Trailer maintenance choices: to repair or to prevent?


Trailer maintenance choices: to repair or to prevent?

Preventative maintenance of your trailers can minimise the likelihood of unexpected trailer breakdowns, and the extra costs and inconvenience associated with these. It can also prevent a niggling voice in the back of your mind pointing out that “If only I had maintained that trailer more regularly, I wouldn’t be in this mess!”

What is preventative maintenance?

Preventative maintenance prevents trailers from breaking down, thereby maximising their availability for delivering goods to customers. Most issues with trailers are maintenance related and can be prevented. It is also costlier to repair unexpected trailer defects than it is to prevent them. Moreover, any undetected mechanical problems with trailers are potential road safety hazards. And once a trailer goes off-road due to a technical defect, the costs will follow straight away.

Preventative maintenance involves several stages of scheduled maintenance, predictive maintenance, regular inspections and a system for reporting and resolving issues.

Scheduled maintenance

If you are not doing so already, why not consider regular, scheduled preventative maintenance visits? These are based on the trailer manufacturers’ specifications, including time intervals and/or mileage. Scheduled maintenance is an excellent solution. Not only can it be delivered for a pre-determined cost but it also reduces unplanned repairs and interventions.

Predictive maintenance

Nowadays, more and more fleets combine “scheduled maintenance” with “predictive maintenance” programmes, based on real-time data generated by their truck and trailer telematics systems. It involves merging the trailer’s data on functions including tyre pressure, fuel consumption or reefer temperatures with information about its mileage, age and regularly scheduled maintenance. From this data, expert trailer maintenance providers can diagnose what specific maintenance is required to avoid future issues. For example, predictive maintenance tells us when to replace a worn-out tyre or service a reefer unit.

What the driver saw

Drivers can contribute to effective maintenance by conducting daily and weekly visual inspections of their trailer and truck. They can then report any mechanical and safety problems and not drive away until they have been resolved.

Manager responsibilities and reports

Fleet managers are responsible for maintenance planning. This includes scheduling trailer servicing, ensuring that regular safety checks are carried out on vehicles and removing trucks and trailers from service for repair. Fleet managers should keep a record of all servicing, safety inspections and repairs. They also need to train their drivers on what to inspect and how to report their findings.

Preventative trailer maintenance; in-house or outsource?

There are many factors to consider when deciding if outsourcing preventative trailer maintenance is right for your fleet.

Benefits of outsourcing:

  • Efficiency

Cost is a major factor. In most cases outsourcing preventative trailer maintenance is more cost-effective than keeping it in-house. You do not have to carry the fixed overheads of technicians or the latest diagnostics and repair equipment.

  • Keeping up with technology

Another advantage behind outsourcing preventative maintenance is the increasing complexity of trailer and truck technology such as telematics and ABS brakes. By outsourcing, you can access a pool of highly experienced technicians with up-to-date skills and knowledge of the latest technologies.

  • Flexibility

Outsourcing preventative trailer maintenance provides significant flexibility for many fleet managers. This flexibility includes a 24/7 availability of maintenance and repair support through a pan-European network of workshops. Trailer downtime is minimised.

  • Focus on areas that add most value to your business

A well-designed and established outsourced trailer maintenance partnership with a market leader like TIP, will free up more time for the fleet manager to spend on more business-critical activities like customer service or business development.

To discuss outsourcing your preventative trailer maintenance, please contact TIP here to find out the services it can provide.



6 replies
  1. Gloria Durst
    Gloria Durst says:

    I agree that you would want to outsource your trailer maintained because it is efficient. A professional could probably do a lot more to keep your trailer running smoothly than you could. If you do choose a professional, you would want to make sure they are experienced and qualified as well.

  2. Barry Peters
    Barry Peters says:

    My sister is looking to get her trailer repaired and I thought it would help to check whether or not she could do it herself. You mentioned that when you outsource the trailer it will be way more efficient and cost-effective. That is a great point for me to consider talking to my sister about. Thanks for the help on trailer maintenance and repair.

  3. Taylor Bishop
    Taylor Bishop says:

    Thanks for the interesting read about some trailer maintenance. It’s interesting to learn about predicative maintenance, especially since it uses the trailer’s data about different functions and that the data can be used to learn what maintenance would be required. I’m very interested to learn more about these systems and the different factors that are taken into account for them.

  4. Joy Butler
    Joy Butler says:

    We’ve been so confused about having a scheduled or predictive maintenance for our 2 trailers until I found this article of yours. You just did make a good job here by explaining their differences. I also appreciate the fact that outsourcing is really beneficial and can’t wait to find a good service for this. Thank you.

  5. Gerty Gift
    Gerty Gift says:

    I appreciate you mentioning getting regular maintenance done. I’ve never really thought about having that done for our trailer, but we do use it pretty often. I think that this would help us make sure that we don’t have to end up replacing it before we need to.

  6. Sherry Gajos
    Sherry Gajos says:

    I liked what you said about how outsourcing preventative trailer maintenance provides significant flexibility for many fleet managers. My uncle runs a trucking company and wants to hire another service to keep his trailers in good condition. Thank you for the information about how doing so will minimize trailer downtime.


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