Winters in the Northeastern United States are the thing of legend. There is a lot of snow, thick layers of ice, and the wind can be brutal.
Unfortunately, work does not stop just because the temperatures have dropped. There are still things which need to be done, and one of those things is taking proper care of your aluminum trailer. You must inspect, maintain and service your trailer regularly to insure safe and reliable operation.
Whether you use it, store it, or a combination of the two, these five things will help you keep your aluminum trailer in its best condition this winter.
1: Add Fall Cleaning to Your Schedule
Everyone’s heard of spring cleaning, but fall cleaning and winter prep can be just as important. Before the weather gets too cold, give your trailer a good cleaning and thorough inspection. If you do notice anything which needs fixing, winter is the perfect time to take care of it!
2: Test Electric Breakaway Breaks
The breakaway brake system includes a battery, a switch with a pull pin and lanyard, and a breakaway brake controller. Extreme cold weather can degrade battery performance and cause brakes not to operate correctly. A discharged brake battery will not activate the brakes if the trailer uncouples from the tow vehicle. To test the breakaway brake battery, remove the pull pin from the switch and attempt to pull the trailer forward. You should feel the trailer resisting being towed, but the wheels will not necessarily be locked. If the brakes do not function, do not tow the trailer until brakes, or battery, are repaired.
3: Check the Tires Often
During the winter months, tires can lose pressure. To avoid low pressure or even worse a flat, check your tires often. Always make sure you check them before taking your trailer on the road if the temperatures have fallen below about 40 degrees. Keep in mind with radial tires it is usually not possible to determine under inflation by visual inspection.
4: Safety Chains & Coupler Hitch Ball
Visually inspect your safety chains for any excessive wear or damage. Also check the couple and hitch ball for cracks, pits, and flats. Check the coupler locking device and grease.
5: Wheels & Lug Nuts
Check for tightness and retorque. Lug nuts or bolts are prone to loosen after being first assembled. It’s a great habit to check to ensure your wheels and lug nuts are properly torqued.
If you practice the five tips listed above, you can make sure you are taking the best care of your aluminum trailer this winter. And remember you can always circle back to your owner’s manual or call to speak with one of our Rugged Trailer Specialists to brush up on the safety and maintenance of your trailer.