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Winter checklist: Top 5 tips for trailer maintenance

 Just like any vehicle, regular maintenance is essential to keep your trailers valuable, safe and roadworthy. Not carrying the maintenance of your trailer, especially in the winter season, can result in serious damage for both the driver, the trailer and other users on the road. Therefore, a regular trailer maintenance is the best way to protect your fleet, especially in winter.

We have listed below the recommendation for a minimum trailer maintenance a fleet owner should do, to ensure your vehicle is safe and will perform better and last longer. However, depending on the trailer type, size and usage (including mileage and cargo weight), your trailer could potentially need more maintenance checks on the different components than the below checklist.

  1. Lighting

First and foremost, make sure all your trailer lights are working properly, whatever your trailer type is. During winter, days are shorter and darker: for this reason, it is vitally important to check all lighting:

  • Trailer's front lights
  • Trailer's Back lights
  • Side marker lights

Finally, check if the registration plate and the reflectors visibility are clearly illuminated.

  1. Tyre tread and tyre wear:

Worn tyres reduce starting traction by 30% to 50%: it is good practice to ensure your tyre treads depth do not get below 3mm.

Worn tyres can also burst on the road, especially at high speeds. Therefore, it is crucial to check your tyres’ life expectancy, and watch for these two wear signs:

  • The center wear, which indicates over-inflated tyre
  • The outer wear, which indicates under-inflated tyre
  1. Tyre pressure:

Ensuring good tyre pressure is crucial to ensure safe and reliable operation, while reducing fuel consumption. Each manufacturer has its own specifications: they are either indicated on the tyre’s sidewall, in your trailer’s owner manual or on the tyre manufacturer’s website. The tyre pressure is either rated in PSI or pounds per square inch.

Tyre pressure must be checked a few hours after parking the trailer, to get an accurate reading and rating. Most common tyres need to be pressured to at least 8.5 Bar. Please note that low pressure can result in blowouts. Also, if you are travelling to the Nordics or in a snow area, check for mandatory regulations on mud + snow tyres.

To further save costs and reduce vehicle downtime, you can install a tyre pressure monitoring solution for trailers (TPMS). It helps maintain tyre pressure, detecting slow punctures early, maximizing tyre life and allowing tyres to be repaired rather than be replaced.

  1. Brakes:

Check your brake operations and brake air pipes. When the weather gets colder, the brake connections and airlines can freeze or split due to the condensed water in the brake system. This in turn can lead to two major issues:

  • failure of the braking operation which can cause a serious accident
  • excessive brake lining and drum/disc wear

Therefore, it is highly recommended to check the sealing rubbers of the coupling hands at regular intervals for leaks. We advise you to always have a spare in the trailer: the yellow and red and the air coils.

Finally, the air tank of the trailer should be checked regularly for condensation, which can easily be removed via the drain valves of the air tank underneath.

  1. Vehicle and trailer body:

Finally, the last maintenance check is your trailer body:

  • Check door condition if applicable; inspect all seals for damage, as well as cables, latches and holdbacks
  • Check roof condition; keep it clean (it must be free of snow) and inspect seams, seals and the roofing membrane for damage
  • Check registration plates; it must be correctly affixed to the trailer and clearly visible

More generally, we advise you to regularly wash and clean your trailer. There might be dirt on your body, on your chassis or on your roof, especially in autumn and winter when driving on dirt roads.

Make sure all the above components are compliant with MOT. Some of these checks require specific tools, knowledge, and skills. If you can’t unsure how to maintain them, you can outsource your trailer maintenance to an experienced and reliable third party.

 

Protect your fleet with TIP

TIP Trailer Services is a highly experienced provider of trailer maintenance and repair programs. We have been servicing trailers for over 50 years. We offer our customers maintenance and repair services with or without a contract. Our programs provide cost savings, flexibility, and access to a large team of qualified technicians trained on the latest technologies and working from a network of 115 workshops in Europe and Canada.

For more information about the maintenance programs of TIP Trailer Services, or on our TPMS solution, please send us a maintenance request or contact us.

 

2021/11/24

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