How Often Should You Repack Trailer Wheel Bearings?

How Often Should You Repack Trailer Wheel Bearings?

McFarlane's service department is here to help you keep your trailer safe and ready for its next job. We offer a wide range of services, including wheel bearing maintenance and repair. Many trailer owners need more information about how to pack wheel bearings on a trailer. Here we will summarize what wheel bearings do for you, how to repack trailer bearings and provide overall tips on travel trailer wheel bearing maintenance.

Wheel Bearings: A Crucial Part of Your Trailer

Wheel bearings allow the wheels to rotate freely and smoothly, which is essential for safe operation. If your wheel bearings are not properly maintained, they can overheat and fail, which can cause serious damage to your trailer. Here are some of the things that can happen if your wheel bearings are not properly maintained:

  • Overheating: If your wheel bearings overheat, they can warp or seize, which can cause the wheels to lock up. This can lead to a loss of control and a crash.
  • Failure: If your wheel bearings fail, the wheels will no longer be able to rotate freely. This can cause the trailer to become unstable and could cause an accident.
  • Damage to the trailer: If your wheel bearings overheat or fail, they could warp the axle, damage the wheel, or even tear the trailer apart.

How To Pack Wheel Bearings on a Trailer 

In order to pack wheel bearings on a trailer, you should trust a professional., Experts know how to remove the wheel and tire safely, clean the bearing, fully apply high-quality trailer wheel bearing grease, install the bearing and test it for any noise or rough friction.

  1. Remove the wheel and tire. Use a lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts and remove the wheel and tire.
  2. Clean the bearing. Use a wire brush to clean the bearing of any dirt, debris, or old grease.
  3. Apply grease. Use high-quality wheel bearing grease and apply it to the bearing races. Be sure to get grease into all of the nooks and crannies.
  4. Install the bearing. Reinstall the wheel and tire and tighten the lug nuts.
  5. Test the bearing. Spin the wheel by hand and listen for any noise or roughness. If you hear any noise, the bearing may not be properly packed.

Additional Tips for Packing Wheel Bearings

Also, consider these ideas as you seek to deepen your knowledge of travel trailer wheel bearing maintenance:

  • Use high-quality wheel bearing grease. Cheap grease will not provide the same level of protection and can lead to premature bearing failure.
  • Be sure to get grease into all of the nooks and crannies of the bearing. This will help to ensure that the bearing is properly lubricated and protected.
  • If you are not comfortable packing wheel bearings, you can take your trailer to a qualified mechanic. They will be able to pack the bearings properly and ensure that your trailer is safe to drive.

Signs That Your Wheel Bearing Needs To Be Packed

If you notice any of these signs, it is important to have the wheel bearings checked by a qualified mechanic. They will be able to determine if the bearings need to be packed or replaced.

  • Noise: If you hear a humming or growling noise coming from the wheels, it may be a sign that the bearings need to be packed.
  • Heat: If the wheels feel hot to the touch, it may be a sign that the bearings are not properly lubricated.
  • Looseness: If the wheels feel loose or wobbly, it may be a sign that the bearings are worn out.

How to Maintain Your Wheel Bearings

There are a few things you can do to maintain your wheel bearings and keep them in good working order:

  • Inspect your wheel bearings regularly. Look for signs of wear, such as excessive heat, grease, or noise.
  • Lubricate your wheel bearings regularly. Use a high-quality lubricant that is designed for wheel bearings.
  • Have your wheel bearings inspected and repaired by a qualified mechanic at least once a year.

McFarlane's Service Department Can Help

If you need help with wheel bearing maintenance or repair, McFarlane's Service Department is here to help. We have a team of experienced mechanics who are experts in trailer repair. We use only high-quality parts and lubricants. We also offer a wide range of products for trailers, including:

  • Washing chemicals
  • Lube
  • Oils
  • Wax
  • Silicones
  • Epoxy
  • Full trailer restoration
  • And more!

Contact McFarlane's Service Department Today

If you need help with your trailer, contact McFarlane's Service Department today. We'll be happy to answer any questions you have and help you get your trailer back on the road. Contact McFarlane's today to learn more about our products and services.

FAQ’s Answered About Trailer Hitches

FAQ's Answered About Trailer HitchesQuality trailer service and repair start with knowing the right questions to ask. McFarlane Trailer Sales receives questions about trailer hitches often, so let us help you with some answers to common questions about them.

What Size Ballmount Do I Need for My Trailer Hitch?

This will depend on the overall weight rating of your trailer. Trailer hitches are tested and rated for specific ball mount sizes. The receiver size will be anywhere from 1 1/4" to  3" within the five classes of weight ratings. The heavier the weight rating, the larger the ball mount. The weights are then broken down into the following categories:
  • Class I: 2,000 lbs
  • Class II: 3,500 lbs
  • Class III: 6,000 lbs
  • Class IV: 12,000 lbs
  • Class V: 14,000 lbs 

What Is a Brake Control?

