How to Choose a Trailer Hitch

How to Choose a Trailer Hitch

Selecting a trailer hitch can be daunting — especially if it’s your first time to do it. You probably have many questions, such as is there a way to be sure you’re choosing the right hitch model? How do you go about installing it?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had the clarity and confidence in determining which trailer hitch type is an exact match without all the confusing mechanical jargon? Take the hiccups out of selecting a trailer hitch with this guide exploring hitch types, uses, capacities, installation tips and more.

Why Do I Need a Trailer Hitch?

Drivers attach trailer hitches onto their vehicles for a variety of reasons. Some need them for professional purposes, such as livestock towing or snow plowing. Others want hitches for personal or lifestyle reasons — because you have to get that fishing boat to the lake somehow.

Trailer hitches unlock the ability for autonomous long-distance towing and more. You will find many benefits to getting a trailer hitch for your vehicle.

Assisting With Any Future Hauling Needs

Assisting With Any Future Hauling Needs

Even if you don’t expect to haul trailers of heavy cargo frequently, having a trailer hitch is incredibly useful. Hitches allow convenient carting and towing options for dozens of unique transportation situations. Often, a regular car or truck just won’t cut it when moving certain cargo. Use trailer hitches to easily and securely transport:

  • Bicycles
  • Motorcycles
  • ATVs
  • Camping gear
  • Campers and RVs
  • Boats
  • Utility or landscaping trailers
  • Livestock trailers
  • Flatbed trailers
  • Enclosed trailers
  • Cargo carriers
  • 5th wheelers
  • Other transportation vehicles
  • Other equipment or heavy machinery

Buying Is More Cost-Effective Than Renting

Renting a vehicle with a pre-installed hitch and the capacity to haul trailers is expensive and cumbersome. Rental companies might also require specialty trailer registration and insurance, depending on your towing situation.

It’s far more cost-effective in the long run to invest in a trailer hitch that matches your current truck or car. Then, if situations arise where you need to transport heavy cargo or haul another vehicle, you’re ready.

The Different Types of Trailer Hitches

The Different Types of Trailer Hitches

Today’s trailer hitches are categorized according to a class ranking system. There are five classes of rear hitches, with each managing a higher towing capacity as well as receiver opening sizes.

We’ve also included two other popular trailer hitch types on top of the five classes, providing a thorough benchmark to begin selecting the right trailer hitch for your vehicle.

1. Class 1 Hitch

Class 1 hitches are known as light-duty receiver-hitches and are the most basic hitch style available. These units work primarily to mount bikes or as small cargo carriers. They can also be a versatile option for towing small, enclosed utility trailers and vehicles.

Class 1 hitches support a maximum trailer weight of 2,000 pounds or less. When measuring for a trailer class 1 hitch, look for a 1 1/4 inch x 1 1/4 inch receiver and a tongue weight capacity of 200 pounds or less.

Class 1 hitches work with nearly any towing vehicle. This includes both compact and midsize cars whose light transmission coolers are in good condition.

2. Class 2 Hitch

Class 2, or regular-duty receiver hitches, are one of the most common trailer hitches in today’s market. New and pre-owned class 2 hitches are installed onto the frames of its towing vehicle, which range from midsize cars and SUVs to minivans and compact pickup trucks. These vehicle types contain regular-duty transmission coolers more than capable of managing up to 3,500 pounds of towing weight and tongue weights around 300 pounds.

Class 2 hitches work great for towing ATVs, motorcycles, small boats and trailers up to 12 feet in length.

3. Class 3 Hitch

Class 3 hitches are considered heavy-duty hitch types. This style of trailer hitch is also widely crowned the king of general towing, with a towing capacity of up to 10,000 pounds, a tongue weight capacity of 750-1,000 pounds and a 2-inch receiver measurement.

Class 3 heavy-duty hitches are attached via a drawbar to the frame of a towing vehicle. For that reason, some manufacturers and distributors categorize class 3 trailer hitches as under-car receiver hitches, given this placement. Consider a class 3 hitch if you drive a mid- or large-sized pick-up truck, SUV or van and need to tow campers, mid-sized boats, mid-sized trailers and cargo-carrying flatbeds.

4. Class 4 Hitch

When it comes to towing travel trailers longer than 12 feet, boats larger than 24 feet, heavy machinery and other sizeable vehicles, you’ll need a class 4 hitch.

Dubbed the super-duty receiving hitch, class 4 styles carry a towing capacity of 10,000-14,000 pounds and a tongue weight of 1,000-1,400 pounds. They’re ideal for hitching light campers and trailers to the rear of a full-sized pickup or SUV and require a complementary 2-inch or 2.5-inch receiver for complete attachment.

5. 5th-Wheel Hitches

Those who regularly haul heavy equipment, machinery or cargo and transportation vehicles often opt for the fifth and most advanced trailer class, the 5th-wheel hitch.

This hitch type is built specifically for the beds of pickup and flatbed trucks. With a towing capacity between 12,000-20,000 pounds and a tongue weight capacity between 1,200-1,700 pounds, 5th-wheel hitches are installed just over and above a truck’s rear axle. Each unit connects to its towed trailer via a central king pin that, once positioned, appears similar to the plate of a semi-tractor.

6. Gooseneck Hitch

Gooseneck hitches are a cousin to the 5th-wheel trailer hitch type.

Like 5th wheels, they are designed explicitly for pickup and flatbed trucks. Also like 5th wheels, gooseneck hitches are installed on the beds of a truck, near the rear axle, and carry a towing capacity around 30,000 pounds. They are a prime hitch choice for hauling both commercial and industrial trailers, including horse and livestock trailers.

Gooseneck hitches are also designed to be more spatially conscious than other trailer hitch types. More specifically, you can still make full use of your truck bed with an attached gooseneck hitch, which is difficult with the more obtrusive 5th-wheel trailer hitch.

7. Front-Mount Hitch

As their name suggests, front-mount hitches are installed on the front of your vehicle. This hitch type allows for a range of attachments and new hauling applications, including:

  • Snowplowing
  • Scooping and dumping
  • Small cargo carriers
  • Winch insertions

Front-mount hitches come with a different class rating system than rear mounts. It is best to consult with an expert to match your vehicle type with an appropriate front mount hitch beforehand to ensure you install the proper style and unit.

Tips for Choosing a Trailer Hitch

Selecting a trailer hitch comes down to matching your towing needs with your vehicle’s safe, healthy towing capacities. Nearly every vehicle made today is hitch-specific, clarifying the hitch receiver selection and measuring process. However, pickup truck owners have a bit more flexibility, as they can select 5th wheel and gooseneck trailer hitches, among others.

Cut through the clutter of how to choose the right trailer hitch by keeping in mind these suggestions.

1. Do Your Research

The simplest way to start your trailer hitch search is to identify the class matching your vehicle’s make and model. Trailer hitches may not line up perfectly. Yet a little research using the year, make, model and even sub-model of your vehicle can provide a sound springboard assuring a damage-free, fully operational hitch unit that keeps working over the years.

Understanding what hitch class your vehicle can take provides a number of benefits, such as:

  • Make measuring and installing the trailer hitch easier
  • Maintain the integrity of its assigned towing capacity
  • Preserve the health of your transmission
  • Give you confidence in which hitch class and receiver size you pick for your car

2. Select the Right Look

Aesthetics aren’t the main priority of a good trailer hitch. However, trailer hitches do come in two forms you should consider beforehand, round tubing or square tubing.

Round tubing tends to provide a sleeker, more expensive-looking hitch. However, round-tubed hitches are less common than square-tube bodies and will likely cost more.

You may also need to consider your preference for an exposed or concealed hitch. The majority of concealed hitches are installed beneath the bed of your truck or vehicle, which is appealing if you don’t want to distract from the original appearance of your car.

3. Consider Additional Accessories

Additional trailer or towing accessories may be necessary depending on your towing needs. For example, cargo management accessories are common if your vehicle frequently transports heavy materials, and hitch-mounting accessories are popular when sourcing or replacing individual hitch gear necessary for a safe ride.

4. Doublecheck the Ball Mount and Ball Size

Ball mounts are pivotal when creating a safe couple between your trailer with your hitch. Some trailer hitch kits come with a matching unit ball mount. Others will not.

When sourcing a ball mount, doublecheck its towing capacity, or weight rating, ensuring any trailer being towed doesn’t exceed that figure. You’ll also want to review its shank and level connection heights, which stabilize those between your towing vehicle and the trailer.

5. Practice Assembly

It’s a good rule of thumb to loosely assemble your new trailer hitch prior to vehicle installation. During mock assembly, you can put together the central drawbar, the pin and the clip, then proceed to review the model in its intended position. This lets you see ahead of time any misalignment between the drawbar and the vehicle’s drill spots and can inform a quicker installation when the time comes.

