7 Things To Check On Your Trailer Before You Hit The Road

While most of us here at Club 4X4 HQ like a Swag or Roof Top Tent as our sleeping quarters – I for one can feel father time doing his good work on the various structural pieces on my body. The thought of a quicker setup time and a mattress at the end of the day is getting more and more attractive, particularly if I’ve got the family in tow.

It would appear I’m not alone. Many of our 4X4 customers seem to be purchasing and insuring their camper trailers with us; taking advantage of the multi-policy discount when combining the tow vehicle and trailer policies and enjoying the confidence of having the trailer covered wherever the tow vehicle can go.

Our research shows that 90% of people who tow, tow with a four wheel drive – why would you risk covering your brand trailer with a vanilla insurer who doesn’t understand the hobby?

Why would you put yourself in a position of uncertainty on whether your trailer is going to be covered with the same geographic flexibility that the Club 4X4 policy offers for the tow vehicle?

The challenge with trailers is that sometimes they sit idle for a while, leaving them susceptible to wear and tear especially when exposed to the elements in storage. So we have compiled a list of the things to check before you hitch up and hit the road!

1)      Tyres – Obviously pressures are paramount, but having a tyre sit for extended periods especially if exposed can create issues like flat spots, rubber deterioration and hardening which could cause a blowout. Make sure you have inspected your tyres and if in doubt get a professional to take a look. Change your tyres once every 5 years regardless of tread wear.

2)      Bearings – the core of many issues for all trailer owners – your wheel bearings are a critical component to keeping your wheel on its hub. They should be checked at least annually but if you use your trailer often, check them more regularly. Jacking the trailer up and checking for lateral movement in the wheel is a good gauge. Any movement should be remediated before you hit the road. We’ve had many a significant, holiday ending claim result from a wheel falling off!

3)      Seals and canvas – If you have a pop top, or even a retractable awning, make sure they’re serviceable and in good condition. Also check all your seals for damage, the last thing you want is to find out that they’re weathered and leaking when you pull up to your favourite campsite, hundreds of kilometres away from home.

4)      Electricals – your trailer is your home away from home, as such you do become reliant on it as a power source. Check that your batteries are holding charge and that your solar panels and chargers are all working. The last thing you want is a fridge full of rotting food when remote!

5)      Connections with the Tow tug – make sure your hitch is operational and not damaged. Check any electrical couplings for damage or wear in the wiring or connection terminals – anything less than perfect should be rectified before you hit the road. Check that all lights are functioning appropriately across the tow tug and the trailer.

6)      Brakes – if your trailer has a braking system – ensure you have the appropriate brake controller fitted and understand how to use it! Whilst many of these have sophisticated automated functions, there is nothing smarter that what’s in the noggin of the driver!

7)      Training – I don’t know about you, but for me even a $5,000 basic trailer is a lot of coin. Then there are the occupants of your tow vehicle, who become more susceptible to risk given the combined mass of a tow vehicle and trailer hurtling down the road at 110 kilometres per hour. Ultimately you made an investment to go and see special parts of this beautiful land and create memories – a few hundred more on an accredited training course will be the best first step you can take to ensure you get there and back in one piece.

Feel free to add in any other tips you have for safely enjoying your camper trailer and leave us a comment below to share them with us.

Happy Touring

Kalen Ziflian

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Comments 8

  1. Hi Kalen, 2 things that often get overlooked when giving advice on towing trailers or caravans are
    1. if you are driving an Automatic vehicle, ensure that you have an external Auxillary Transmission Cooler fitted to the tow vehicle to reduce transmission oil temperature.
    2. Preferably do not tow in overdrive unless you are sure that the Torque converter is locking up. This will ensure the Torque Converter is not slipping & producing large amounts of heat.

    1. Post
      Author
  2. Rather than worrying about faulty wiring and plugs for the trailer lights you could fit WiTi as reviewed in issue 26 of RV Daily – http://rvdaily.com.au/rvd/issue026/#141
    WiTi replaces the 7 pin plug with an advanced wireless interface that transmits lighting and braking signals between the tow car and trailer. Ideal for off road touring where there is a tendency for plugs and wiring to get damaged or ripped out on the tracks.
    It also keeps your trailer and contents safe with an inbuilt alarm and immobiliser that applies the brakes if movement is detected.

  3. From recent experience (2 hours into a trip) checking wheel nuts is a simple, easy task that shouldn’t be overlooked either!

    1. Post
      Author
  4. Hi Kalen. I would like you to revisit your comment on wheel bearings. Some clearance is better than none. If you read the Timkin instructions on the back of their bearing card, it talks about adjusting the nut until all clearance is gone then loosening the nut 1/6th to 1/4 turn then fit the split pin, to give the correct clearance. Once this is done, a small amount of movement can be detected. This gives the bearing room to expand as it comes up to operating temperature. Also having the correct amount and type of grease add greatly to their longetivity.

    1. Post
      Author

      G’day Richard,

      A great callout mate – i guess it points to the importance of having confidence and experience around what exactly one is looking for. If the confidence or experience isn’t there – the best bet is to take it to a qualified professional.

      Kal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *