A trailer is very much a utilitarian tool. Many people pay little or no attention to its upkeep, as they don't expect anything to go wrong. It's not like the towing vehicle, after all, which everyone expects to repair at some point. Yet if you do not pay an adequate amount of attention to trailer maintenance, you may find that you're sitting at the side of a dirt road somewhere with an expensive failure on your hands. What do you need to be looking out for so this doesn't happen to you?
Focusing on the Springs
Your main focus of attention when maintaining a trailer should be on the quality and upkeep of your springs. These are a critical part of the suspension setup. Most trailers are fitted with a particular type of leaf spring, whether it's an enclosed box, a ute or a boat trailer. If you happen to carry heavy loads on a regular basis, you should especially pay attention to the state of the springs before each major journey. At the very least you should have an expert look at the condition of the springs during an annual maintenance check.
Checking for Cracks
Have a good look in the area around the bolts that connect the springs on both ends to the hangar. This is typically the first area to exhibit issues and you should be looking for any cracks, no matter how small they may seem. If you see cracks here, it is time to replace the entire spring set on both sides or risk complete suspension failure or damage to the axle, tyre or hub.
Have a look at the individual leaves of the spring. They should be tight together and you shouldn't see any light in between them. This can happen as the springs start to fatigue and the tension gives out. They will then 'flatten', causing them to pull apart from each other.
Checking for Corrosion
What kind of condition are the leaf springs in, generally? In other words, how deep does that rust penetrate? A certain amount of surface corrosion is fine and to be expected, but if you can fairly easily break off some chunks of rust, or can see that the damage is penetrating, then it is time to take action.
Protecting the Springs
You can protect your springs from rusting in the future by smearing some wax over them. Make sure that you warm it up before you do this to make it easier to adhere. This can form a protective coating that repels rainwater and will prevent the metal from oxidising as easily.
Don't hesitate to get new trailer suspension parts if you're worried about the trailer's ability to tow.Share
30 November 2016
I love to take my car down to the track on the weekend. Running a race car is an expensive exercise so I need to be smart about how I spend my limited car budget. I do some of my auto servicing myself, but I don't have the equipment to some of the more complex jobs. I have put a lot of time and energy into my car so it's quite a commitment to trust someone else with my car, even for a few days, so I've found a trustworthy car service centre with a lot of experience in high performance vehicles. This blog has some tips on finding car servicing for racing cars.