Trailer maintenance is about a lot more than just following proper operating procedures and fixing things when they break. In order to avoid costly and dangerous breakdowns and/or accidents, it’s good to get into the habit of checking common points of failure before you set out for the day’s work.
With that in mind, here is a list of 10 items that should be double-checked every time you set out to use your trailer:
- Tires, Wheels and Lug Nuts
Wheel lugs can shift and settle quickly after being first assembled. That’s why it’s recommended that you retighten your lugs after the first 10, 25 and 50 miles of driving a new trailer or after a tire change. Always check to make sure everything is tight and secure.
- Tire Pressure
Always check the tire pressure on both your trailer and tow vehicle. This is always important, but especially so if you plan to haul a heavy load and put extra stress on your tires.
- Coupler Secured and Locked
Having a loaded (or unloaded) trailer come uncoupled while driving is extremely dangerous – not just to you but also other drivers on the road. Always make sure the trailer is properly and securely coupled to your tow vehicle.
- Safety Chains
Ensure that your safety chains are in good condition and properly rigged to your tow vehicle – not to the hitch or ball.
- Test Tail, Stop, and Turn Lights
Working lights on both your trailer and tow vehicle are essential to safe driving for both you and the other drivers who share the road.
- Test Trailer Brakes
If your trailer is equipped with brakes, always ensure they are working before you set out on the road where you will need to rely on them.
- Safety Breakaway Lanyard Fastened
Ensure that your breakaway lanyard is properly fastened to your tow vehicle – not your safety chains.
- Cargo Properly Loaded, Balanced and Tied Down
Ensure that the weight does not exceed your trailer’s weight rating, that the weight is properly distributed, and that the load is securely tied down.
- Tongue Weight
Remember that a portion of your trailer’s weight is supported by the tongue of your tow vehicle. Ensure that you haven’t exceeded the tongue weight rating, and this also ties into making sure your load is properly distributed in the trailer.
- Ramps Secured for Travel
You don’t want your ramps sliding out while driving. Always make sure they are secured before you leave.
Do you have all of these items on your pre-tow checklist? Maybe you even have a few more. If you feel like we forgot anything, leave it in the comments below.
Take good care of your trailer and your trailer will take good care of you. As always, be safe out there.