How To Protect Trailer & Avoid Breakdowns…
Related: More Snowmobile Trailer Advice
Why do you need in season trailer maintenance tips? Because perhaps the most often neglected part of your snowmobile equipment is your trailer. It’s all too easy to hook it up at the beginning of the season and never look back.
Fortunately, most of us get away with this inattention for a while. But it’s bound to catch up sooner or later. Either with a roadside breakdown or the premature deterioration that can cause long-term damage down the road.
Both scenarios are less of a concern with a fully aluminum trailer like those made by Triton. Problems are also usually avoidable with a little regular TLC. And with some preventative maintenance. Best of all, it’s never too late to get started.
I should note upfront that the tips in this article apply to snowmobile trailers in general. But with 3 or 4-bed enclosed trailer, you have to complete an annual safety check. This requirement typically applies if your hauler has dual axles and/or the combined gross weight of tow vehicle + trailer exceed allowable limits in your jurisdiction.
Trailer Maintenance Tips For Snowmobilers
Check Your Wheel Bearings
If you’ve already been using your snowmobile trailer without incident, there are five components you need to check. Do so immediately and regularly, including at the start of each season. One is your wheel bearings. Low grease, road dirt and moisture can wreak havoc on them.
So if you have EZ Lube Hubs (as most trailers now do), but haven’t added grease since last season, you should do so right away. Same goes if you’re constantly towing big loads big distances in sloppy conditions. If you don’t have EZ lube hubs, then you should get your bearings repacked instead.
Inspect Your Tires
The second component that needs checking right away is your tires. This is especially essential if you haven’t looked at them until now. Or if they are older. Or if you’ve stored your trailer outside without protecting them. Check for tread wear, sidewall cracks and bulges (both sides) that could lead to a flat or blow out.
If all is good, then make a habit of checking the tire pressure regularly to the manufacturer’s recommended specs. And don’t forget to include your spare! At the same time, double check that all the wheel nuts are present and tight.
Scrutinize Your Lights
Component number three to check is your trailer lights, both running and signal. Although faulty lights aren’t likely to leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere, they can be very dangerous while driving. They’re also highly likely to attract police attention.
At the same time, inspect the wire and electrical connector that plugs into your tow vehicle. It’s also a good idea to periodically apply a dab of dielectric grease to the prongs of the male connector.
Eyeball Your Hitch
The fourth component to check is the hitch set up. This includes tow vehicle hitch ball and trailer hitch coupler & safety chains. Make sure nothing is loose, broken or otherwise out of whack. At the same time, spread a dab of grease on the surface of the hitch ball and make sure your trailer is towing level, not tilted up or down from the ball.
Lube & Protect
Finally, take a can of spray lube to all pivoting points, including door and ramp hinges. Don’t forget the fuel & front access doors, locks and tongue jack if your trailer is so equipped. If your trailer has any grease nipples, give them a shot from a grease gun.
Keep It Clean
As with your tow vehicle, after every trip it’s a good idea to pressure wash the full exterior of your snowmobile trailer, including the wheels and underside. If you have time during the season, get a good corrosion protection product and coat all components susceptible to corrosion from exposure to road grim and salt or exposure to the elements. Otherwise, get it done at season’s end.
Trailer Maintenance Tips – Seasonal Tasks
All of the preceding tips should be part of your regular preventative maintenance program starting with a new trailer and throughout every season thereafter. But they say that the best preventative maintenance is proper preparation for storing your trailer over the summer. This includes such tasks as cleaning your trailer and greasing your bearings. Additionally, you should lube all moving parts, apply corrosion protection and store your trailer properly. For complete info, see my article on snowmobile trailer summerizing.
Before use, start by checking the five components listed in the main body of this article.
For many of us, trailering to the snow is now a fact of winter life. That makes your snowmobile trailer just as important as your sled. So it’s really important to look after it as if your ability to go snowmobiling depends on it, because it does!
Thanks to Paul McNichol, owner of Alumite Enterprises, distributor of Triton Trailers, for contributing to this article.
The tips and advice in this blog are the opinions of the author, may not work in every situation and are intended only for the convenience and interest of the reader, who has the personal responsibility to confirm the validity, accuracy and relevancy of this information prior to putting it to their own use.