All posts by Jessica

3 Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Utility Trailer

Utility trailers are incredibly useful and pleasantly low maintenance in comparison to some of their more specialized counterparts. Whether you’re planning on hauling frequently or only once and a while, or carrying multiple items of various shapes and sizes or just some simple equipment, knowing these three things can help you make the right purchase.

1. Licensing and insurance. If you’re paying your hard-earned cash for a solid piece of equipment, you’ll want to be sure that you include licensing (and insurance if you plan on paying for a separate plan) in your budgeting and/or timeline. This shouldn’t be too much of a hassle, but you should do some research or ask about it at your local DMV.

2. Size and load. Consider what you will be hauling. There are a lot of different models with many different specifications, and so keeping your goals in mind will help narrow down the search and leave you happy with the end product. Many general purpose users like open trailers, and err on the smaller side so that it isn’t too difficult to park and tow (think 5’x10’ or 6’x12’).

3. Trailer hitch. You need to make sure that your hitch has the right capacity. You also don’t want it riding too high or too low, which can result in an imbalance and could possibly cause an accident. Keep the road and yourself safe by making sure it’s properly installed and locked before using.

Are you looking for a utility trailer? Let us know what you’ll use it for!

What’s the Difference Between Buying a Bearing and a Bearing Kit?

If you’re looking to purchase bearings for your trailer, you might notice that sellers offer bearings as well as bearing kits. What’s the difference?

Bearings are exactly that: just the bearing. You can buy them individually or in bulk, but they include no other parts in the purchase.

Bearing kits contain more than just the bearings. They usually include races, seals, washers, and pins – with different components depending on the manufacturer and the kind you’re looking to purchase.

Prices between each vary by the seller, but while bearing kits are more expensive, you’re getting more for your money in the purchase. We recommend taking a look at your wheel and figuring out which option is best for you.

 

How Much Does It Cost to Repack a Wheel Bearing?

In a car, it will cost between $100 and $400 on average to have your bearings checked, repacked, or changed professionally (depending on your location and mechanic). Some servicers will provide these optionally during break tune-ups; others do not. Trailers tend to be cheaper to repack professionally (think $100-$200), but don’t underestimate the power of the upsells a mechanic might try to give you.

If you’re serious about cash, you can likely save a few bucks by repacking your bearings yourself. However, the tradeoff is a few hours of your time to learn and do the procedure, and a probable lack of experience in doing so. You stand to save a considerable amount of money if you do it right though – just make sure you know what you’re doing. Best case scenario: find someone who has done it before and ask them to show you how it’s done!

Whether you choose to use a professional or do it yourself, weigh the pros and cons of each option carefully before making your decision.

Don’t know what repacking a bearing means? Read this article to find out! Wondering how to repack it yourself? Here is a simple how-to guide for you to use.

 

What Does Repacking a Bearing Mean?

Chances are that at some point in your trailer ownership, someone will tell a story about “repacking” their bearings or you’ll stumble across the term on the internet and you’ll have to go looking for its meaning.

We’re here to help you define the term and give you a quick how-to on how to tell if you need to do it.

The Definition

Repacking a bearing is the process of removing the parts of the wheel to access, clean, and add more grease to the bearing.

How can I tell if I need to repack it?

If you jack the trailer up and put a jack stand beneath it, you can tell if you need to repack your bearing by attempting to shake the wheel up and down and side to side. If it moves, this indicates the bearings are bad.

How do I repack it?

We have a wonderful and easy-to-follow guide available to you here! Many people prefer to take the trailer (or other wheeled vehicle) to a specialist to have their bearings repacked. Bearings are delicate parts and no one wants to mess it up. Whether you choose to repack them on your own or seek a mechanic, now you know what “repacking” means and if you need to do it.

 

Bearings: What They Are and What They Do

Simply put, a bearing is a collection of metallic (usually steel) balls held together by a ring known as the race. This goes on the inner part of the wheel to help it spin smoothly around the axle.

Their “job” is to decrease friction upon rotation. Should a wheel have just been spinning around the axle with nothing to act as a friction-decreasing agent, either or both parts would wear out much faster and cause damage to your vehicle.

Wheel bearings exist on all sorts of vehicles today, including cars, bicycles, and (of course) trailers.

This month we’ll be sharing more information about bearings, so stay tuned!

Why You Should Use Nylon Winch Straps

The synthetic materials industry has made its way to boat winches, and we’re happy they’re here! While steel rope still has its purpose for some winches, boats can often get by with its modern nylon compatriot in their winches.

Why do we like nylon winch straps?

The material is lightweight and easier to wind. Even heavy duty straps are reasonably light, like this one that has a 10,000-pound break strength and 3,300-pound working load and only weighs eight pounds! Unlike steel rope, it is less likely to get odd kinks as it is wrapped around the drum and this in turn lessens the probability of odd internal wearing.

What are the negatives of nylon winch straps?

Nylon winch straps are more prone to wear from the elements and from constant abrasion. Regularly checking the strap for fraying and tearing will prevent an accident the next time you use your winch, and will give you a nice heads up for knowing when you need to purchase a new one.

 

3 Questions to Ask About Your Winch

These three questions may seem obvious, but amidst the busy summer hauling, it can be easy to overlook your winch and its health. By regularly running through this list, you can ensure maximum efficiency and safety when using your trailer winch.

Is there obvious wire wear? Whether you’re using a wire or synthetic material, your winch strap will wear out. Some damage is more obvious than others though, so regularly check your strap for wears, tears, kinks, frays, or weakened spots to make sure it doesn’t snap and cause an accident.

Are there any leaks, rust, or other damage to the drum? If your strap is the arm of the winch, then the drum is the muscle. You want to make sure that it is in tip-top shape for hauling your load up. Time and elements, as well as any sort of impact, can damage your winch, so be sure to keep an eye on it and keep it clean, dry, and protected.

Am I using the proper parts for this specific model? Not all winches are equal. Different manufacturers and different models have different intended purposes – and different parts to go with them. Always check to make sure that you’re using the right kind of lubricant, that it is okay to use a specific type of strap, and that there aren’t additional variables that you should be aware of. If you don’t have your user’s manual, check the manufacturer’s website: some provide model manuals online.

 

5 Know-Hows for Winch Maintenance and Care

You’ve invested a lot in your trailer, and you want the longest life from its features that you can get. Daily wear and ordinary circumstances can take a toll on it, however, and knowing how to maintain and care for parts like a winch is important to securing the overall durability of your product.

  1. Know how to respool your wire; kinked line can rapidly wear out

  2. Check your wire frequently for wearing or fraying

  3. Replace wire rope every six months if regularly used – even if it looks intact. Internal damage might not be visible but can be caused with uneven stressing (similar to tire wear)

  4. Lubricate your drum at least once a season (lubricants are often specified in user manuals)

  5. Protect your winch from the elements as much as possible. Sunlight, rain, and snow can all cause damage long term, so even a tarp thrown over your winch is better than nothing at all

The Trailer Accessory That’s (Almost) a Necessity: Winches

There are some things that your boat trailer can do without, but winches would not be one we’d recommend leaving behind. Generally used to haul or hold objects into place, winches are widely used and hugely helpful for owners of large vehicles such as trucks, boats, and off-roaders.

How do winches work?

Winches are pulling mechanisms. Their power comes from winding wire around a drum at a steady tension and pace. Depending on the winch and its intended purpose, those two basic elements (the drum and the wire) may come in a variety of materials, sizes, and even shapes. This affects their load and hauling capacity.

Because winches differentiate so widely, we recommend you read your manual closely upon purchase, so that you are aware of any variations in its style and material. Always be sure to check whether or not you’re getting the right winch for the job, or you may be replacing it sooner than you think.

What are its uses?

Whether or not you’re familiar with winches or not, you might be surprised how commonly winches are used. Tow trucks utilize heavy towing winches to pull cars and other vehicles that have had mechanical failures on a road.  Often times, four-wheelers and other off-roading vehicles will use winches to pull themselves out of mud. Truck owners might use a winch to haul stuff onto their bed, making loading faster and easier.

And, of course, boat owners love using winches to help tow their boats!

 

What Not to Forget: Trailer Tire Oxidation

Oxidation is the damaging of rubber due to exposure to UV radiation, ozone, and pressurized oxygen. Even if you use your trailer very little and your tires don’t wear out, industry professionals still recommend you change your tires every three to five years. Trailers are especially likely to succumb to oxidation rather than the typical tire wear you might find on a car or truck, because they generally are used far less and therefore have their tires replaced less regularly.

To help decrease oxidation:

  • Keep your trailer out of direct sunlight and elements

  • Cover your wheels when not in use

  • Inspect your tires regularly

  • Clean away exhaust build up, as chemicals can cause inner-rubber damage

Increased risk factors for oxidation:

  • Hot temperatures

  • Direct exposure to elements

  • Nearby release of exhaust

Even if your tires look like they’re in great condition, if you’ve owned them for over three years it may be time to talk to a professional about replacing them. Rubber damage might not be visible, but that doesn’t mean that the results of oxidation might not affect their performance or safety.