All posts by Jessica

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.

 

The Penny Test: Checking Tire Tread on Your Trailer

In the US, there’s a simple trick to checking your tire tread to see if you need to replace it. It’s called the Penny Test, and it can help determine how much your trailer tires have been worn down.

You can try the Penny Test in three simple steps:

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Step 1: Find a penny.

Step 2: Turn Lincoln’s head upside down.

Step 3: Insert into tire tread rib.

If the top of Lincoln’s head disappears into the tread, your tread is still deep enough. If all of his head is visible, you should look into purchasing new tires.

If you have any doubts about your tires, you should get them checked by a professional. Do-it-yourself tricks like this are handy for day-to-day maintenance, but nothing beats the eye of someone who knows what they’re doing. Here are some of our best tips to avoiding tire wear and tear.

Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/355151120588168070/

 

Repair or Replace: Knowing the Severity of Tire Damage

If you think your trailer tires are damaged, it can be hard to bite the bullet and get them inspected. Damaged tires, however, can be extremely dangerous, and you should know what to do look for when inspecting your trailer tires for abuse.

DO NOT drive your trailer if your tires are compromised. Give them the benefit of the doubt and rest your wheels.

When To Look for Damage

The short answer is: ALWAYS.

  • You should conduct regular checks to look for punctures, cuts, cracks, bulges, bumps, or splits

  • Watch your tread wear and if the tire grooves are worn to the indicators (generally 1.6 mm)

  • Inspect your tires for uneven wear

When to Bring in the Professionals

  • If you hit an object in the road–professional inspection can ensure that it does not have a sudden blowout at a later date

  • If your tires show signs of aforementioned damage (punctures, cuts, cracks, etc.)

  • If rims show any signs of cracking

  • If your treads are worn low or worn unevenly

When to Repair

Repair should be done at your trailer dealer’s or repairman’s discretion. They will know better than you the condition of your tires, and whether or not replacement is a better option. However:

  • Do not repair tires that are worn below 1.6mm

  • Do not repair tires with significant punctures

  • Do not use plugs to repair your tires

The bottom line: follow the advice of your trailer professional, and if you’re uncertain, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Damaged trailer tires are more than just a hazard to the assets on board; they’re a risk to your health and life.

 

The Do’s and Don’ts to Avoiding Tire Wear and Tear

2016-06-16_0956We all want our trailer tires to have the longest life possible, but some habits are more destructive than others. Here are some tips to extending tire longevity – and increasing the life of your trailer as well.

DO check your tire inflation. Both over-inflating and under-inflating your tears can cause uneven wearing.

DO check your tire alignment. If your tires are misaligned, you may find your trailer veering on the road. Rotate your tires twice a year to help them wear evenly.

DO drive safely. Taking curves too fast will not only put a lot of stress on your vehicle and trailer, but will also cause the front of your tires to wear unevenly.

DON’T leave your trailer exposed to the weather. It goes without saying that the elements can cause damage to your trailer. Moisture and sun are particularly unfriendly to your trailer tires. Protect your trailer with a cover, and inspect your wheels for rust or loose fittings regularly.

DON’T drive over strange objects on the road. Things like rough stones, sharp branches, and nails may puncture your tire tread or cause damage to the hub. Try to avoid them when driving, and be sure to pick up scraps that might be lurking around your storage unit.

5 Ways to Remove Rust from Your Trailer Spring

No one wants any part of their trailer to rust, but rusty springs can negatively impact your suspension, leading to costly repairs. We have compiled a list of simple and popular methods to remove rust from trailer parts like springs, but remember: if your trailer spring is significantly rusted, the safest course of action is to replace it. Damaged springs will hinder your trailer’s use.  2016-05-31_1200

1. Abrasion

Using an abrasive material such as steel wool, a wire brush, or sandpaper to remove the surface rusting. Deeper rust might not be affected, but scrubbing away the worst of the loose particles may be easier than you think.

2. Vinegar

The acidic nature of white vinegar makes it a useful weapon against rusting objects, and many people swear by its efficacy. Simply place your spring in a container with vinegar, swish it around, and then let it sit for a day or more. The longer the spring is in the vinegar, the longer the acid has to corrode the rust.

3. Baking soda

Dig into your pantry, mix some baking soda and water into a thick paste. Apply the paste (it shouldn’t run; if it does, add more baking soda) and let it dry. Then use a brush to remove the paste and rust. For small or hard to reach areas, as might be found on a trailer spring, a stiff toothbrush works better than you might think!

4. Lemon juice and salt

Depending on the location of the rust, this solution might be the one for you. Rub salt over the rusted area and then squeeze lemon juice atop of the salt. Leave to sit for a few hours and then scour the rust away. Steel wool works well, but should be used gently, so as not to damage the metal further. This method is best used on small patches of rust in easy-to-access areas.

5. Homemade and store solutions

Solutions can be found in most hardware stores, as well as all over the internet. Many of the homemade ones include some combination of the methods we’ve listed here. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could try making your own! Remember, the key to removing rust often lies in a bit of elbow grease (such as method 1) and some corrosive substances (2-4).

 

Maximizing the Use of Your U-Bolt

Not all U-bolts are  created equal, and treating them as such may shorten their lifespan  and hinder your trailer springs’ effectiveness in the long haul as well. Are you using the right U-bolt for your trailer? Answer these three questions to find out.boat-and-trailer.jpg

Do you have the right bend?

Trailer U-bolts come in different fits, such as the square bend and the round bend. If the U-bolt is only contacting the center or the corners of your spring or hardware instead of the entire piece, you may need to take a look at a different bend. If you have the wrong fit, undue strain may lie on certain parts of your U-bolt, rather than being evenly distributed.

