Lighting and Braking Systems
Electrical components are extremely sensitive to moisture and corrosion over long periods of time. This frequently arises in the form of mysterious little gremlins who diligently prevent our lights from working, but long periods of idleness can also affect your trailer’s braking system negatively, often to the point of rendering them inoperable. Before loading for your first Spring trip, and once you have checked the unit over for road readiness, hook up and take your trailer for a short drive to make sure the brakes are working properly. If you have any doubt, don’t hesitate to have the brake system checked out by a reliable mechanic. This is extremely crucial because the braking system on most trucks is not singularly capable of bringing a fully loaded trailer to a safe and controlled stopped.
Be sure the inspect the electrical plugs on both your truck and your trailer, as both should be free of corrosion. Avoid using WD-40 on these plugs because this will make dust and dirt stick to them. Many hardware and automotive store sell specific contact cleaner designed expressly for this purpose.
The Breakaway Switch
Check the breakaway switch to make sure it is working properly before every long trip, and at least once a month during the regular towing season. With the electrical cord unhooked (and your trailer battery fully charged), pull the ripcord from the breakaway device. Ease your truck ahead a few feet. Your trailer brakes should fully engage. If not, inspect the breakaway switch, the trailer battery and all associated wiring. Every Gooseneck trailer equipped with brakes must have a functioning emergency braking system; and that system must be capable of independently holding your trailer brakes fully applied for no less than 15 minutes. Most newer types of trailer brake controllers incorporate some sort of digital switching or current detection to facilitate smooth and dependable operation.
Mold, Rust and Corrosion
Mold, rust and corrosion will cause issues later, so it is ideal to clean the interior and exterior of your trailer thoroughly — both for your safety and the safety of your cargo. Mold can invite respiratory elements, which can result in problems even during a relatively short ride. Rust and corrosion can compromise structural body components, but the same process can also leave indelible cosmetic blemishes on trailer finishes. Search for signs of leaks specifically from doors, windows, body joints, roof vents and rivets or bolts. Water entering from a loose connection can leave residue trace on the wall, so they are generally fairly easy to spot after your trailer has been sitting for some time.
Trailer tires can generally lose anywhere from 3-5 psi per month from minor bead imperfections, porosity and other compromises. Never operate a trailer that has been stored for an extended time without making sure all the tires are inflated correctly, including the spare. Take the time to look at the sidewalls, particularly if the unit has been parked in a damp environment. Trailer tires are the principle contact your trailer has with the road, and they bear the weight of the trailer in addition to its precious cargo.
These are just a few important things to check before heading out on the road for your Spring towing trip. Contact Gooseneck Trailers with the link below for more information!