Winter checklist: Top 5 tips for trailer maintenance
During the winter season, it is essential to carry the maintenance of your vehicle to keep it safe and roadworthy. A regular trailer maintenance is the best way to protect your fleet, that positively impacts both the vehicle and the drivers on the road, especially in winter. To prevent your fleet from serious damage, we have listed below 5 recommendations for a minimum trailer maintenance a fleet owner should do.
To ensure your vehicle will perform better and last longer, it is important to keep in mind your trailer type, size and usage (including mileage and cargo weight). Depending on these features, your trailer might need more maintenance checks on the different components than offered in the checklist.
In winter days are shorter and darker. Therefore, at the initial stage, check your trailer lights. They should work properly, regardless of your trailer type. It is crucial to check all lighting:
Trailer's front lights
Trailer's Back lights
Side marker lights
Finally, make sure the registration plate and the reflectors visibility are clearly illuminated.
Tire tread and tire wear:
Did you know that worn tires reduce starting traction by 30% to 50%? Worn tires can also burst on the road, especially at high speeds.
It is vitally important to check your tires’ life expectancy, and watch for these two wear signs:
The center wear, which indicates over-inflated tire
The outer wear, which indicates under-inflated tire
Ensuring good tire pressure is crucial to ensure safe and reliable operation, while reducing fuel consumption. Each manufacturer has its own specifications on tire pressure.
The tire pressure is rated in PSI or pounds per square inch To get a precise reading and rating, it must be checked a few hours after parking the trailer. Most common tires need to be pressured to at least 8.5 Bar. Be aware of the fact that low pressure can cause blowouts. Moreover, if Nordics or snow areas are your travelling destinations, in this case check for mandatory regulations on mud and snow tires.
To further save costs and reduce vehicle downtime, you can install a tire pressure monitoring solution for trailers (TPMS). It helps maintain tire pressure, detecting slow punctures early, maximizing tire life and allowing tires to be repaired rather than be replaced.
Checking your brake operations and brake air pipes is essential specifically when the weather is cold. The reason for that is the brake connections and airlines can freeze or split because of the condensed water in the brake system, which results in the huge obstacle. Following this, two potential major issues can occur:
failure of the braking operation which can cause a serious accident
excessive brake lining and drum/disc wear
To be prepared and prevent your fleet from these issues, remember to check the sealing rubbers of the coupling hands at regular intervals for leaks. We highly recommend 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.
Vehicle and trailer body:
To achieve an outstanding condition of your vehicle, we advise you to wash and clean your trailer regularly, especially paying attention to it in autumn and winter when driving on dirt roads.
Finally, the last maintenance check:
Check door condition:
If applicable, inspect all seals for damage, as well as cables, latches and holdbacks
Check roof condition:
Keep it clean and free of snow, inspect seams, seals and the roofing membrane for damage
Check registration plates:
It must be correctly affixed to the trailer and clearly visible
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 part
Protect your fleet with TIP
TIP 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 over 130 locations in Europe and Canada.