Many Australians have purchased a trailer and use it seasonally to help them transport a vehicle or a boat to a summer destination. They may store the trailer under cover for most of the year before retrieving it with the intention of heading out for some fun. However, a trailer is not simply something that you can hide away and then press into service immediately without first making sure that it is serviceable. What do you need to look at before you even think about hooking it up to your tow vehicle?
Your Crucial Checklist
- Start off by having a good look at the tyres. You should expect them to be in reasonable condition unless you have stored the trailer for a considerable period of time. However, they are almost certain to be flat, and you should carefully re-pressurise them, including your spare tyre.
- Next, make sure that each and every bolt and nut is securely fastened from front to back. You should tighten them to the proper torque level using the correct tool.
- Have a look at the wiring system to make sure that it is still properly connected and that it is routed correctly. You have to have some slack there so that the wires will remain connected when you are making a sharp turn, but the loom should not be so loose that it touches the road surface.
- You need to check all of your lights once you have hooked up the trailer to your towing vehicle. Make sure that the bulbs are okay, including your turn signals and brake lights, as they're crucial to help keep you safe on the road.
- Are the brakes "free" after being stationary for so long? Sometimes they can freeze to the disc or drum and you need to be sure that they are fully serviceable. You don't want to find out the hard way that your trailer has no braking capability.
- When you are ready to hitch everything up, make sure that the coupler, hitch and the drawbar are in good condition and attach without any tension. The safety chain should be set at a certain level so that when it is connected it does not touch the road, but has a sufficient amount of slack.
- Finally, have a look at the stabilisers and elevator to see if they are corrosion free and able to be raised and secured into their proper place.
A Professional Pair of Eyes
To be absolutely sure, you ought to take your tow vehicle and trailer into a qualified mechanic so any trailer repairs can be completed before you set out. Remember, you are towing a significant weight, to say nothing of the value of the load, and it makes sense to be 100% sure before leaving.