Best Practices for Trailer Maintenance
When thinking about maintaining their fleet, most people immediately think of the tractor before considering the maintenance needs of the trailer. While tractor maintenance is important, regular trailer maintenance is just as important in order to have a fully functioning and healthy tractor-trailer that meets the standards of roadside inspections. Fortunately, trailers made in the past few years are designed and manufactured with durability in mind, so they tend to last longer than those of previous years, but that still need adequate maintenance to ensure they are safe and will pass inspections. When it comes to maintaining trailers, it is essential to focus on a few key practices in order to help improve performance, save money, and pass roadside inspections.
Check Tire Pressure:
One of the most essential components to effectively maintaining your trailer is to ensure that all tires are at proper inflation levels. If you are relying on tire pressure monitoring and inflation systems, these systems still need to be monitored for leaks. Not only will regularly checking and maintain your tires prevent you from failing a roadside inspection, but it will also save you money! Tires can be a major expense, but maintaining proper tire air pressure is the key to ensuring your tires last as long as possible. If you are relying on inflation pressure monitoring systems, make sure that you or your technician is monitoring these regularly to ensure proper functioning. Any trailer repair shop near you should be able to perform the necessary safety checks to confirm that these systems are running as they should be.
Check your Lights:
Another common reason for tractor-trailers failing roadside inspections is burnt-out trailer lights. Sometimes a burnt-out trailer light can be sign of a bigger electrical problem, often due to moisture and corrosion of the electrical system due to exposure to road salt. You or your diesel truck repair shop should be regularly inspecting any lamps, wires and harness systems, and replacing grease at connection points when necessary to save you from further damage and lost time and money as a result of being pulled over for an inspection.
Perhaps most obviously, it is absolutely vital that you or your trailer repair technician should regularly test brakes for issues and to ensure they are replaced when necessary. One easy way to guarantee that a trailer’s brakes are in sufficient condition for driving is to measure the drums during regular maintenance checks to ensure there is enough material to last until the next scheduled maintenance. If the conditions are borderline or questionable, they should be replaced. The angle formed by the air chamber push rod and the slack adjuster should also be checked to ensure brakes are properly adjusted. If this angle does not fall at approximately 90 degrees, the brake most likely needs to be repaired.
Much like road salt can attack and corrode your electrical systems, it can also attack exposed metal parts. When your truck has been exposed to these chemicals, it is a good preventative measure to wash the underside of the trailer, where chemical can sometimes remain for long periods of time, even after the next rain. Not only will this help to remove harmful chemicals, but it also helps to make any issues that arise more easily detectable. It is recommended to wash your trailer every forty-five days, and to bring it to your local trailer repair shop every forty-five to sixty days for more thorough inspection.
Don’t Forget the Interior:
While it’s easy to become focused on solely maintaining the outside of your trailer, it is important not to neglect regular interior maintenance as well. Regularly inspect the inside of your trailer for deep scrapes or holes in the roof, which can cause leaks or infestations. Additionally, look for any broken aluminum cross members.
Ensure the Functionality of Key Security Features:
Always include a close inspection of security features like tie-down straps, ratchets, chains, and winches in your regular trailer maintenance. As you inspect these items, look for holes, tears, snags, cuts, or loose stitching that could compromise their effectivity. Make sure to also regularly lubricate winches and oil ratchets to keep them at their peak functionality and effectiveness.
Finding a Trustworthy Trailer Repair Shop Near You:
While this list may seem simple and straightforward, when you combine all of these tasks with your daily job demands, and all of the other requirements that go into effectively maintaining a tractor-trailer, it is easy to overlook maintenance recommendations like these. Rather than compromising the safety and drivability of your tractor trailer or your whole fleet, you can opt to rely on expert trailer repair technicians to maintain your trailer. Reputable trailer repair technicians will know and practice all of these key elements of maintaining your trailer.
About the Author:
Donnie Zabinski is the President of Penn Jersey Diesel and Trailer, which has been in the trailer business for over 40 years. Penn Jersey proudly sells and repairs everything on trucks and trailers and is considered a full-service heavy truck/ trailer and fleet service provider. Penn Jersey works to build long-term relationships with customers and provide excellent work at a reasonable price.