reliable utility, cargo or custom trailers, and regular maintenance is the best way to ensure safety and durability.

Whether you use your trailer for business or to transport you weekend toys, from the wheels to the hitch, everything needs to be in good working order to ensure the safety of your cargo and fellow road users. You do not want your trailer to break and leave you stranded on the side of the road, or worse still, cause an accident.

Fortunately, a trailer has very few moving parts. These are commonly the hitch point, the suspension, the axles and wheel assemblies, including the brakes, and the wiring and connections on both your vehicle and the trailer. Since trailer designs are relatively straightforward, there is a lot that you can do yourself to maintain your trailer. But before you start tinkering with nuts and bolts, always read the owner’s manual and follow the instructions carefully. If you are at all unsure of what you are doing, call McFarlane’s. Also, remember that custom built trailers could have features and parts that require specific maintenance.

It is important to carry out regular visual inspections of your trailer. Inspect the frame for cracks, stress points, leaks and structural damage. Inspect the tires for basic wear and tear but also look for unusual or uneven wear patterns as these could indicate a bent axle or suspension issues. Two essential aspects of trailer maintenance are correctly fastened lug nuts and well-maintained fasteners. These are quite literally the nuts and bolts that hold everything together. Trailers should be checked over on a yearly basis.

Complicated maintenance needs to be carried out by a professional but here are a few things that you can do yourself.

Check and Tighten Lug Nuts

Lug nuts literally keep your wheels on the road by keeping them properly seated to the hub. Before each tow, it is essential to check that the lug nuts are torqued to the correct rating. Over time, metal creep between the wheel rim and hub can cause the lug nuts to loosen and eventually the wheels could fall off. Lug nuts are also prone to loosen when a trailer is newly assembled, or when wheels have been remounted, so when driving a new trailer, or a trailer with new wheels, stop after the first 50 kilometres, to check the lug nuts.

Regularly tighten the lug nuts with a torque wrench according to the specifics in your owners manual. But be careful not to over-tighten. If you’re unsure of how to do this correctly or don’t have a torque wrench, take your custom trailer to a service garage or trailer dealer, like McFarlane’s, and get them to tighten the lug nuts to the proper torque. This is an essential part of trailer maintenance if you want to keep the wheels attached to the trailer.

Inspect and Repair Fasteners

Inspect all the fasteners and structural frame members at regular intervals. The owners manual will tell you how often to do this. Look for bending, cracking and any other visible signs of damage. Repair or replace any damaged fasteners or frame members as soon as possible.

Always Insist on Quality Parts

When carrying out any trailer maintenance, it is important to use quality parts and unfortunately, not all parts are created equal. Inferior parts could be cheaper, and may save you money in the short term, but in the long run, they could easily end up costing you far more than you ever imagined. Inferior parts may break or warp and cause permanent structural damage to your custom trailer. Don’t take a chance to save a few bucks.

To keep your trailer safely on the road, make sure it is always well maintained and in good working order. You can do the basic work yourself but for more extensive or complicated repairs, always consult a professional. Mcfarlane’s has a state of the art shop that can help you with your trailer repair.

Visit McFarlane Trailers for all your custom trailer needs.