Do you have the right size?

Trailer U-bolts are sized differently to provide maximum clamping force. The diameter of the U-bolt leg, the distance between the legs, and the length of the legs themselves all play a role in how much stress is impacting your U-bolt. View our detailed explanation on how to measure your U-bolt for more information.

Is your U-bolt made to last?

Used U-bolts can rust and threads can become damaged over time. We recommend that you always buy galvanized or stainless steel U-bolts for your trailer for maximum lifespan, and replace them if they wear out. Do not reuse U-bolts, as stress may have damaged them over time and reuse will only further compromise their integrity.

 

Behind the Numbers: How to Measure Your Trailer U-Bolt

When you’re looking to purchase a U-bolt for your trailer, the size of the product will be listed as something like this:

 

ubolt_big

⅜ X 1 ¾” X4”? What do those numbers mean, and how can I use them to determine the right product for me? You may be asking yourself these questions; we’re here to answer them for you.

Any U-bolt, trailer or otherwise, is measured using these three dimensions:

Diameter of leg X Distance Between Legs X Leg Length*

In this picture, measure A is the Distance Between Legs, and measure B represents Leg Length.

ubolt_smallIn the case of the first product shown in image 1, then the measurements are as follows:

Diameter of Leg = ⅜ “
Distance Between Legs = 1 ¾ “
Leg Length = 4”

*It is important to note that Leg Length is measured from the base of the leg to the inside curve of the bend, not the top of the bend.

Using these three numbers, you will now be able to determine what size U-bolt you currently have in order to replace it. If you are having trouble fitting your trailer U-bolt correctly, you can learn about other characteristics that might be affecting your U-bolt fit, or contact us directly.

 

3 Things to Know Before Purchasing Replacement Springs for your Trailer

If you’ve decided that your trailer springs need replacing, you may feel intimidated by the next step of purchasing new ones. After all, it’s a big market, and you want your trailer to look and function at its best.

 But there’s hope: replacing the springs on your trailer doesn’t have to be a hard decision to make. Use these three questions to guide you to choosing the right spring for your trailer, no matter the kind.

1.       What kind of spring needs replacing?

Finding out what kind of trailer spring you need is the first thing you need to do, and while it may seem obvious, it may be less so when you hop online to view products on the market. Double Eye, C-Hook, Slipper, Leaf… Don’t be overwhelmed by the variety. Our recommendation is that you always keep the materials that come with your product so that you are able to identify this step easily when your spring needs replacing, but if you haven’t done so, we can help you.

2.       What size spring do I need?

Trailer springs come in different lengths, so knowing the size of the spring you need is important for making the right purchase for replacement. Sometimes lengths can vary by small increments, such as a quarter of an inch, so be sure to be accurate in your measurements, or find the measurement in the materials from your previous purchase.

3.       Are there other considerations required to replace my spring?

Do you need a spring equalizer, or a U-bolt to help with attachment? Should these materials be galvanized or not? These questions should also be taken into consideration when replacing trailer springs, as they will factor into what you need to purchase and whom you’d like to purchase from.

Use these questions to help guide you towards your next purchase. If you need any help identifying any aspect of your spring listed here, you can go here to compare your current trailer springs with our own detailed catalog, or contact our technical support team to help you.

How to Preload Trailer Bearings

When installing new hubs or new bearings into an old hub, it is necessary to pre-load the bearings. This prevents potential swerving from a wobbly hub. You want to be sure that the races in the hubs are 100% in place against their machined stop points.

First, install the spindle washer and spindle nut onto the spindle with the hub and bearings in place. Tighten the spindle nut finger tight, then tighten it another quarter turn with channel lock pliers or a crescent wrench. This will fully seat the races. Next, loosen the spindle nut until it is very loose, then re-tighten to finger tight to engage the nut retaining device. Some reverse lubricating spindles use a tab washer for the retaining device. It is very important to not run your spindle nut too tight nor too loose. A nut that is too tight will cause your bearings to overheat, while a nut that is too loose can cause individual rollers to come apart in the bearing and then cause the hub to fracture.

After 20 to 40 miles of highway travel, check to see if the hub is loose on the spindle. Pull the tire in and out a few times. If the hub is loose, you will need to re-tighten the spindle nut and re-engage the nut retaining cotter pin or tab washer. Never reuse the same tab on the tab washer. They are designed to be used only once.

You are now ready to install your dustcap and complete the hub installation.

Lose That Leak: How to Replace an Oil Seal

One of the worst things that can happen to a boater on the road is an oil seal leak. A leaky trailer hub can quickly lead to an expensive towing, so make sure to take care the issue as soon as you find it. While the mechanic in this video is a bit tight-lipped, he gives a good demonstration on how to replace an oil seal. The mechanic goes a little fast at times, so we will go through it here.

After removing the tire, remove the hub by tapping it with a with a rubber mallet, spinning it as you go. Make sure to place a bin under the hub to catch the leaking oil.

Next remove the oil cap and drain it. Clean it off for further inspection. Disassemble it and inspect the seals and O-rings for damage.

Then reassemble your cleaned cap with new O-rings. Make sure the seal is secure.

Reinstall the cap to the hub with your mallet, using the tap and turn technique.

Locate and remove the drain plug. Then refill your hub with the appropriate oil.

Make sure to use a sealant on the drain plug when you replace it.

Finally, reinstall the wheel and check that your lug nuts are secure. As always, check all the parts of your hub and trailer before you start driving!

View the full video here