Trailer & Towing Maintenance

The weather is warming up, and that can mean you’re getting ready to get your trailer out for the summer. Or it could mean it’s time to put away your winter toy hauler. Either way, going in or out of storage is a perfect time for maintenance. Before you move on to that next adventure, follow these trailer maintenance tips to ensure your camper, trailer, or toy hauler is in top towing condition.

A Good Scrub

Clean equipment is always easier to work on, so start your maintenance routine with a bath. A pre-wash treatment will help loosen any stubborn dirt and grime before soap and water finishes the job. Be sure to include the tires and wheels in your scrub.

If you have an RV, camper van, pop-up camper, or other camper, don’t forget to clean the windows and the inside. Make sure you check the slides and seals and run up your pop-up camper because a deep clean may reveal dried or cracked seals. You can reseal minor issues yourself, but larger issues may need a NAPA AUTOPRO expert.

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Check the Tires & Wheels

Tires are a major source of towing troubles, so take care of them.

Start with checking air pressures. Once your tires are pumped up, inspect for any cracks, balding, or flat-spotting along the tire tread and sidewalls. The sidewall should show your tire’s age, and after six years it’s time for a new tire. Remember a motorhome usually needs higher pressures than a car or truck.

tread depth gauge can help you identify developing wear patterns. If there’s any visible damage, replace the tires before your next trip. Finally, use a torque wrench to tighten all the lug nuts.

Before you head out, stow a tire repair kit in your trunk to manage a flat (on your truck or trailer) while on the road. Your local NAPA dealer can quickly advise you on the right one for your tires.

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Lubricating Your Trailer

Modern cars and trucks don’t need much lubrication. Trailers do, so don’t forget it. Apply grease to the following areas:

  • Coupler and hitch ball
  • Ring and pintle
  • Axles
  • Landing leg, levelling jack

Wheel bearings require a bit more TLC because you’ll need to pack them with grease. While wearing disposable gloves, place some grease in your hand and work it into each bearing. Start at the larger end of the bearing until you notice grease coming through the smaller end. Replace the wheel hubs if they’re wobbly, noisy, or worn. It’s a messy job, so bring the hand cleaner or leave it to a NAPA AUTOPRO.

Check the manufacturer’s recommendation for what kind of grease to use on your trailer.

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Permatex 23117 Fast Orange Smooth Lotion Hand Cleaner, 433 Ml

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Now it’s time to test your trailer’s lights. This includes the brake lights, turn signals, and running lights. Make sure everything from the wiring harness to the individual light bulbs is looking and working as it should. If your trailer connector is loose, cracked, or broken, replace it.

For a quick test, have someone stand behind your trailer as you press the brakes and turn on the hazard and blinker lights to confirm they all work. It’s a good time to test your trailer’s battery or batteries if it has them.


Don’t forget to check your trailer’s safety gear. That means inspecting your safety chains for wear or rust, or broken hooks, as well as your safety disconnect cables. It also includes your tie-down straps. You should also check fluids like the hydraulic brake reservoir (check your brake pads too) and make sure your winch, RV or generator has the right amount of oil.

Inspect for damaged shocks or leaking oil, broken springs, and look for any other broken hardware that will need to be repaired or replaced.

Make Trailer Maintenance a Habit

Follow this maintenance routine at the beginning and end of trailer season to help prevent surprises when you most need your trailer. Nobody wants to be camping beside the highway on a road trip.

If you find major issues that are beyond your DIY abilities, don’t worry. Your NAPA AUTOPRO service station has technicians trained to properly repair your trailer and get you on your way.

For more information on safe towing, check out this article. If you plan to use a trailer during the winter, check out this post for some snow-specific trailer tips.

5 Replies to “Trailer & Towing Maintenance”

  1. Thanks a lot for sharing this with all folks you actually recognise what you’re talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly additionally visit my site =). We can have a hyperlink alternate contract between us!

  2. Eve Mitchell says:

    I liked your tip about checking your trailer lights. I think mine have burned out but I’m not sure. It’d be beneficial to get it checked out before I leave for vacation!

  3. Amy Saunders says:

    Oh my God! I’m so glad you reminded us to check on the lighting system in our trailer before hitting the road. My uncle just bought a mini trailer last week for work purposes. I’ll forward this article to him so he’ll make the right maintenance later.

  4. Mats Wolff says:

    Its helpful when you said to check everything from the wiring harness right down to the light bulbs themselves. My uncle owns a truck and wants to get it repaired since he had a minor accident yesterday. Thanks for the article and I will forward it to him so that he can find a good truck repair service near his area.

  5. Victoria Addington says:

    Thank you for the advice to check the tire pressure before using your trailer because you haven’t used it in a long time. I’ll share this with my brother to keep in mind since he has been considering driving a trailer to see our parents. I’ll be sure to look into local trailer repair shops that might be able to assist him.

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