Trailer Maintenance for Winter Use & Storage
With the coldest winter months still ahead of us the decision to store your trailer is looming. Preparing your trailer correctly when putting it into storage can be a massive help when it comes to springtime and getting it back to work. In today's blog, we're going to cover how to get your trailer into the best storage condition, and also how to maintain your trailer if you intend to use it throughout the winter.
Cleaning is Key
We often associate trailer cleaning with purely aesthetic advantages, but when it comes to storing your trailer cleaning can do a lot more than making it look nice. After a long summer of work, your trailer is sure to have picked up all sorts of dirt and debris from its travels - and unless you're a geologist this is never good news. Even small specks of road grime can eat away at your trailer’s exterior through abrasion. If you are planning on putting a trailer cover over your trailer during storage (which we would highly recommend), any rubbing between the cover and the trailer can act like sandpaper if the trailer isn't cleaned before the cover is put on.
You will also find any dirt, mud, or road grime can become increasingly difficult to remove the longer it is left on your trailer. It pays to give you a trailer a wash down periodically throughout the year to save a tough winter cleaning session! Using a light soap and some warm water, followed by a hose down should be enough to remove the majority of the dirt. Once the cleaning is finished, allow your trailer to dry completely before covering.
For those who are planning on using their trailer throughout the winter season, it is especially important to wash your trailer or hose it down regularly during colder weather. The UK’s roads are heavily salted during cold weather to prevent ice from forming on them. While this is great for all road users, extremely corrosive salt compounds used can wreak havoc with your trailer. If you take your trailer out when there is salt on the road (especially when it is wet) it is good to get into the habit of hosing it down with fresh water afterwards to get the salt off of it.
Keeping That Rubber Fresh
Trailer tyres should be maintained throughout the year. We all know tyres that aren't maintained properly can be a pain - just a small amount of attention can save disasters at the roadside. But this maintenance is most important throughout the winter. Extremely cold temperatures can make the rubber in your tyres very brittle and prone to cracking. During colder weather, your trailer tyres will also experience a reduction in tyre pressure, lowering the weight-bearing capacity. Combining brittle tyres and low tyre pressure is a recipe for disaster - and tyre failure.
To make sure your tyres have the best chance of getting through the winter always inflate them to the recommended pressure (this can be found on the sidewall of your tyre). If your trailer is kept in a static position for a long period there is also the risk of flat spots forming on your tyre. These deformations in the rubber are due to an extended period of pressure in one area (the part of the tyre which is in contact with the floor). Luckily, avoiding flat spots is easy! All you need to do is rotate the wheels of your trailer every few weeks so that's a different part of the tyre is in contact with the floor. This will also allow you to check the tyre pressure hasn't dropped, and re-inflate the tyre if it has.
Lubricating & Protecting
There aren’t a huge amount of mechanical parts on most trailers, so preserving the few that do exist is the least we can do. Hitches and jockey wheel equipment are the most likely areas where seizing can occur. Applying a thin layer of grease to the jockey wheel stem will help keep it free, while a quick spray of WD-40 into the clamp screw and towball release assembly can help keep functionality silky smooth throughout storage. If your trailer has hinges, locks, and suspension, make sure they are free of rust and appropriately lubricated before putting your trailer into storage so you aren’t left with any seized surprises in the spring.
Depending on where you are keeping your trailer during storage, there might already be security in place. But there is never any harm in adding your own trailer security devices for that extra peace of mind. Trailer security devices are easy to use and transform your trailer from easy pickings into an immovable fortress. We would recommend using a wheel clamp and a hitch lock as a bare minimum level of trailer security during storage.
For any more help or advice on how to best prepare your trailer for storage this winter, or any other trailer-related queries get in touch with us today to speak to one of our professional team members!