A few tips for using and maintaining your trailer!
Choose the right ball to hitch your trailer!
There are many options of trailer ball sizes. Choosing the right ball size to hitch your trailer is important for safety since the wrong size can lead to the trailer decoupling from your vehicle while in transit, potentially causing serious road accidents. It is all too common to see 1 7/8” balls being used on the road, when a size 2’’ or 2 5/16” would have been more appropriate.
Inspect your trailer before hitting the road!
Here are a few important steps to ensure safety:
- Safety chains (Verify that all safety chains are properly attached, and when installed, they should be crossed under the tongue of the trailer.).
- All lights should be operational (brake lights and blinkers).
- Check tire pressure and wear.
- Hubcaps should be in place.
- Weight should be distributed evenly and cargo properly secured.
- Hubs should be greased.
Distribute the weight of your cargo!
The proper distribution of your cargo is key for your safety and that of others, and for the longevity of your trailer. Weight concentrated at the front will strain that end of the trailer as well as the suspension of the vehicle pulling it, which can lead to major damage to both trailer and vehicle. On the other hand, weight disproportionately placed at the back of the trailer can cause an imbalance, leading it to swing from left to right. This can result in a loss of control of your vehicle and increase the chance of damage.
Couple your trailer evenly!
In addition to even weight distribution, it is important to align your vehicle and trailer at the same height before coupling to the ball hitch. Make sure both the front and the back of the trailer are aligned; this will help your suspension.
Respect your trailer’s load capacity!
Overloading your trailer is one of the main causes of damage. When you load, make sure you respect the nominal gross trailer weight (G.T.W. refers to the combined weight of the trailer and all of its contents.) The G.T.W. should not exceed the axles’ weight limit. Multiple components of your trailer are affected by weight overload, and this excess can bend the axles, blow tires, twist the drawbar, or even damage the frame or suspension of your vehicle.
Is your trailer spending the winter outdoors? Snow removal is important!
If you do not have a place to store your trailer during the winter months, make sure to regularly remove snow to avoid overloading. You will avoid damage and it will also be more readily available come spring!
Use the right products to clean your trailer! Cleanliness helps the durability and longevity of your trailer, in addition to keeping it aesthetically pleasing. Whether galvanized or aluminum, wash with water and a mild soap. Never use corrosive products in the hope of increasing its lustre or shine; you will likely damage the rustproof surface, thus decreasing its longevity while increasing the chance of rust.