Tips for Installing a Trailer Hitch

Tips for Installing a Trailer Hitch

Once you’ve secured the proper hitch to tow your trailer, consider these important installation steps.

1. Loosen Up (If Necessary)

All five classes of trailer hitches come designed to fit a vehicle’s standard make and equipment. This means any modifications to vehicles may alter the positioning of a hitch, in some cases requiring you to temporarily loosen or reposition certain car components to accommodate the hitch adequately.

Exhaust systems, vehicle bumpers or the brackets that mount the bumper are three common examples of vehicle equipment that may require such temporary adjustments. When in doubt, consult a mechanic before making vehicle modifications.

2. Prepare Kit Parts

Inspect all the parts and components of your hitch prior to installation. While this seems intuitive, many forget these simple preparatory steps, which help maintain the integrity of your hitch and receiver over the years:

  • Clean the bolt holes on your vehicle frame. Soaking these holes in WD-40 usually does the trick. After a minute or two, scrub the holes free of grime and dirt with a small wire brush before initiating the rest of the installation.
  • Clean the bolts. Follow the same steps you did for the bolt holes on the bolts themselves, taking care not to scratch or cause surface damage.
  • Ensure you have the correct bolts. Since hitch manufacturers create kits to match certain vehicle types, you should have properly sized bolts on hand. However, mix-ups can happen.

3. Compile Your Tools

Gather these tools you’ll need to install a hitch onto your vehicle safely and securely:

  • Shop or work light
  • Safety glasses
  • Work gloves
  • Torque wrench
  • Racket
  • Racket extension
  • Socket set
  • Swivel socket

If you don’t have access to these tools, consider taking your vehicle in for professional hitch installation. Other convenient tools and materials for installing trailer hitch include:

  • Carjack stands
  • Screwdriver
  • Torx bits
  • Box wrench set
  • Power drill and carbide drill bits, which are only necessary if you must drill new bolt holes

4. Drill at Your Own Risk

Hitches should bolt relatively easily into pre-existing holes on the underside of your vehicle. If no such appropriate holes exist — or are misaligned due to vehicle alterations — then you must drill bolt holes into the frame yourself.

Follow the drilling instructions included in the guide accompanying your hitch kit. Center punch any new holes first. Follow center punching by drilling a small pilot hole before exchanging bits and creating the full-sized drill hole. This ensures as little damage to your underbed as possible, plus it helps protect vehicle equipment or components located near the drilling area. Never drill a hole larger than the size of your kit’s bolts.

Talk to an All Pro Trailer Superstore Expert About Trailer Hitches

Talk to an All Pro Trailer Superstore Expert About Trailer Hitches

Still not sure what type of trailer hitch is right for you? Consult the hitch experts at All Pro Trailer Superstore.

As the industry’s only full-service trailer outfit, we can take care of all your trailer hitch concerns. From financing trailers to vehicle inspections to picking the right hitch types for your car or fleet, we have an unmatched depth or breadth of services available in one place.

Reach out with your trailer hitch question today.

Step-Up vs. Ramp Horse Trailers

Step-Up vs. Ramp Horse Trailers

Loading a horse safely into a trailer can feel part art and part science.

On one hand, you must prioritize the comfort of your horse. Rushing or goading into a trailer bed is a sure way to excite hesitation, even fear, from your animal, resulting in serious accidents. Yet on the other, loading should take place quickly and efficiently — especially when you’re loading two or more horses plus stowing a fair amount of tack.

Enter the ongoing debate of ramp versus step-up horse trailers. Which configuration is right for your rig?

Different Types of Horse Trailers

Different Types of Horse Trailers

There are dozens of horse trailer varieties available today. Each trailer type features differences in stall positioning, hitching systems, tack storage, climate control and transportation conveniences, among other trailer amenities for owners and horses alike.

1. Stock Trailers

Stock trailers are the most economical horse trailer type to transport your animals long distance. These units offer a basic, no-frills approach to loading, hauling and unloading your horses and gear, with the vast majority maintaining step-up entrances without a ramp.

Stock trailers are open-floor, meaning they do not contain any stalls or partitions. Horses are led forward into the trailer bed and can be tied frontwards or on an angle. Angling your horse can save space when transporting more than one animal, as well as leave room for additional tied-down cargo within the unit.

Among their other distinguishing traits, stock trailers are open air. Designed to transport cattle, this trailer type contains ample window cutouts along its trailer walls allowing fresh air and sunlight to pass through — a comfort for finicky traveling horses.

2. Bumper-Pulled or Tag-Along

Bumper-pulled horse trailers are a popular trailer type offering a range of fundamental transportation amenities.

As their name suggests, these trailer types attach to your main vehicles’ hitch, most often found beneath truck rear bumpers. A standard bumper-pull horse trailer can comfortably transport up to two mature horses. Larger, multi-horse bumper pull trailers are available as well, including premiere units that contain individual box stalls for each horse.

Because of their hitch-based design, bumper pull trailers can be a little more challenging to steer, especially while backing up. They will also be more susceptible to strong winds and uneven terrain.

Learn more about tag-along trailer units, including tips on how to safely hitch your bumper-pulled horse trailer.

3. Gooseneck Trailers

Gooseneck trailers are a spacious horse trailer type that connects to your towing vehicle via a unique overhang design.

Rather than attaching through a system beneath your truck’s rear bumper, a gooseneck’s overhang feature contains a ball hitch and coupler that slides over and attaches with your truck bed. The result is a maneuverable, sturdier connective unit and a smoother ride for your horses over long distances, in various weather conditions and across terrain types.

Goosenecks come in a range of sizes, from cozier models with a two-horse-capacity to units that can carry up to six horses. Most are designed with tack storage shelving, plus other amenities like saddle racks and front trailer doors for safer handler exits.

4. Living Quarter Trailers

Living quarter trailers are the largest and most lavish of all horse trailer types. Similar to a gooseneck trailer, these units consist of your horse’s main trailer body and an overhang attachment system. Unlike a gooseneck — or any other horse trailer type — these models also contain an attached living quarter, ideal for long-distance traveling or as your accommodation when staying at shows, fairs and events.

Common living quarter trailer amenities include a kitchenette, dinette, bathroom, bedroom and ample storage for horse tack. The size and scale of these amenities will vary depending on the overall price of the unit.

5. Slant or Straight Trailers

Slant and straight trailers are not horse trailer types themselves, but rather interior configurations that can be found in any of the above trailers. They’re one of the most important details to consider when picking your ideal horse trailer since they determine how your horses will stand across your road trip.

Straight trailers mean horses will be standing forward, with tails at the rear of the unit. Slant trailers, on the other hand, stagger horses to stand at 30- to 45-degree angles within the trailer body. Unlike with straight trailers, slant trailers are more forgiving on horses’ legs, particularly because a horse can better use its stronger haunches for support while the vehicle accelerates and brakes.

What Are Step-Up Horse Trailers?

What Are Step-Up Horse Trailers?

Step-up horse trailers are models where a horse must step up into the trailer body by itself to enter. They do not contain any sort of incline or support while loading and are generally the default design in most standard trailers.

Properly sized step-up units shouldn’t sit much higher than the height of your horse’s knees. Any trailer requiring a horse to step up significantly above its knees will be far more challenging for your horse — and by proxy, you. Loading when these heights are off may even require additional training or coaxing to ensure your horse does not attempt to jump or hop into the trailer, preserving the safety of the load and the condition of your trailer.

The intuitive approach and simple design of step-up horse trailers contains several unique benefits:

  • Slip-free: Today’s standard horse ramps are made from steel or aluminum bases. Both materials can be incredibly slippery when wet, making it difficult for a horse to have proper traction while climbing the incline. Even a horse whose recently walked through wet grass may experience problems moving up and down a ramp slip-free.
  • Easy to find: Step-ups are the most common loading and unloading configuration in standard horse trailers.
  • Lighter: Horse ramps can add significant weight to your trailer. Plus, they can be too heavy to lift and lock on your own, risking the ramp coming loose and hitting either yourself or your horse.
  • No disruptive sounds: Horses are known to get spooked by the hollow clanking of their hooves on metallic ramps. They may also be uncomfortable with the feeling of a ramp’s give as they walk up. Step up units do not pose any of these risks.

