Utility Trailer Maintenance and Tips

How to get a utility trailer ready for summer
Take the steps necessary to prepare your trailer for another summer of heavy use.

How to Get Your Utility Trailer Ready for Summer

Wherever you currently reside, it is of the upmost importance to maintain your utility trailer for both the Summer and Winter seasons. Upcoming heat, previous winter grime buildup, and general maintenance that needs performed at least twice yearly all constitute a good tune-up for your setup.

While this may seem like a daunting process, damages to your trailer not only shorten its longevity, reduce resale value, but they also can turn your trailer into a safety hazard. Don’t ignore it! Do not fear, however, as we here at Tom’s Trailers have graciously compiled a list of simple, routine upkeep procedures that can ensure that your utility trailer functions up to its fullest potential this summer.

Wash. Your. Trailer. Just Do It!

Should you choose to ignore all of the other tips listed here, make sure you give your trailer a thorough cleaning at the end of the winter season. Caked on dirt, grime, and most importantly SALT can all lead to severe corrosion if left untreated.

We highly recommend a quality hose down with a home pressure washer (set on a lower setting so as not to damage your trailer, of course) combined with a non-caustic cleaner. Diluted Simple Green, or any other cleaner that can be used on an automobile should be safe to use. Specific areas to keep in mind include:

  • Underneath the tire’s mud flaps. Large chunks of grime can gather here.
  • Your trailer’s undercarriage.
  • Rims and tire tread. Thoroughly wash your tread to remove any grime, rocks, or other obstructions.
  • Any other nooks, crannies, or spots where buildup can occur.

Check Your Trailer Tires

Check the Air Pressure

Even though you may have just checked your tire pressure, be safe and do it again. The drastic changes in weather from cool to warm weather can impact your tire pressure. Ill maintained tires pose as a massive hazard to both yourself and others, as any rig can easily spiral out of control very quickly.

Check Tires for Dry Rot

Also, dry-rot and other forms of deterioration over the winter months can eat away at your tire treads as well. Replace any tires as need be, as this can be the best possible investment you can make. Avoid ending up in the middle of nowhere with a flat, and check your tires regularly.

Make Sure Moving Parts are Lubricated

Any moving parts prone to friction should be lubricated thoroughly. Stock up your arsenal with a sold grease gun, cans of WD-40, and any other lubricants that you think you may need. Pay careful attention to areas that are showing increased wear, rust spots, or any areas that make horrendous noises when rubbed together.

Perform a General Inspection

Perform an in depth, complete inspection of your entire unit. Check from the coupler to the tail lights for anything that could pose a potential problem. Check the quality and conditions of your chains, make sure your tires lug nuts are tightened all the way, and pay special attention to the condition of your fasteners. Look for spots of corrosion, and check one final time for any areas you may have missed while cleaning. Make sure your turn signals, and lights are all functioning properly.

How to winterize a utility trailer
Store your trailer the right way and preserve its longevity.

How to Winterize Your Utility Trailer

When Winter Comes, It’s Time to Store Your Utility Trailer

There are several measures you can take to ensure your utility trailer remains in perfect working order after a long, cold wait in the garage or shed (or even outdoors):

Give Your Utility Trailer a Good Cleaning

This one’s pretty straightforward. Clean it up! Get rid of all the dirt, mud and grime from a long summer of heavy use. Use a light soap—like one you’d use to wash your car—and scrub off any buildup. You don’t want to leave any mess on your trailer and allow it to ferment for months on end.

Once you’ve scrubbed and hosed off your trailer, allow it to dry fully before storing for good to avoid any mold growth.

Take Care of Your Trailer Tires!

Perhaps nothing is more important than protecting your trailer tires over the course of the winter. Take the following steps to make sure they are ready to pound the pavement next spring:

  1. Inflate tires to the recommended cold weather PSI. The rule of thumb: for every 10 degree drop in temperature, you lose 2% air pressure. Give your tires an extra boost before storing based on the recommended PSI.
  2. Place on concrete pavers to avoid contact with snow or water and block the wheels.
  3. Ensure the inside of the valve stem is free of dirt and screw on the valve stem cover tightly.
  4. Keep them out of sunlight! Frequent exposure to direct sunlight means huge changes in temperature, causing potentially catastrophic damage over time. Either keep them indoors or cover them up.
  5. Jack up your trailer on to jack stands to relieve pressure on the tires.
  6. Remove your tires and stack them on a flat surface with a piece of plywood between each.

Remove Rust and Lubricate Mechanical Parts

When mechanical parts are static for too long, they begin to rust and lock up. Ensure your hinges, locks, hitch parts, plugs and suspension parts are in good working order. Get rid of rust with steel wool or sandpaper. Lubricate all your metal parts and apply a corrosion blocking agent. Trailer parts left static for too long lose effectiveness and decreases their working life.

Remove and Store the Emergency Breakaway Battery

Some trailers are equipped with a breakaway kit, designed to bring the utility trailer to a stop should it break off of the tow vehicle as you’re moving. Remove the battery for the breakaway kit and put it in a safe place for the winter.

Once you’ve readied your utility trailer for winter storage, bring it to our shop in Menomonee Falls and we’ll store your utility trailer on our lot for a low price!