8 Trailer Parts To Inspect Before You Hit The Road

Until you’ve had a blow out on a trailer while cruising at 70 mph on the interstate, it’s hard to have a full appreciation of a proper trailer inspection prior to your trip. Trailer safety awareness is best heeded prior to your trip, as opposed to a ticket by an observant member of law enforcement because your trailers wiring is messed up and your brake lights aren’t working.

A full inspection is time well invested prior to loading it up and hitting the road. Not only are trailer breakdowns expensive, they are dangerous for you, your passengers and other vehicles around you while on the road.

Check It Out – Thoroughly

There are several trailer parts that you need to check before taking a trip. Repair or replace broken trailer parts before you hit the road to ensure a safe trip.

1. Trailer Tires

Check the tires for dry rot, splitting and inflation. If you question their ability to make the trip, replace them. Make sure that you can remove and replace the lug nuts. It’s hard to change a tire if you can’t remove it.

Tire Wear Chart
source: www.boatus.com

2. Trailer Bearings

If you haven’t packed the wheel bearings recently, or don’t know when they were last serviced, this would be a good time to do that. A locked wheel bearing is like a blown tire, maintaining control of a trailer is difficult at speed in these occurrences.

3. Trailer Brakes

Not all trailers have brakes, but if they do, they also need to be inspected prior to taking off. Trailer brake systems can be either mechanical or hydraulic. No matter which type your trailer has, they need to be inspected for proper function. Because it’s great to finally get rolling, but you want to be able to stop safely, too.

Rusty Trailer Brakes
source: www.thehulltruth.com

4. Light it Up

Connect your trailer to the vehicle that you will use to tow it and make sure that your brake lights, turn signals, running lights and other trailer parts are working properly. Improper lighting is unsafe and can be costly if it is not working properly.

5. Your Tow Vehicle

What you tow with is as important as what you are towing. Make sure that your tow vehicle has the towing capacity to pull the trailer. The answer to this question is found in your vehicles owner’s manual your local trailer parts dealer or from your cars manufacturer. Check the trailer hitch where it is attached under the vehicle to make sure that it is secure. Check the ball on the hitch and make sure that it is the proper size trailer part for both the tow vehicle and the hitch. The wiring harness on the tow vehicle needs to be checked to make sure it works properly.

6. Trailer Hitch

Likewise, the trailer hitch on the trailer needs to be inspected and any loose bolts need to be tightened, and if the parts are rusty, oil them so that they work freely. Again, check that the ball size on the tow vehicle matches that hitch size of the trailer.

7. Chain it down

Those rattling chains aren’t for looks, they are there to catch the trailer if the ball hitch fails and they should be sufficient in size to take the weight, in that event.

8. Load it up

Now that you have checked your trailer from hitch to tail light, it’s time to load it. Refer to the trailer manual for the trailer you are towing for suggested weight distribution or your load and hit the road.

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Trailer Tires & Rims
Trailer Bearings
Trailer Brakes
Trailer Lights & Wiring
Trailer Hitches

7 thoughts on “8 Trailer Parts To Inspect Before You Hit The Road

  1. I always do an inspection before I start my travels. However, I sometimes forget your tip number seven. The chains are something I have to always remind myself to check. I want to be safe on the road, and having a run through before I leave, will help me do that.

  2. I’d have to say that having a breakdown when towing a trailer can be quite costly. Since you have all of that extra weight, it’s a bit hard to control when something is going wrong. Whenever I go on trips, I make sure to check everything from the tow bar to the lights. One of my tires is a bit worn so I’ll have to get that replaced before I head out.

  3. Thanks for your tips about what trailer parts to check before you head out on vacation or for work. I really like how you include pictures of the different types of tire wear and what could cause them. You also make a great point to check your trailer hitch to make sure that the bolts are tight and that it’s in good repair. One thing to check is that your hitch is rated for the weight you are towing. This can help prevent accidents and damage.

  4. I’ve never used a trailer before and I’ve been asked to drive one to my dad’s new house this weekend. I want to make sure that I do this right and get there in one piece. This helped me know what to look for in bad parts, and I hope that everyone of them will be in good shape.

  5. I took a trip with my trailer last month. Luckily, before I went, I read your article and did a thorough check of my trailer before I left. I noticed some parts that looked in bad shape. I had to get them replaced, but I was grateful nothing bad happened on the road. Thanks for the article!

  6. Great advice for preparing for your trailer inspection. You definitely don’t want to be caught on the road without having checked all of these out beforehand. Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. Thanks for explaining what to inspect on a truck before going on a long trip. I’m glad that you mentioned to inspect the breaks, if they have them. I’d be interested in learning more about the differences of a mechanical versus a hydraulic system, and how these systems differ in terms of inspection.

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