Overall, step-up trailers provide a simple, instinctive way to load and unload horses. Potential downsides to consider for step-up trailers include:

  • Above the knee stepping heights: Horses will be much less inclined to step up if the trailer height is above their knee. This is especially true if you’ve recently been trail riding and jumping, which tires and stiffens your horse.
  • Horses’ age and health: Step-up trailers may prove difficult for foals, older horses and sick or injured horses. And while it might seem obvious, standard trailer body heights can be challenging to reach for most pony breeds that are 4 feet or less.
  • More challenging horse backing: Training a horse to safely back out of a trailer will take longer with a step-up design than a ramp. This is a major concern if your trailer isn’t big enough to turn a horse around to unload face-first.

What Are Ramp Horse Trailers?

Ramp trailers are units that contain a rear ramp that allows horses to walk up and into the trailer on a gradual incline, rather than enter the trailer in one upward, unassisted step. They come in one of two forms, with the ramp either serving as a trailer’s rear door itself or as an attachment to the trailer rear.

Ramps can be included in the original design of the horse trailer or be added as a horse trailer customization. Custom add-on ramps let you pick the exact materials and makeup of your ramp and can be especially useful when outfitting a used or refurbished trailer. Bear in mind that most horse ramps are made from steel or aluminum grading frames containing reinforced fiberglass components. Aluminum is slightly lighter than steel but more expensive to repair.

Overall, horse ramps tend to match the materials of its accompanying trailer. A ramp’s hinges, locks, gears and springs need regular lubrication to prevent rust and wear. Many owners of horse ramps will also treat their units with a protective coating to add traction to their surface, helping horses load and unload in wet conditions without slips.

There are many ramp horse trailer benefits to consider:

  • Gentle incline: Ramps allow you to ease horses into a trailer body. For pony breeds, young horses, aging horses or horses with foot or leg injuries, this gradual incline is gentler and more approachable than even a light step-up. What’s more, customized horse trailer ramps can even be installed at tailored low pivot points to ensure as smooth of an incline as possible and reduce slipping.
  • Safer horse backing: Backing out a forward-facing horse can be a difficult, cumbersome process — especially with old, young or frightened horses. That process turns into even more of a headache with a basic step-up trailer bed that doesn’t contain enough interior room to turn the horse around before unloading. Sudden, unexpected drops are the quickest way to spook a horse into kicking and flailing, risking injuries for all parties involved.
  • Stability: Ramps provide added weight, helping ground a parked horse trailer. This gives you a little more flexibility where you park, load and unload your animals and track. Horses themselves won’t have to contend with variable stepping heights triggering hesitation while loading and unloading.

Remember the following if you’re looking into ramps for your horse trailer:

  • Proper ramp care: Certain ramp components will require occasional maintenance to upkeep properly. That means oiling and lubricating rust-prone metal bits like the locks, latches, hinges and more. Also ensure to inspect your entire ramp system, particularly the condition of the locks and latches. For additional security, some people even use heavy-duty carabiners or padlocks to lock horse trailer latches into place even further.
  • Ramp weight: Older horse ramp types were notoriously heavy and cumbersome for a single person to lift. Today’s horse ramps, however, come with spring assistance, allowing one individual to lift and lock the ramp in place with one hand.
  • Ramp spring: Springy ramps cause noticeable underfoot flexing, which can scare horses. Ensure inclines, ramp weight and latches are all harmoniously balanced to minimize spring and contribute to smooth horse loading and unloading.

Trailer Body Size

Choosing a Step-Up or Ramp Horse Trailers

Deciding between a ramp or step-up trailer is far from a horse apiece. Feel confident in your decision using the following trailer characteristics to determine which loading style is right for you.

1. Trailer Body Size

Trailer bodies containing enough room to turn your horse around while still inside the unit have a bit more flexibility when it comes to loading type. That space means you can rotate the horse to unload face-first, meaning they can actually see where they’re stepping. Horses of all ages and sizes will feel innately more comfortable with this kind of maneuvering.

If turning your horse within the trailer body isn’t an option, a ramp may be right for you. Ramps eliminate any blind step-downs or sudden drop-offs spooking your horse.

2. Tack Space and Other Loading Conveniences

It’s not just a horse you’re loading and unloading. Trailers must also transport a wide range of accessories, riding materials and general horse care items, including saddles, pads, headgear, reins, bits, breastplates, martingales and half a dozen other riding items.

Loading, organizing and unloading these materials is no small task. Many trailers designed specifically for horse transportation will come with various storage spaces dedicated to tack. Storage areas help prevent crowding your horses as well as ensure you don’t need to load or unload in a confined space within a horse’s kicking radius, creating a safer environment for all.

3. Horse Age and Health

Older, less mobile horses will benefit from the gentle incline of loading and unloading via a ramp. The same logic applies for horses with injuries or physical impairments preventing their full range of natural motions, or for younger horses still in training and development phases.

Having a customized horse ramp on-hand is ideal if any of these situations are pertinent. Even brand-new horse trailers with all the latest design details and features can benefit from a custom ramp when you’re preparing for the natural aging of your horse.

4. Weather and Road Conditions

You can’t control the weather while you’re on the road. Horses loading or backing out via a ramp will be more susceptible to slips if the ramp’s surface is wet or dusty. While certain ramp treatments can help increase surface friction as well as maintain the quality and integrity of this trailer accessory, you may simply not want the slip risk.

Do note, however, that step-up trailers involve a bit more strategic parking. Ensure you’re stationing your trailer on as flat, even of a surface as possible. You’ll also need to note the total height between the ground and your trailer bed floor. Any height difference greater than the length of your horse’s knee will be difficult, even uncomfortable, for them to step up to without incline assistance.

5. Budget

In general, ramp horse trailers will be more expensive than step-up trailers.

This cost differentiation is often a significant reason handlers opt for the standard step-up horse model. However, bear in mind that investing in a top-tier ramp will save you time and frustration as a handler in specific situations, as well as preemptively allow easier handling of sick, young or aging animals. These high-quality horse ramps carry high-friction surfaces, strong materials, easy support and latch systems and minimal — if any — hollow metallic clanking as your horse moves across. The result is a simple inclined system that will last through the years.

Go With the Pro

Go With the Pro

Only one trailer company in the nation provides:

  • A stock of 1,000+ new and pre-owned trailers
  • Trailer accessories
  • Repairs
  • Customizations
  • Financing options
  • Inspections
  • To-your-door trailer delivery

All Pro Trailer Superstore does this — and more. We mean it when we say we’re a full-service trailer dealership ready to partner with you on your lifelong horse trailer needs.

See for yourself what a full-service trailer partner can take off your shoulders. Then chat with one of our Trailer Superstore experts on our stock of horse trailers, including premiere step-up and ramp models.

How to Replace Trailer Brakes

How to Replace Trailer Brakes

Properly functioning trailer brakes should never be an afterthought. Every trailer owner should grow familiar with the process of checking and installing new braking systems — both for the integrity of your rig and the safety of others on the road.

Follow the steps to learn the basics on how to remove and replace your trailer’s brakes, plus warning signs it’s time to get those trailer brake replacements in the first place.

When Should You Replace Trailer Brakes?

When Should You Replace Trailer Brakes?

There is no single, definitive point where you must install new brakes in your trailer.

Instead, mechanics and brake manufacturers alike suggest keeping track of certain variables to help inform the general condition of your brakes. These variables, such as your trailer’s weight, towing frequency, distances traveled, towing terrain and even driving style will all affect trailer brake replacement schedules.

However, there are a few milestones to consider when maintaining the quality and integrity of your trailer’s brakes — as well as recommendations straight from your brake’s manual — and ensuring the safety of your tow.

1. At 200 Miles for Manually Adjusted Brakes

It’s recommended that brand new, fresh-out-the-dealership trailers see their brakes inspected and adjusted near the 200-mile mark.

Around 200 miles is the time when brake shoes and drums, two central components of the brake’s inner assembly, will have “seated.” Properly seated shoes and drums interact with your braking system’s electromagnet and core brake controller. Together, these pieces ultimately trigger the friction that stops your trailer every time you press down on the brake in the driver’s seat.

Without properly seated shoes and drums, the braking process will be slow, inefficient or — worst-case scenario — even dangerous.

After a 200-mile brake inspection, trailer brakes can generally be reviewed roughly once a year, during annual licensing inspections or as much as your trailer towing frequency requires.

2. At 12,000 Miles

In addition to annual brake system inspections, wheel bearings should be lubricated roughly every 12,000 miles. For regularly towed heavy-duty travel trailers and fifth-wheel RVs that see many miles on the road, those schedules could be more often.

Note, though, that greasing or “packing” bearings is not the same as replacing bearings. However, the two are similar processes in that accessing the inner and outer bearings will require comparable steps to all-out installing new brakes.

