Determining If You Need New Trailer BrakesAugust 17, 2022 by Kyle McFarlane
Custom-made enclosed trailers are an excellent option for anyone who needs to haul equipment a substantial distance. Of course, once purchased, these trailers require maintenance like any other vehicle. For example, brakes wear down over time, necessitating regular parts replacement. How do you know when it’s time for new brakes? Keep an eye out for the following warning signs.
You Feel the Pedal Vibrate or Depress
After driving your trailer for a while, you should be familiar with how the brake pedal feels. If it feels spongy instead of firm, you should get your brakes inspected.
A vibrating pedal is also a major problem. Usually, the culprit is the rotors, which play a role in stopping tire rotation. This part is prone to wear since clamps activated by the brake pedal use fiction to stop its motion.
Fortunately, you can easily see rotors during tire rotation. Look for scarring that indicates you need a new set.
Another sign of something wrong is a sinking pedal. If you can press the brake to the floor, it’s well past time for an inspection. Depression issues are caused by low brake fluid, which usually means a leak in the line. You should check the brake fluid at least once a year, as it gets dirty over time and needs replacing.
You Hear Grinding When Braking
Any sound during braking isn’t great, but groaning or grinding are signs of significant problems. These noises are caused by the metal calipers touching metal rotors, an act that can seriously damage all parts involved.
How does this happen? Calipers have semi-metallic parts called brake pads; these pads create a barrier between the calipers and rotors. They’re designed for a replacement since they’ll inevitably wear down. Depending on the manufacturer, you have between 10,000 and 20,000 before you need new brake pads.
You Notice Something Off During Maintenance
Every trailer owner should have a maintenance schedule to catch issues before they become dangerous and expensive to fix. For brakes, you should take a look at the following at least once a year:
- Wheel bearing
- Brake shoes and drums
Of course, a few parts need inspection more often. Check this equipment at least every six months:
- Surge brakes
- Electric brakes
Finally, you should review the breakaway brakes between every haul.
You Feel the Trailer Pull to One Side
Pulling is sometimes a sign that your alignment is off, but it can also signal problems with your brakes. For example, if your brake fluid is contaminated, a foreign object may be trapped in the line. Uneven wear of brake shoe lining can also cause this issue.
If you feel pulling, you should have your trailer inspected right away. Pulling means you don’t have complete control over the vehicle, increasing the risk of accidents.
Your Trailer Doesn’t Stop as Quickly
Sometimes signs of brake trouble are more subtle. For example, if your trailer doesn’t stop as quickly as it used to, you have a problem with your brake lines. The change may be gradual, so it’s crucial to check your brake fluid regularly; if you’re constantly refilling, there’s a leak. That leak can allow air into the line, leading to decreased responsiveness, a major danger to yourself and other drivers, as you won’t be able to stop suddenly in an emergency.
If you are looking for a reputable place to service your trailer, McFarlane Trailer Sales is the place to go. We offer high-quality repair services to ensure that your trailer is safe and that you get it back to work as soon as possible. If you need a replacement part or accessories, we have a varied selection. To find out more, give us a call or contact us online.