Posted by Tim on 2/14/2014
to Boat Trailers
Other drivers, road hazards and the weather are beyond your control. Take steps to ensure your safety before you head out on your next adventure with your trailer. Just as pilots perform a preflight checklist before taking to the skies, it is a good idea to inspect your trailer brakes and tires well ahead of your next trip. A little planning makes all the difference when it comes to safety.
If you do not know who has installed the brakes on your trailer, have your trailer brakes checked by a professional. Make sure that they are properly installed and capable of pulling the load of your trailer. After that, inspect and clean them yearly, and make any needed adjustments. These tasks are not overly complicated, but if you are unfamiliar with the process, leave them to a professional.
To do it yourself, you must be familiar with using a jack. Remove the drum, and check for worn shoe linings. If the linings appear damaged or measure less than 1/16 inch, replace them. Also check the magnet arm and the drum itself for wear and loose parts. Keep in mind that if you need to replace anything on one brake, you should also replace the same items on the other side because they share the same axle. Do not use compressed air for cleaning. Clean everything with a soft, damp cloth, and use a little white lithium grease where the shoe contacts the backing plate. If you need to adjust the distance between the shoes and drums, use a jack stand so that the weight of the trailer is not on the wheel. Remove the plug, if one exists, and use an adjusting tool inserted into the slotted hole to rotate the shoes against the drum. Keep rotating until it does not go any further, and then back off enough so that the wheel turns easily with a slight drag.
Proper inflation is the key to tire safety. Under inflation is the biggest cause of problems. Carefully check each tire for cracks, bulges, and intact valve stems and caps. Expect your trailer tires to last three to five years, even if they still have ample tread left when that time has passed. If you are ever unfortunate enough to experience a trailer tire blow-out, be sure to carefully inspect the remaining tires, or have a professional inspection done.
Maintenance of your trailer is as important as is using quality parts. Sturdy Built Trailer Parts has what you need to keep your trailer in excellent shape. When it comes to hauling a heavy load, do not skimp or take shortcuts. The road is risky enough. Stay on top of the maintenance, and then let your trailer brakes and tires do their job. These tasks do not take a lot of time and are worth the effort to protect your investment and your adventures.