3. When Your Manual Recommends

Check the brake recommendations stated in your trailer owner’s manual or produced by your axle manufacturer. That manual should also explain the generalized, step-by-step instructions for how to install and replace your model’s specific brake components, adjust shoe seating and properly pack your bearings.

4. When Brake Performance Generally Suffers

Apply common sense when it comes to maintaining and replacing your trailer brakes. If you notice noisy wheel bearings, odd brake lags or differences in braking pressures, it’s time to inspect components. If adjusting brake shoes still doesn’t cut it, you could be due for a system replacement.

What Do You Need to Replace Trailer Brakes?

Replacing trailer brake systems will require a handful of tools to conduct the installation safely and efficiently. Ensure you own or have access to the following before removing any trailer wheel parts.

What Do You Need to Replace Trailer Brakes?

1. Proper Tools

These basic mechanical tools will make up the toolkit when replacing trailer brakes:

  • Tire iron: To safely remove trailer wheels.
  • Grooved pliers: Ideal for gripping a trailer brake system’s disparately sized parts.
  • Flathead screwdriver: For a variety of necessary plying and screwing steps.
  • Mallet: For the quickest, most functional way to remove the initial grease and dust trap.
  • Wire cutters: Essential to cut and remove your brake’s old magnet wires and crimp its new ones.
  • Torque wrench: To tighten the trailer’s wheel and various brake pieces into place, following manual limits.
  • Hammer: Making sure various smaller seals and washers you’ll be installing sit flush around edges.

2. General Equipment

In addition to the tools above, make sure to have the following items on hand:

  • Hydraulic car jack: To prop the vehicle up, then support the trailer while it’s mounted off-ground.
  • Work gloves: Work gloves are especially important if you’re packing grease into your own replacement bearings, a process explained more in-depth below.
  • Appropriate grease lubricant: Ideally a type approved by the axle manufacturer, to pack inner and outer brake bearings.

How to Replace Trailer Brakes

Interested in the process of replacing your trailer brakes? Professional mechanics follow these step-by-step instructions to assure a smooth, safe and, hopefully, head-ache-free electric trailer brake installation.

1. Perform a Brake Controller Inspection

Before getting your hands dirty, you must first inspect the mechanical heart of the entire trailer’s braking system — the brake controller.

Brake controllers connect and communicate with your brake drum’s magnet. Most drivers will place their controllers near or beneath their dashboards, making it easy to access and check when braking issues arise.

To run an initial brake controller inspection, review the following:

  • Wire conditions: Controller wires should look smooth and intact, without visible fraying, bumps, tears or scoring
  • Schematic included: Make sure your brake controller still contains its schematic — that is, its general wiring diagram signaling how to wire the trailer according to its specs properly.
  • Proper power readings and outputs: Controllers should be sending appropriate outputs to your trailer brakes, which you can check using a voltmeter or similar device.

Expose the Inner Brake Drum

2. Expose the Inner Brake Drum

Brake drum deconstruction begins by removing the outer dust or grease cap, then removing a handful of components around the central spindle or axle.

  1. Remove the dust/grease cap: Use large grooved pliers, a screwdriver or — when caps are older and worn — a mallet to pop off the cap. If using a mallet, apply forcible but controlled outward-facing hits while spinning the drum to loosen it gradually.
  2. Pry off the nut retainer: Next, use a large flathead screwdriver to push off the nut retainer and then the securing cotter pin, if there is one.
  3. Spin off the spindle nut: Use your hands to remove the retaining spindle nut from the central axle.
  4. Remove the outer bearing: At this point, the outer wheel bearing should slip off relatively smoothly. It’s generally recommended to discard outer bearings, as these components tend to get rusty with age.

3. Inspect the Brake Drum Assembly

With your brake drum interior assembly exposed, you can now inspect its interior assembly components, including the magnet. Check the overall brake drum assembly for:

  • Cracks, scores or loose springs across the drum assembly’s surface
  • Proper drum thickness, not worn down away from suggested spec sizes

Mechanics will then turn their attention to the assembly’s central magnet, which is what receives outputs from the controller to engage the trailer brakes. They’ll check to see if the magnet:

  • Wiggles around a bit when pushed. This is good — you don’t want stiff or congealed magnets.
  • Contains four surface dots. Trailer brake magnets should contain four dots on its face-side surface. When a magnet wears down, these dots disappear.

This is also a great point to check your star wheel. Star wheels are a small adjustment spring located at the bottom of your magnet. Like the magnet itself, it should also wiggle when pressed but shouldn’t feel loose.

4. Remove the Brake Drum’s Inner Wheel Bearing and Seal Components

First, use wire cutters to snip your magnet’s wires just behind the drum’s backplate. This can be a daunting step, often one best left to professionals.

  • Important note: Perform this step only when reinstalling an entirely new brake assembly kit. Otherwise, you’ll permanently cut off your magnet-controller connection.

Begin unscrewing the nuts and washers holding the interior brake assembly to its central axle. You may also have to unscrew the wheel bearing seal, which many manufacturers mark with arrows. Once unscrewed, the rest of the drum assembly should slide right off, leaving you with a naked axle.

5. Clean the Removed Drum and Axle Spindle

Use appropriate solvents to spray and clean your axle, removing any dirt, grime or residual lubricant that’s accumulated. Do the same with your interior brake drum you’ve just removed.

This is also a great time to clean and grease your unit’s zerk filling, dumping out any residual grease and refilling it with fresh lubricant. Inspect the bearing races you exposed in Steps 2 and 4. If any are scarred or chipped, find replacements immediately. Finally, add a light layer of fresh lubricant back onto your spindle.

6. Replace the Inner Brake Assembly

Your new inner drum assembly likely comes in a kit containing all the components and pieces you’ll need for the new drum. These kits tend to include but aren’t limited to any of the following:

  • Left- and right-side shoes
  • Fresh bolts, usually around 3/8-inch
  • Magnet unit
  • Inner bearings, sometimes pre-grease packed, other times not

Once removed from its packaging, carefully place the new inner brake assembly on the freshly lubricated spindle. Take care you position the assembly’s right and left shoes in their appropriate sides. You may also now coil-crimp your assembly magnet’s two wires back where you cut the old ones, just behind the drum plate. Trailer brake magnets are not polarized, so the positive and negative sides can be interchanged here.

Keep in mind the following situations that often strike while replacing an inner brake drum assembly:

  • The drum won’t fit over the left and right shoe: Expand the shoes by turning the tension adjuster, or star wheel, located at the base of the brake assembly’s magnet. The drum should eventually slide between the two tabs.
  • Overall shoe tension isn’t right: There should be a tiny gap left between the drum and the left and right shoes. Too much or too little room left between these components, and you’ll have a hard time applying enough pressure to your trailer brakes. While drums and shoes actually do self-adjust for proper pressurization over time, they must start off on a semi-appropriate spatial ratio to ensure you’re driving a stoppable vehicle.

7. Add New Wheel Bearings and Races, If Needed

Grease your inner bearings before applying them back into the outer brake drum hub, which should also be lubricated. However, do note that greasing bearings is a dirty job. These ridged pieces need to be “packed” with grease, either by using a professional bearing packer tool or by placing a blob in your palm and packing it the old-fashioned way.

Don’t be stingy when grease packing. You want each bearing to be slicked, even slightly oozing, with lubricant, able to slide easily back into the drum hub and onto the axle. Double-check you’re using only high-temperature wheel bearing grease as well.

8. Reinstall the New Outer Brake Bearing Components

At this point, you’re ready to attach the outer brake bearings and assembly components back over the cleaned and lubricated axle. This will connect it with your inner brake assembly components, including your newly wired magnet.

After positioning the drum hub, you can begin reinstalling the other outer drum and bearing components you removed in Step 2, now in reverse order. That means reinstalling first the hub with its packed grease bearings, then the wider drum, then the outer wheel bearing, the bearing washers, the retaining spindle nut, the cotter pin and — last but not least — the grease cap.

If your grease cap is worn or damaged and no longer seats squarely over a hub, find a replacement. Grease caps are generally inexpensive but it’s critical they seal tightly.

9. Return the Tire

With all of your new trailer brake pieces in place, you may now reinstall your trailer’s tires. Use a torque wrench or similar tool to torque the lug nuts back to their designated factory specs.

10. Test Actuation

Last but not least, grab your brake controller to run a final actuation test. This test checks to see if the electric side of your trailer brake system has been configured correctly, namely the crimping system wires back in Step 6.

Maximum voltage outputs during your actuation will vary depending on your trailer type and brake kit. However, if the voltmeter or similar testing device doesn’t register a maximum voltage output in less than five seconds, or if readings don’t match manufacturer schematics, there may be a lingering problem with the trailer brake. Wiring problems like these are rare when all installation steps and details have been performed by a professional.

Find a trailer brake inspection and service provider near you

When to Have Trailer Brakes Replaced Professionally

Having a professional mechanic inspect or install your electronic trailer brakes can be a relief. For many people, the technicality and gravity of properly replacing trailer brakes is too big a task to take on themselves.

Always err on the side of caution when it comes to working on your trailer, including tackling even “minor” brake concerns. If any of the following situations apply to you, consider scheduling a trailer brake inspection or repair.

1. You’re Unsure About Drum Conditions

Brake drums are reusable. Yet as one of the central components of the entire braking system, you may find yourself wanting a second opinion on the true nature of its condition.

Local auto shops can inspect your drums beyond surface rust. Some even have special machines which can put drums through a rejuvenation process called turning, which is more cost-conscious than buying new drum kits altogether.

2. You Want a Second Opinion on Shoe-Drum Tension

Properly seating shoes is essential to creating and maintaining good levels of friction for braking. It can also take a little finesse, particularly to find that initial balance between drum-shoe gaps and wiggle room before they self-adjust over time.

Professional mechanics can set that Goldilocks-level amount of tension within your new brake system. This may alleviate any worry your brakes aren’t seated properly or aren’t self-adjusting at healthy rates.

3. You Just Want the Expert’s Touch

There are nearly a dozen pieces of equipment that go into installing a brand new trailer brake kit. What’s more, installing trailer brakes almost always involves electrical actuation tests and precise wire cutting in addition to the physical mechanics, adding another daunting layer of work.

Having a professional install your trailer brakes ensures it’s done quickly and done well. That pledge is powerful, putting your mind at ease while you haul thousands of pounds down the open road.

Find a Trailer Brake Inspection and Service Provider Near You

Reach out to the trailer experts at All Pro Trailer Superstore with any questions you have regarding your trailer’s electric brake systems. No concern is too small — and no reason justifies leaving the safety of your brakes to chance.

Snow Plows and Spreader Equipment

Now that we’ve covered the basics, you’re ready for the next step. In this chapter, we’ll help you explore your plow and spreader options further. We’ll also provide tips for maintaining and storing your winter maintenance equipment so you’ll be ready to get through many more snowstorms.

What Is the Best Snow Plow to Buy?

Buying a plow is an investment that can serve you and your community for a long time.

The best plow to buy depends on your needs and intended use. It’s critical to choose a durable plow that’s built to last. You’ll also want to buy a plow from a reputable dealer who will be there to assist you during and after you make a purchase.

When it comes to choosing the best material for your plow, you have two main choices — polyethylene (poly) or steel. Poly and steel are both high quality materials for a plow but have their differences.

Poly is best for corrosion resistance, while steel has excellent cutting abilities. However, stainless steel is known for its corrosion resistance in addition to its durability. You can expect high-quality and outstanding performance with all SnowDogg plows.

How Wide Should a Snow Plow Be?

The width of the plow should suit the front gross axle weight rating (FGAWR) of your vehicle. It also helps to know the rear gross axle weight rating (RGAWR) and the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). The GVWR is not how much your vehicle weighs but represents the weight limit. The GVWR is usually found on a label in the door frame. Generally, heavier trucks can handle wider blades. You can also call your vehicle manufacturer to find out how much weight your truck can haul.

Knowing how much your vehicle can carry on its front axle is the first thing you’ll want to consider when shopping for a plow. Also, think about whether you plan to do residential or commercial plowing to help you select the right size and shape. At Trailer Superstore, we offer a range of plow sizes for small trucks and large vehicles. Tell us what you’re looking for, and we’ll help you make the best choice for your needs and budget.

What Is the Best Salt Spreader for Sidewalks?

A walk-behind spreader is the best tool for salting sidewalks and narrow pathways. A walk-behind spreader allows you to spread salt efficiently and evenly and helps prevent oversalting.

How to Maintain Snow Plows and Spreaders

Year after year of harsh winter weather takes its toll, even on the toughest pieces of equipment. Proper equipment maintenance helps extend equipment lifespans and ensures plows and spreaders work to their full capacities.

It’s a good idea to inspect equipment in the summer or fall and make repairs if needed. You’ll also want to check equipment after every storm.

Here are more maintenance tips to help you make the most of your wintertime tools:

  • Inspect parts for damage: Check the moldboard and cutting edge condition of your plow and look for cracks. Make sure cutting edges are correctly aligned and replace excessively worn shoes. Inspect hoses, the plow power unit and other important parts. Mount, load and test the spreader. Inspect the spreader spinner, auger, pumps, hoses, controls and fittings. Look for any loose or missing bolts.
  • Check fluids and lubricate: Check hydraulic fluid and change after each season. Keep moving parts lubricated.
  • Wash equipment: Clean, wash and allow equipment to dry after each storm. Make sure to empty and clean the salt spreader after each use and rinse the salt off your blade. Washing equipment extends its life, improves efficiency and minimizes corrosion.
  • Calibrate spreaders: You should calibrate your salt spreader before each season, a couple of times during the season and any time you change the material. The goal is to calibrate application rates for the minimum amount of salt required. You’ll need a helping hand to complete this process. One person will measure the output while the other will control the spreader. Document the settings and amounts of material used.

How to Store Snow Plows and Spreaders

How you store your winter maintenance equipment is just as crucial as making repairs and inspecting components for damage. Generally, you want to make sure your pieces are clean, dry and protected from the elements when they are not in use. Proper storage protects plows and spreaders from corrosion, damage and theft. It also keeps materials in great shape throughout the summer, so you don’t have to replace them when winter rolls around again. Just consider the storage facility location, size and accessibility so you can easily remove your equipment when its time to prepare for the season. Here are other simple tips for proper equipment storage:

  • Never store plows or spreaders without cleaning them first.
  • Remove equipment from vehicles and repair any damaged parts before storing them.
  • Store plows on a pallet indoors or covered with a tarp.
  • Store equipment in a dry, secure location.
  • Properly store salt to prevent runoff.
  • Make sure the equipment is kept off of the floor and protected from precipitation.

How to Purchase Snow Plows and Spreaders From All Pro Trailer Superstore

At All Pro Trailer Superstore, we make it easy to select the best commercial snow plow and salt spreader for your truck.

We offer a vast selection of new and used snow plows, salt spreaders and trailers from manufacturers you can trust. And, we’re excited to consider your needs and help you choose. Our knowledgeable team is driven to go beyond customer expectations and assist you before, during and after purchasing winter maintenance equipment.

To buy your equipment, you can browse our selection now or contact our team for information and guidance. Don’t live near our showroom in central Pennsylvania? No problem. We offer delivery services nationwide and internationally.

If you’re concerned about budget, we got you covered with that, too. We’re committed to helping all of our customers obtain the equipment they need for their homes or businesses, and we partner with Sheffield Financial to offer financing services for customers.

Whether you’re wondering how to use a salt spreader or which type of plow to buy for your truck, our professionals are ready to answer your questions and help you make the right choice.

Contact Trailer Superstore Today

There are many reasons to love the winter, such as picturesque snowy hillsides and holiday celebrations. But as any snowy region resident knows, driving in the winter is a different story. It’s hard to enjoy driving when roads are slippery and dangerous. It might seem easier and safer to stay inside when a snowstorm strikes.

Businesses and homeowners don’t need to close their doors during the winter. Snow plows and salt dispensers give you control of your property and allow you to clear the way for customers, employees and yourself. With winter maintenance equipment, you can keep business running all winter long and prevent snow-related injuries.

At All Pro Trailer Superstore, we understand that businesses and homeowners need access to roads, parking lots, sidewalks and driveways at all times. We also know how frustrating it can be to handle snow and ice without the proper equipment. We offer high-quality plows and spreaders from top names to ensure our customers can make snow and ice removal a simple, fast and effective process. Whether you’re looking for salt spreaders or snow plows for sale, we’re here to offer great deals, unbeatable customer service and high-performing equipment. Browse our selection of plows and spreaders, or contact our team to learn more.

Download the Guide to Snow Plows & Spreaders

What Are Salt Spreaders?

It’s true — nothing beats a plow when it comes to snow removal. However, if you want to get down to the bare pavement, you’ll need some assistance. This is where salt spreaders come in handy.

You’ve probably walked on a salt-covered sidewalk before during the winter. Chances are, you appreciated walking on salt rather than slipping on ice. Believe it or not, Americans were not too happy about road salt when it first appeared as a snow-removal tool in the 1800s. Salt damaged the shoes and clothing of pedestrians and made the streets unsuitable for sleigh drivers.

