TRAILER AND CARAVAN MAINTENANCE
How many times have you been travelling somewhere, and you see a car with a trailer or caravan on the side of the road with a missing or blown tyre?
The trailer is normally loaded to the max
and the driver is not looking too happy!
Don’t let this be you next time you’re towing a trailer or van!
A little bit of maintenance before you head off can go a long way to avoiding a lot of problems when you’re on the road, away from home.
Maintaining something while you can is a lot easier to do than trying to repair it on the side of the road somewhere.
Not only is a breakdown frustrating, it can be dangerous. Keep in mind your safety and the safety of other road users.
For example, poorly maintained wheel bearings can overheat and cause a stub axel to break, sending the wheel flying up the road on its own! A runaway tyre could cause a very bad accident.
There are of course different levels of maintenance and not everybody is a mechanic, but the following are just a few tips that should be done no matter what skills you have.
The easiest step - have a walk around the trailer or caravan, and look for any damage or wear. Also check that it is securely attached to the towing vehicle. Sounds simple, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
SAFETY CHAINS - look for wear or damage. Has it been dragged on the road or stretched
RATED D SHACKLES - It is a legal requirement to have Rated D shackles. Check them out at your local auto store
LIGHT PLUG - Look for wear or damage. Make sure the lead is secure in the back of the plug
BRAKE FLUID (if it has hydraulic brakes)
DRAWBAR - does it look ok? No damage or cracks in the main frame?
TYRES - look for wear or damage
If the tyres are worn on both sides of the tread this could indicate low pressure
If the tyre looks worn in the middle this could indicate the pressure is too high
A tyre that shows wear on the inside of the tread can indicate a bent axle or loose/worn wheel bearings
SPARE TYRE - does it have air in it? Is it secure?
LIGHTS - Make sure the lights look ok with no broken lens.
REGISTRATION - Is the trailer registered?
INSURANCE – Make sure you are adequately insured
Making sure your lights are in working order is not only for safety reasons, but also to make sure you don’t get pulled over and fined or defected – which is the last thing you want on a trip away!
Before you head off, get someone to help you check the lights: