Tips for a longer-lasting trailer
Epic trailers are built strong and galvanised to provide increased protection from rust and corrosion, but cleaning and maintenance of your trailer is crucial to prolong its life.
What does galvanising do?
The galvanising process has coated your trailer in a protective layer of zinc to help prevent rusting. This is particularly important in New Zealand as most of us are near the coast where saltwater and salt-laden air is all around. The presence of an electrolyte such as salt eats away at the zinc coating, causing galvanising to ‘dull off’ after a period of time and if left unwashed for too long, the zinc will disappear completely, reducing the life of your trailer.
Prolong the life of your galvanising
Galvanising does not protect your trailer forever. Corrosion can still take place on a galvanised trailer, and it is essential that you wash your trailer regularly and thoroughly to prevent this for as long as possible. Wash with a mixture of warm water and detergent (e.g. a standard car wash liquid, or a product such as Salt Away or WD40).
If you have access to a lake or river and can immerse your trailer in the fresh water following exposure to salt, this is also an option. Be sure to clean the hollow inside sections of your trailer frame too, by putting the hose into the holes and flushing them well with clean water.
A safe trailer, ready to use when you need it.
Preventative maintenance of your trailer should be a focus year-round, so your trailer is safe and ready to use when you need it. Here are some tips:
Springs – Due largely to the fact that your trailer sits outside in the sun after you have launched the boat and are out boating, springs can be problematic to maintain. The salt residue that sits on them while you’re boating starts to cause corrosion. To slow down the rusting of springs, wash, dry and spray them with a rust inhibitor or CRC every 3-4 months. In addition, be sure to clean them thoroughly as part of your general trailer clean after each outing.
Wheel Bearings – The wheel bearings should be checked and re-greased at least once a year. They are a crucial part of your trailer maintenance and issues are not that easy to spot. You will need to jack up the trailer and give the wheels a spin. While spinning, check for noise (the wheels should spin with minimal ‘rumble’), vibration and excessive end play. Any of these symptoms suggest worn bearings which need to be replaced. When replacing bearings, be sure to use plenty of good quality bearing grease (do not use water-soluble grease).
Brakes - Trailer brakes are often immersed in saltwater and are exposed to more wear than vehicle brakes. It is essential that brakes are thoroughly hosed down after they have been in saltwater and we suggest a full service at least once per year. During this, check brake pads, slide pins, the condition of the rubber boots and seals, brake hoses (for rust/perishing) and we also suggest renewing your brake fluid. Some of our trailers use electric breakaway systems – if you have one of these and haven’t used your trailer in at least three months, you need to charge the battery by simply plugging it into the wall.
Coupling and Safety Chain – These items are crucial for the safe operation of your trailer. Check bolts and the nuts that hold them on every 500km; make sure they are rust free and tight. We also suggest an annual squirt of CRC on the moving parts of the coupling. If your existing trailer has a duo-fit coupling, always make sure it is set to the right tow ball size – either an inch and seven eighths or 50mm.
Tyre Pressure - Check your tyre pressures are normal each time you take out the trailer – the correct pressure should be written on the tyre or VIN plate. Lower than normal pressure can affect the handling of the trailer and cause you to use more fuel.
Wheel Nuts - Loosen and re-tighten your wheel nuts once a year or after each 500km – whichever happens first. You don’t want to get caught out with a flat tyre in the middle of the night and find your wheel nuts are rusted on!
Lights and Reflectors - Lights are often forgotten; check that all your lights are working before you tow the trailer and be sure to regularly clean lights and reflectors.
Every time you head out, do a general check of your trailer and nuts and bolts. Check for rust, damage, and wear and tear, and ensure your WoF and registration are up to date.
If you need support, repairs, refurbishing or re-galvanising, the team at Epic Trailers can help. Get in touch today.