During the 20th century, cities realized that salt was more effective when applied to ice and light snowfall rather than tossed on piles of snow. With plows leaving behind layers of ice, consumers were demanding salt and sand to make the roads safer for traveling. Soon, businesses and residents were throwing tons of salt on driveways and sidewalks to keep them ice-free. Cities
initially salted the roads by shoveling salt out of the beds of trucks, which was physically demanding.

Eventually, spreaders were attached to trucks to distribute fertilizer for agricultural purposes. Today, spreaders are designed to distribute salt efficiently at controlled flow rates and high speeds.

Salt spreaders are a crucial component of winter road maintenance and are often used in conjunction with plows. Salt lowers the freezing point of water and ultimately prevents ice formation.

In this chapter, we’ll show you how salt spreaders work, the different types of spreaders available and how to choose the right device for your vehicle.

What Are Salt Spreaders and How Do They Work?

A salt spreader is a device used to distribute a solid material on the road. A salt spreader attaches to the rear of a vehicle and disperses salt or sand as the vehicle moves along. Typically the operator will use sodium chloride in the form of solid rock salt. Calcium chloride, potassium chloride and magnesium chloride are other options.

Once a spreader is mounted onto a truck, the operator fills the hopper with salt and turns it on. Operators control the auger and spinner from inside the cab to regulate how much of the material is spread per mile. The auger pulls the material, such as salt, from the hopper towards the discharge chute. The spinner disk distributes the salt over a wide area.

Spreaders are used to apply salt to roads during the de-icing stage. Deicing occurs after snow and ice have already accumulated and bonded with surfaces. Salt is not meant to melt snow, but rather keep it from adhering to the pavement. It can be difficult to remove ice from roadways without the use of de-icing materials, nor is it suitable for a plow. De-icing chemicals must
be used to break the bond between ice and the road.

Generally, you’ll want to plow snow and loose ice before applying de-icing materials. However, you might spread salt during a snowstorm to make it easier to clear ice and snow with a plow afterward if the conditions are right.

Salt loses its effectiveness as temperatures drop. For example, at 10 F, it takes an hour for salt to melt a 1/8-inch-thick layer of ice. The Minnesota Department of Transportation recommends not using salt at temperatures below 15 F because it won’t melt fast enough, and it’s not cost-effective. When it’s too cold for salt to work, you can use your spreader to apply sand or another abrasive material. Sand will not melt anything, but it will make surfaces less slippery. It’s best only to use sand when necessary because it clogs sewers and ditches. You might use a salt-sand mix during freezing rain to help keep salt from washing away. Otherwise, it’s not recommended to use a blend because salt makes sand less effective.

Types of Spreader Equipment

Like plows, spreaders are available in a range of sizes and shapes for various applications. Types of salt spreaders include:

  • Tailgate spreaders: Tailgate spreaders feature high-capacity hoppers and mount on the rear of a vehicle. Tailgate spreaders are considered dependable and straightforward and are perfect for keeping the bed of your truck open.
  • In-bed spreaders: In-bed, or V-box, salt spreaders are popular commercial salt spreaders commonly used by professionals. These types of spreaders sit in the bed of a truck and feature various moving parts. In-bed spreaders are ideal for big projects.
  • Tow-behind spreaders: Tow-behind spreaders are pulled by a vehicle or tractor. They are better at covering a large area than a walk-behind spreader but are less accurate than a tailgate or in-bed spreader.
  • Walk-behind spreaders: A walk-behind spreader looks and functions similar to a wheelbarrow and requires you to push the hopper with a handle and two wheels. A walk-behind spreader is an excellent choice for salting sidewalks or tight spaces.

At Trailer Superstore, you’ll find high-quality SaltDogg tailgate and in-bed spreaders to help you cover driveways, parking lots and more.

The Benefits of Owning a Commercial Salt Spreader

Simply said, salt spreaders keep ice from sticking to the pavement and therefore reduce accidents. For maximum snow removal, you need a salt spreader to complement your plow.

Here are more reasons why it’s worth adding a salt spreader to your arsenal of winter tools:

  • Spreaders are versatile: Spreaders have multiple applications and allow you to spread various materials. For example, you can use the same spreader to apply sand over snow-covered surfaces as you use for salt, so you don’t need to buy a separate device.
  • They save time and effort: Although you can grab a bag of salt and coat your parking lot by hand, is it really something you have time for when your business needs to open in 10 minutes? A salt spreader gets the job done fast and doesn’t require you to freeze your hands.
  • Salt spreaders clear the road completely: Plows can’t clear the road down to the bare pavement, but salt spreaders can. Therefore, without a salt spreader, you’ll still have a slick parking lot or driveway and risky conditions for employees, customers and guests.
  • Spreaders are a freezing-rain solution: Unfortunately, you can’t plow freezing rain, which can be a problem. Freezing rain causes icy pavement, which leads to about 520 deaths a year and over 150,000 car crashes. A salt spreader gives you the power to clear roads during freezing rain.

Tips for Choosing a Salt Spreader

If you live in a snowy area, you’ll get a lot of use out of a salt spreader. But, that doesn’t mean any type of spreader will do.

You’ll need to consider various factors when choosing the best spreader for your applications, such as the size of your vehicle, the surface you’ll be clearing and the material you’ll use.

Make sure to consider the following:

  • Weight and size: If you choose an in-bed spreader, you’ll need to keep in mind you’ll be placing it in the bed of your truck, while a tailgate salt spreader will be mounted to the back. Choose a spreader that your vehicle is capable of hauling in harsh weather conditions.
  • Capacity: Think about the capacity you need for the route. You’ll have to consider the size of the area you need to cover. Tailgate or in-bed spreaders are both great options for big jobs or commercial routes, whereas a walk-behind spreader makes the most sense for sidewalk applications.
  • Ease of use: Choose a spreader that’s easy to load, attach and operate so you can start using your equipment right away.
  • Durability: A salt spreader should be durable and resistant to corrosion. Just like your plow, your salt spreader is an investment that should last you many years. It’s worth prioritizing quality over savings as you shop because you’ll spend less on replacement parts and repairs in the long run.
  • Purpose: Choose the right device for the job, and consider whether you need a commercial salt spreader or one for personal use.

Still have questions? We can help you choose the best salt spreader for your vehicle and salting requirements.

The Best Way to Spread Salt

The best way to spread salt as a de-icer is to remove as much snow as possible before application. Remember, salt does not melt snow — it keeps ice from bonding with pavement.

Also, keep in mind that salt must mix with water to prevent ice formation, so there’s no need to spread more than what’s necessary. According to the Wisconsin Transportation Information Center, it’s most effective to spread 100 to 300 pounds of salt per single lane mile. Other tips to remember include:

  • Spread salt sparingly in high foot traffic areas.
  • Properly store salt to keep it dry — it should not have a moisture content of greater than 1.5%.
  • Use just enough salt to break the bond between snow and ice so it can be plowed.
  • If possible, salt before it snows or when a storm begins to keep snow or ice from sticking to the pavement.
  • Consider the temperature — salt won’t work if the pavement temperature is below 15 F.
  • Make sure spreading equipment is properly calibrated to prevent oversalting and protect the environment.
  • Turn off the auger whenever you stop, even if just for a moment.

Download the Guide to Snow Plows & Spreaders

What Are Snow Plows?

Snow plows help businesses and homeowners quickly and safely remove snow from their property. They’ve been around since the 19th century when snow removal became a necessity in cities like New York and Chicago. One of the first known uses of a snow plow occurred in 1862 in Milwaukee when horses pulled a cart with an attached plow through the streets. It didn’t take
long for towns and cities to realize there’s no better way to remove snow than with a plow.

Although they’re typically no longer drawn by horses, plows are still the main tool for snow removal. According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, an analysis of various winter maintenance strategies found that plowing is the most effective form of winter maintenance.

Today’s snow plows are available in a range of shapes and sizes to suit different needs and budgets. You’ll find options whether you need to plow your driveway or free up parking spaces for your customers. If you live in a snowy state, know that you can put your shovel away forever and use better equipment that saves you back pain and time.

In this chapter, we’ll show you how snow plows work and provide tips for buying the right tool for your home or business. If you’re ready to equip your truck now, keep reading to learn more, or browse our selection of snow plows at All Pro Trailer Superstore.

What Are Snow Plows and How Do They Work?

A snow plow is an attachment that’s typically mounted on the front of a vehicle for snow and ice removal. Plows are usually connected to trucks, loaders or motor grades. These vehicles are durable and strong enough to bear the weight of a plow and push snow.

Plows come in many shapes and sizes and are designed to scoop and push snow to the side to clear a road. The DOT might use a 12-foot-wide reversible plow, for example, to clear a 10-foot-wide path. The operator maneuvers the plow from inside the cab using levers or a controller.

Plows are often used in conjunction with salt spreaders, though they can be used independently. De-icing chemicals may be applied first to loosen compact snow and make it easier to plow.

The Different Types of Snow Plows

Manufacturers produce a wide variety of plows for different needs and applications. For example, a dump truck used to clear a highway will need a plow that’s wide enough to handle the job. A smaller plow designed for a pickup truck is the better choice for clearing a driveway.

Let’s look at the different types of plows to help you choose the right one:

  • Front-end plows: Front-end plows are the most common type of plow. DOTs across the country use as many as 950 front-end plows every season. Front-end plows come in many varieties such as reversible, straight or V-plow. Straight plows are the basic blade you’ll commonly see on pickup trucks. Reversible plows move snow to the left or right. V-plows are designed to handle deep snow and push it to both sides. V-plows are often used on large trucks.
  • Tow plows: A tow plow mounts on the rear of a truck and pushes snow in the same direction as the front-end plow. A tow plow and front-end plow work together to clear a much wider area of snow or an additional 26 feet.
  • Rotary plows: Rotary plows are similar to snow blowers. They blow snow from the sides of roads to widen the space and make room for more snowfall. Rotary plows can be found in extremely snowy regions, like in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, for example, where over 500 inches of snow can fall a year.
  • Wing plows: Wing plows are smaller side-mounted plows designed to increase path width and plowing efficiency. They are often attached to the side of a front plow. However, they may also be placed in the middle or rear. A wing plow allows a vehicle to push ice and snow further to the side to clear a path of up to 22-feet-wide. Business owners and government agencies use wing plows because they remove more snow in less time.
  • Underbody plows: Underbody plows are fixed underneath a vehicle and are used to help scrape packed snow from the roads. They may be applied with front plows to tackle deep snow or used as stand-alone solutions.

The typical snow plow consists of the following components:

  • Moldboard: The moldboard is the blade, often composed of steel or polyethylene, that pushes the snow to the side. You might think of the moldboard as the body of the plow.
  • Cutting edge: The cutting edge is situated at the bottom of the moldboard and helps protect it from damage. Cutting edges might be made of steel, carbide, rubber, polymer or a combination of materials.
  • Shoe: A shoe is an additional cutting edge attached to the end of the moldboard. Its purpose is to protect the plow from the curb. At Trailer Superstore, we offer the Hiniker Trip-Edge Scoop Plow with a distinct concave shape for fast, effective plowing; the expandable stainless steel SnowDogg Plow for width control; the heavy-duty SnowDogg V-Plow; plus a range of plow sizes for large and small trucks.

The Benefits of Owning a Snow Plow

There are many benefits to owning a snow plow whether your business exists in a commercial building or your home, such as:

  • Shows customers you care: When you own a plow, you can remove ice and snow whenever you need to and always have a well-maintained lot. Customers will appreciate the effort you put into keeping them safe while they visit your building.
  • Decreases the risk of slips and falls: Plowing, along with spreading salt or sand, allows you to clear a surface and add traction. After you plow, employees and customers can walk to your building with confidence and without the fear of falling and injuring themselves. A plow also helps you prevent car crashes on your property.
  • Brings peace of mind: As a business owner, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing you’ve taken the proper steps to protect your workers and customers during and after a snowstorm. Homeowners can feel more secure when they have a plow on hand because they can clear their driveways quickly and keep snow from accumulating.
  • Makes life easier: When you own a plow, you can make it easy for yourself, customers and employees to park and access the building. You also don’t have to worry about who you’ll hire to save the day or how you’ll get snow under control in time. Customers can depend on your business regardless of the season.
  • Helps prevent indoor messiness: Snow isn’t just a hazard on the road. When people drag snow indoors on their shoes and clothes, it eventually melts and turns into a slippery puddle. When you can plow and lay down salt, customers and employees don’t have to trudge through the snow to get inside. As a result, you’ll have less of a mess, and fewer lawsuits, on your hands.

In a perfect world, we would know precisely when it’s going to snow and how much. In reality, snow can happen at any time and fall as if the sky collapsed. When you own a snow plow, the ever-changing forecast is less problematic because you already have what you need to handle a storm.

Tips for Choosing a Snow Plow

How do you buy the right snow plow? The best snow plow to buy depends on your needs, budget, the type of plowing you plan to do, whether you want to buy new or used, and other factors.

Make sure to consider the following when choosing your snow plow:

  • Size: You need to consider the weight of your vehicle so that you can select the right-sized plow. You’ll want to avoid buying a plow that’s too big or too small for your vehicle to prevent damage to either piece of machinery. Your vehicle’s front gross axle weight rating (GAWR) will guide you in the right direction.
  • Purpose: Choose a plow that has the width and angle you need to serve its purpose. For example, do you need a commercial plow that offers versatility so you can clear roadways in a range of settings? If so, consider a V-plow. Do you only need a plow to clear your driveway? A straight blade plow should do the job just fine. Also, think about the width of the area you need to clear. A wider plow will clear a wider space.
  • Material: Consider blade material and the performance you need. For example, steel is often the material-of-choice due to its durability and strength. A steel plow is an excellent option for home and business owners who need a reliable blade.
  • Quality: Buying a snow plow is an investment. Your plow can serve you for many years if you choose a quality piece of equipment. Therefore, it’s worth spending extra on a plow that’s built to last.
  • Dealer: Consider the plow dealer, and if they are reliable and offer repair services. The dealer should be available to help you before, during and after you purchase your equipment.
  • Features: Decide whether you need features like lighting for plowing in the dark or wing extensions. If a plow doesn’t come with lighting, consider buying a light kit so you can plow any time of day if needed.

Need assistance in making the right choice? Reach out to us at Trailer Superstore, and we’ll be happy to help.

Download the Guide to Snow Plows & Spreaders

How Winter Weather Affects Road Conditions

Can you remember snowball fights or celebrating snow days? While winter may be a fun season for kids, it’s often a frustrating time of year for adults or anyone who has to travel regularly. Drivers know how dangerous and time consuming it can be to traverse snowy or icy roads. Thankfully, snow plows and salt spreaders make it possible to get where you need to go despite the
weather forecast.

How Winter Weather Affects Road Conditions

Winter weather, which includes snow, ice, freezing rain and drifting snow, can make roads slippery, dangerous and challenging to travel over. Sometimes, layers of ice hide beneath slush or snow and may cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle when they least expect it. Both freezing rain and snow may also impair visibility. Overall, winter weather conditions increase crash
risk and slow traffic.

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), nearly 6 million car crashes occur each year due to weather conditions. About 18% of weather related accidents occur when it’s snowing or sleeting, and 13% happen on icy pavement. Snow and ice lead to millions of hours of delay each year, costing trucking companies billions of dollars annually. If you own a business in a snowy region, you likely know what it’s like to have employees call off due to road conditions. You can greatly improve access to your business with the help of winter maintenance equipment.

How Snow Plows and Spreaders Improve Road Conditions

Snow plows and salt spreaders make an effective team when it comes to battling snow. Snow plows remove snow buildup from roads while spreaders coat road surfaces with salt. Salt keeps ice from bonding with the pavement and makes it easier to plow road surfaces. You need both types of equipment for optimum snow and ice removal.

What You’ll Learn in This Guide

Snow plows and salt spreaders help keep roads and parking lots safe. Business owners can protect customers and continue operations with the help of snow removal equipment. Homeowners, especially those who live in rural areas, can use personal plows and spreaders to prevent themselves from being snowed in.

If you’re interested in buying a snow plow and spreader to prepare for winter, you probably have some questions. In this guide, we’ll show you how to make a wise investment. We’ll cover topics such as:

  • How to buy a snow plow
  • How winter weather impacts businesses
  • How snow plows and spreaders work
  • Plow and spreader maintenance tips
  • How to store equipment out of season

Without snow plows and salt spreaders, businesses would shut down, homeowners would be trapped inside, and roads would be impossible to use. Thanks to snow removal equipment, life goes on, even when a polar vortex doesn’t want to give up.

At All Pro Trailer Superstore, we supply the best names in snow plows and salt spreaders. Whether you’re searching for a dependable salt spreader for sale or a heavy-duty snow plow, we are your go-to source for winter maintenance equipment.

The Importance of Winter Maintenance Equipment

For many Americans, snow and ice is part of their reality come wintertime. According to the DOT, over 70% of roads in the United States are located within snowy regions. A Pennsylvanian might see anywhere from 8 to 100 inches of snow each year, for example, depending on where they live within the state. In central Pennsylvania, the average annual snowfall ranges from about 31 inches to 46 inches a year. This doesn’t mean Pennsylvania residents need to hibernate for winter. Snow removal equipment lessens the impact of extreme weather events on businesses and helps keep residents safe.

