Are You Sure Your Trailer Is Travel Ready?
Back when I learned to drive a car, my instructor took me through a process called the ‘cabin drill’. The cabin drill was something I was taught to do every time I got behind the wheel, before I even put the key in the ignition. It involved checking that all doors were closed and that the handbrake was applied. If necessary, I would then adjust the seat, the head restraint, and the steering wheel. I would fix up all the mirrors – inside and out of the vehicle – to ensure I had as clear a view as possible. I was then required to locate all essential controls and know how to work them. The final step of the cabin drill was to fasten my seatbelt, and it was only after completing all those steps that I could turn the car on.
This is all commonsense stuff that becomes second nature once you’ve been driving for a while. You barely think about doing these things; you just do them. But what about those times when you’re towing a trailer or caravan on the back of your vehicle? How often do you check that everything on the trailer or caravan is in working order and ready to hit the road? By checking your towed vehicle before you travel, you can identify potential problems early on and avoid paying for expensive trailer repairs. Fivestar Towbars in Melbourne explains how.
What Should I Check?
If you haven’t been particularly vigilant with your caravan or trailer maintenance, we suggest making sure you get it seen to before you set off on your trip – and you shouldn’t leave it to the last minute. Before leaving with trailer in tow, we always recommend completing an inspection of the towed vehicle. Make sure all lights are working and are clearly visible when activated; front, back, brake lights – the whole lot. Ensure the handbrake on the trailer or caravan has been disengaged once attached to your vehicle (it could make getting from A to B considerably difficult if the brakes are still on!). You should also be on the lookout for any loose items that should not be loose and fix them accordingly.
Once you’re on the road, pull over every two hours to check the wheels for any heat around the centre hub. Any excessive heat that generates is typically a sign that there may be some sort of problem, ranging from tight wheel bearings or a bent axle to faulty brakes.
For those who want to be a bit more thorough, here’s a fairly detailed checklist to help you keep your trailers and caravans properly maintained.
- Check tyre pressure and the amount of tread – bald tyres can be your worst enemy!
- Check that all trailer / caravan lights are working properly.
- Test the electronic brake controller that operates the trailer / caravan brakes to make sure it’s working.
- Tighten the wheel bolts to the specified torque (i.e. turning force) value.
- Examine your wheels for cracks and/or dents.
- Check for damage or wear in the wheel bearings. Repack if necessary.
- Make sure the seals aren’t leaking.
- Change the brake fluid.
- Ensure the suspension is working as it should by checking for loose or worn fasteners.
Why Are We Telling You This?
At Fivestar Towbars, we often see people bringing in trailers and caravans that need repairs because they didn’t do these checks before they got on the road. By simply examining your trailer or caravan before hitching it to the back of your vehicle and setting off, you can identify potential issues before they blow out into much larger, costlier problems.
The cost of your trailer maintenance and repairs will be significantly less if you don’t wait until a major problem exists before you sort it out. We’d rather that money stay in your pocket for the things you want to do, so before you set off, be sure to book with FiveStar Towbars in Melbourne for our caravan or trailer repair services.