Trailer maintenance tips before you hit the road

With warmer weather on the horizon, it’s almost time to take your cars, bikes, boats, and ATVs on the road again. How well that goes depends on how well your trailer is working after being kept in the garage all winter. Before you hit the road this summer, invest some time in a trailer checkup. Here are some of our most useful tips on trailer maintenance.

Where the rubber meets the road

Start with the tires. If you haven’t taken your trailer out since the end of last summer, you’ll probably need to pump up the tires. Step one of trailer maintenance is to give the tires a full checkup. Grab your tire pressure gauge, see where the tires are at, and then bring them up to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure.

Next, check the sidewalls. How’s the tread depth? Do you see any cracks, balding, or flat-spotting from having been parked in one place for months? If you notice any of these problems, for safety’s sake, it’s time for new tires.

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Tire gauge

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Wheel work

Now look at the parts that interact with the tires—namely, the wheels and brakes. Get the wheels off the ground and give them a spin. If you hear noises like creaking, cracking, or metal-on-metal sounds, you need to either lubricate your wheel bearings or replace them altogether.

Because some trailers have drum brakes, all the workings (apart from the pads) are hidden from view. Check to make sure no fluid is leaking from the drum, and inspect the pads to make sure they’re not worn. Bad brakes on a trailer are bad news.

Wheel bearings

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A little light maintenance

Once you’ve ensured that the tires, wheels, and brakes are in good order, it’s time to check the lighting. Brake lights, turn signals, and running lights are important for safety; they’re required by law to be in working order. Check everything from the wiring harness (make sure nothing’s loose and no wires are worn or frayed) right down to the bulbs themselves. Those lights help other drivers see you and your precious cargo.

Trailer lighting kit

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Passing the plate

If you live in a province where your trailer is required to have its own licence plate, check that out, too. Is it securely mounted? Are the tags up to date? If your trailer requires an inspection sticker, is the sticker current?

It might sound daunting, but trailer maintenance is fairly easy, quick, and painless. We recommend making it a routine at the beginning and end of trailer season.

Check out all the trailer products available on or head to your nearest NAPA AUTOPRO location for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on maintaining your trailer, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA Auto Parts store.

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