Electric brake control takes power from the tow vehicle and supplies it to the trailer's brakes. A small control box is installed underneath the driver's side dashboard. When the driver depresses the brake pedal for the tow vehicle, the electronic box sends an electrical current to the trailer brakes.

Proportional Brake Controls 

Proportional or inertia brake controls get a read on how quickly the tow vehicle is stopping and send the same amount of force to the trailer brakes. A brake pedal switch is activated by a pendulum circuit that applies the correct amount of voltage to each brake.

Time-based Brake Controls

This method requires the user to set a predetermined amount of power in the brake box. When the driver hits the brake pedal, there is a time delay before the trailer brakes are engaged. You can be traveling at any speed, and the trailer brakes will engage in the same way every time.

Are Safety Chains Required When Towing?

Yes. Laws require you to use chains or cables when towing. In the rare event that the trailer becomes disconnected from the ball (on a bumpy road), the chains will keep the trailer connected to your truck. Otherwise, your trailer will be loose on the road, creating an extreme safety hazard. Avoid costly trailer service and repair by using safety chains.

What Is Trailer Sway?

Trailer sway happens when the tongue is not heavy enough to create a downward force on the hitch ball. If the weight in your trailer is distributed unevenly, you may experience the trailer bobbing and weaving behind your tow vehicle.Test this by loading a trailer and gradually increasing your speed on the open road. Watch the behaviour of your trailer closely. If it rocks from side to side or has trouble staying in the lane, park and adjust the cargo so its heaviest part is closer to the tongue. If this doesn't work, consider buying a weight distribution system for your trailer.

How Do I Measure My Trailer Ball?

Four important measurements include ball diameter, shank length, shank diameter, and the trailer hitch ball load rating. Start with the diameter of the ball, using a tape measure or ruler. Then measure the ball shank size from the bottom of the base to the end of the threads. Finally, measure the thickness of the base. Make sure this all matches up with the weight rating.

Comprehensive Trailer Service and Repair at McFarlane

When you book a service appointment with us, you avail yourself of our many areas of expertise which include:
  • Axle repair and replacement
  • Brake drums and backing plates 
  • Trailer lighting and wiring
  • Tires and rims 
  • Wheel hitch installations
We will fully inspect your trailer for any areas for improvement, and recommend the highest-need repairs. If you come for a specific service, we will give you a quote that clarifies exactly how we will get the job done. Contact our team to get started.

Summer Maintenance Tips for Your Trailer

Summer Maintenance Tips for Your TrailerAs spring comes to an end, it's time to make sure that the wear and tear from winter's cold and spring's rain will not affect your summer hauls. Pay special attention to your brakes, tires, grease, and suspension, as these will be the most likely to break down if not treated with care. You can avoid a large headache and expensive problem by prioritizing trailer service and repair before the summer gets into full swing. 

Brakes

Think back to the last time your brakes were replaced. Has it been more than 12 months? If so, you should definitely consider replacing them, for safety reasons. Also, think about how much wear and tear has gone into your brakes during the last year. Have you been in a lot of traffic, therefore braking more frequently? Have you been descending steep grades? Measure the thickness of your brake pads and determine your next steps. Usually, you can hear the squeal or grind when you apply your brakes, but sometimes the road noise prevents you from getting this warning. As always, don't wait until you know there is a problem. Proactively prevent problems before they become major issues. 

Tires 

Tires are expensive, but a necessary expense to keep your fleet operating efficiently. Walk around your trailer and check the depth of each tire tread to ensure the tires are not going bald. Also, check the pressure. A visual inspection of rocks, thorns, nails, screws, and other punctures may prove wise here as well. Having a blowout on a highway in the heat of summer is no one's idea of a successful haul.Keep in mind that some small punctures can be patched, while others may require the tire to be replaced. If you need to replace a tire, consider also replacing the other tire on the same axle, to ensure that the two tires wear evenly. If the expenses catch you off-guard or worry you, just imagine how much more worried and stressed you will be if your entire rig breaks down due to something that you could have prevented. Remember the old adage: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Grease 

Gears and hydraulics simply have to operate smoothly if you are to stay in business. If the gears grind together, you will be facing a major mechanical malfunction. Remember which type of grease you originally used, and apply the same. New applications of the same grease type will wash out the old, dirty residue and keep your trailer operating efficiently and safely. 

Suspension

In order to keep your ride moving along smoothly, and to ensure the stability of your load, all high-impact elements of your suspension system should be inspected. Visually assess any fasteners, welds, and overall levelness of the trailer. Ensure that all bolts are secured where they should be and that there is no component interference with the pivot connection. Air springs, axle connections, and shock absorbers should all be without bend or rust. If any fasteners are loose, tighten them to the correct torque specifications. 

Visit MacFarlane for Expert Trailer Service and Repair

Many aspects of trailer maintenance can be attempted on your own, but if you find yourself out of your element, give us a call or schedule an appointment on our website. We will be happy to diagnose any problems we see, offer you a good deal on the parts we have in stock and provide potential solutions if a new trailer is what you need. We have at least 10 different types of high-quality trailers, including flatbeds, single-axle, tandem-axle, and tilt-beds.