As simple as it sounds there are a few items that require attention every trip (pre-trip inspection). Yes it is necessary! Most don’t spend the time to do this on the towing vehicle either, however you are able to feel and hear issues under motion and many vehicles are equipped with sensor systems to caution the driver of trouble. Your trailer does not.
What should you do? How should you prepare? These items are for any and all types of light and medium duty trailers.
- Connect electric cord
- Check electric cords for corrosion or cracks in cable or wires
- Also look for damaged or bent pins on plug and vehicle outlet, replace if worn or damaged.
- Verify proper ball size.
- Apply grease on ball and place coupler on ball latch.
- Install safety pin (if equipped) and retract or fold up jack.
- Connect safety chains, be sure to cross them. Have ample slack for turning but yet not dragging on the ground.
- For trailers with electric or hydraulic brakes connect the breakaway cable to the tow vehicle. This must be connected to something other than the hitch or safety chain area.
Many trailers are used infrequently and tires tend to lose pressure faster this way. The correct pressure will be stamped or printed on the side wall of the tire. The tire pressure should be set at that amount.
Reminder: Trailers are light weight which makes it difficult to see low tire pressure
(unlike on vehicles). Please do not rely on eye sight when it comes to the tire
pressure of your trailer!
Each time you connect your trailer to a towing vehicle, turn on as many lights as possible and check that they are working.
Some trailers are equipped with built in lubrication systems (i.e. EZ lube, Oil Bath, Sure Lube and Bearing Buddies). These systems will be discussed in further detail on another segment. The most common is known as a semi sealed or hand pack system.
All need attention and constant observation.
How to test a bearing easily:
Feel for any “end play” in the hub assembly
Grab hold of the top of the tire and push in, then pull out. Movement more than 1/16” to 1/8” is not safe to operate. Attention is required BEFORE use!
Check that ALL are secure:
- Load is properly tied down and safe for travel
- All doors and ramps are latched and/or locked
- Floor is in good condition
Load securement will be covered in greater detail in the future