The first thing you can add to your Gooseneck trailer maintenance checklist so it survives winter is to give it a really thorough cleaning once fall arrives. Your trailer receives a lot of abuse throughout the year, whether it is dogs peeing on the tires corroding the rims, or manure and urine filled hay being left on the floor without cleanings between uses. Road debris also chips away at your paint job and the summer sun beats endlessly down on your Gooseneck trailer’s roof.
Urine filled straw left directly on the wooden floorboards can be a significant issue, as the wood gets wet and stays wet which can result in rotting. The beast way to clean out your Gooseneck trailer is to sweep out the mess, hose down the mats, remove the mats, hose down the floor and put it all back together again once it has dried.
If you have an aluminum floor in your trailer beneath the rubber mats, the urine can be even more of an issue. Allowing dirty bedding to sit on the trailer floor without cleaning will result in the urine to soak into the metal, breaking down and causing the floor to pit. Eventually, white rust will form on top of the aluminum along with holes. This can only be repaired by completely replacing the floor which can be very expensive.
Another thing you can do as part of your cleaning routine is to wash your Gooseneck trailer and apply a good coating of wax. Sunlight and the elements will break down the trailer’s graphics and paint overtime.
Check for Rust and Corrosion on All Steel Parts
Examine your Gooseneck trailer for paint chips or scrapes that may require touch up paint. If these areas are left bare to the elements, they will likely develop rust over the winter months. This is particularly important if you own an all-steel trailer. If the paint does chip, it’s a steel piece underneath and that can rust, so consider touching it up with some paint. The most ideal place that rust occurs is in the seams where the tubing attaches to the side sheet metal. Rust usually occurs here because that is where moisture often gets trapped. Water can get inside the tubes in trailers and when it freezes it expands and can warp the outside of the trailer.
Rust is less common if you own an aluminum trailer, but there are steel components that may rust. For example, the jacks in the front and the coupler by the hitch are always made of strong steel. Over time, constant use can cause paint to chip from these areas and some touch up paint will assist in keeping them nice and rust free. Axles are another area that people don’t always consider. They are steel as well so it is ideal to crawl up under and see if rust is developing.
Corrosion can also occur on your trailer’s hinges. This happens quite frequently during the winter months, as they will start freezing and corrosion occurs on the hinges. A hing that has started to corrode will make a horrible sound when opened. If you force the hinge, it can even break. The easy solution is to use some penetrating oil on the hinges in the fall before putting your trailer away and don’t be shy about over-applying. This oil can prevent corrosion from occurring.
Store Your Trailer Indoors
If possible, always store your Gooseneck Trailer indoors. Direct sunlight can degrade the awning fabric, ruin vinyl graphics, destroy rubber seals on your windows, cause havoc for your tires, fade your paint job and even cause leaks in your trailer’s roof. This is why it is important to store your trailer inside if possible. Not only does this avoid damage from the sun, it will also prevent water damage from occurring. If storing your Gooseneck trailer in a completely enclosed garage is not possible, then try to find another covered area where your trailer can be out of the elements.
For many, storing their trailer outdoors is the only option. If this is the case, be sure to protect your investment by buying a high quality trailer cover to keep your trailer dry and out of the sun.
Winter Trailer Use Requires Its Own Unique Trailer Maintenance Checklist
When you take your Gooseneck trailer out in the winter months, it is important to be smart. If there are icy conditions on the road, you most likely do not want to be driving at all, let alone hauling a live load of animals behind you.
If the conditions are fair, keep in mind that there is going to be a great deal of salt and chemicals on the road. These can get onto your trailer, into the springs inside of the braking mechanism and result in corrosion. If you are going to use your Gooseneck trailer this winter, be sure to go through a car wash to hose it off. Also, read our articles over hauling and weatherproofing your trailer for winter.
These are just a few important things to add to you trailer maintenance checklist this winter. Contact Gooseneck Trailers with the link below for more information!