In this chapter, we’ll explore the importance of commercial snow removal equipment and how weather affects the economy. If you have more questions about professional snow removal equipment or would like to know your options as a homeowner, contact us at Trailer Superstore, where we’re ready to help.

What Is Winter Maintenance Equipment?

Winter maintenance equipment refers to a range of tools used before, during and after a snowstorm to keep snow and ice from accumulating. You may have heard the terms de-icing, which refers to the removal of snow and ice, and anti-icing, which is the practice of treating roadways with chemicals before a storm to make it easier to plow.

Both de-icing and anti-icing make up a winter maintenance strategy and require the use of specialized equipment, such as:

  • Plows
  • Salt spreaders
  • Liquid spreaders
  • Wheel loaders
  • Snow blowers
  • Motor graders
  • Trucks

Heavy-duty vehicles like trucks, loaders and motor graders can be fitted with plows to remove snow from streets, parking lots and other areas. Salt spreaders can be mounted to vehicles to scatter salt or sand on roads.

Winter maintenance teams also use support equipment to achieve their goals. Support equipment refers to:

  • Salt, sand or other spreading materials
  • Salt bins
  • Transport trailers
  • Accessories such as plow guards or lights

Equipment owners must consider how they’ll transport winter maintenance tools to and from snow removal sites, and they also need to make sure they have adequate storage space for their machinery.

How Does Winter Weather Affect Businesses?

Winter weather makes a big impact on the economy because it affects business operations and influences consumer behavior.

It’s hard to predict exactly how much snow costs the economy, but experts guess it’s in the millions each year for states located in snowy regions. Here are a few reasons why businesses take a hit during a winter storm:

  • Employees call off: Employees may not be able to report to work during a snowstorm, which slows production and increases lost revenue. Employers must also find ways to replace employees who can’t make it in, which may mean paying other workers overtime. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lost productivity linked to absenteeism costs employers over $225 billion a year in the United States. Simply said, when employees call off, businesses lose money.
  • Customers stay home: Customer activity declines because people are not willing to drive during winter weather events. For example, in January 2013, during a polar vortex, there was a 3% drop in sales in the auto industry. While grocery stores might see a boost in customer activity right before a storm, other types of businesses, such as restaurants, can expect a drop in sales.
  • Businesses close: If there’s no way for employees to make it to work, a business may have to close its doors during a storm. When a business closes, it loses money because it can’t make any sales or produce goods. It may also lose customers to competitors. For some companies, just a single day of shutting down leads to substantial loss. According to a Boston Herald article, retailers lost roughly $10 million every day they closed or stayed open but had little business during a snowstorm. IHS Global Insight claims that a major snowstorm costs businesses and
    government agencies between $300 and $700 million with only a single day shutdown.
  • Businesses face legal risks: Icy parking lots and sidewalks put businesses at risk of personal injury lawsuits. No matter the size, no company is immune to a lawsuit. With a lawsuit comes the cost of hiring lawyers, settling the case and repairing a damaged reputation. It’s best to prevent a lawsuit from happening in the first place.
  • Inventory suffers: Suppliers may not be able to deliver inventory during or after a snowstorm, which means businesses may not be able to stay on schedule or meet their customers’ needs. A winter storm could also damage inventory, depending on the type. For example, if you own a restaurant and have to close during a storm due to a power outage, you won’t be able to sell perishable items to customers once you reopen.

The good news is companies can prepare for winter weather and reduce its impact. Even if snow or ice keeps customers and employees home for a day, the right tools can get you back on track faster and with much less effort. Competitors who can’t handle the snow won’t be able to keep up with your business.

The Dangers of Not Having Winter Maintenance Equipment

There are some items business owners can skip and still keep customers and employees happy. For example, a grocery store doesn’t need an indoor pool to attract and retain customers. Other items, like pieces of snow removal equipment, are must-haves for businesses and some homeowners in snowy regions.

Not owning winter maintenance equipment is too great a risk to take, and here are the reasons why:

  • It’s hazardous: Icy or snowy surfaces can lead to injured employees or customers. Businesses could face a lawsuit if someone slips and injures themselves because the company neglected to maintain its property. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, thousands of workers were injured in falls involving ice, sleet or snow in states such as New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan in 2014. Likewise, homeowners need a way to get out of their homes quickly and safely in an emergency. It’s just not worth it to not be prepared. Fortunately, you have many options to help you keep parking areas and sidewalks free of snow.
  • Shoveling is dangerous and time-consuming: Removing snow with a shovel can be dangerous. According to the National Safety Council, shoveling snow causes thousands of injuries a year and as many as 100 deaths. Without the right equipment, it can take hours to remove snow from a driveway, sidewalk and parking lot. Plows, on the other hand, remove snow quickly and efficiently. Plow operators are less likely to overexert themselves and more likely to produce clear, safe surfaces in less time than someone who shovels.
  • It’s bad for business: Not owning winter maintenance equipment is also costly in a business sense. If people can’t safely walk to a business or find somewhere to park, they are more likely to go to a competitor. Keeping your property well-maintained all year long shows you care about your customers, and you’re proud of your company.

Why Owning Equipment Is Better Than Renting

It’s important to own winter maintenance equipment rather than rent so that you’re always prepared for the next big storm. Purchasing snow removal equipment is an investment that has several advantages, such as:

  • It’s more affordable in the long run: If you live somewhere that promises snow or ice every winter, it usually doesn’t make sense to spend money renting equipment when you can own machinery you’ll use every year. When you own snow removal equipment, you also don’t have to hire someone to clear your property or pay extra for a fast response.
  • You can always sell equipment: You can’t get your money back when you rent equipment, but you can sell what you own. If you ever decide to head south and no longer need your snow plow or salt spreader, you may be able to sell these items and get a return on your investment.
  • You can upgrade equipment whenever you want: When you own snow removal equipment, you can add accessories or change pieces to suit your requirements whenever you want. You’ll enjoy greater flexibility with the type of snow removal work you can do, and you can always be prepared.
  • You can use the equipment whenever you need to: Perhaps the greatest reason to own equipment rather than rent is to always have it on hand. That way, you can be ready for unpredictable winter weather,and you won’t have to scramble to find help.

If you’re eager to shop for plows, spreaders or trailers to haul your winter equipment, browse our inventory at Trailer Superstore and prepare for a productive winter.

Download the Guide to Snow Plows & Spreaders

How to Practice Safe Trailer Towing

How to Practice Safe Trailer Towing

Don’t let safe towing become a drag on your trip. Learn to load, drive and maintain your trailer to make it safer to use. You wouldn’t get behind the wheel without knowing how to drive your vehicle, so why would you haul anything without knowing how to safely manage your trailer? Make the time to learn everything you need for safe trailer towing now.

Loading Your Trailer

Knowing how to tow a trailer is only half of the equation. Correctly hauling a trailer requires having an adequately loaded trailer. If the bulk of the load causes the trailer to tip forward or backward, you can lose control.

1. Importance of the Center of Gravity

 

Loading Your Trailer

The center of gravity indicates the middle position of the trailer’s weight. If you had the towing vehicle with its load suspended from a rope, the center of gravity would be the point where the trailer balances ideally.

When you’re loading, you must understand that the load you put into the trailer distributes its weight across the length of the container, but this weight distribution is uneven. If you place the cargo directly over the axle, the wheels will support the total weight of the load, but the tongue that connects to the hitch will have zero mass. Without the counterbalancing effects of the cargo, the tongue can sway during movement.

Should you place the load too far to the rear of the trailer, the tongue will have a negative weight on it, like an unoccupied seat of a seesaw with a person sitting on the other end. The natural tendency of a tongue with negative mass is to move upward, reducing control.

Use the instructions for the trailer to identify the ideal location of the load’s center of gravity. Since each fifth wheel and camper has a different design, consulting the owner’s manual will help you to know the best method to load it. General guidelines suggest the ideal tongue load and weight should account for between five and 15% of the total weight. This amount will allow for the greatest stability for a passenger car towing such a trailer.

Regardless of total weight, keep about 60% of the trailer’s cargo weight in front of the axle and 40% behind. Improperly loading the trailer by incorrectly distributing the weight is the top reason for trailer problems when they’re towed by cars. In addition, always secure all the cargo in place after loading and balancing the trailer. You don’t want a turn in the road to shift cargo in the container and cause sway or other control issues.

2. Load Weight

Along with placing the load correctly, you must keep the load weight below the maximum the manufacturer set for the trailer. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to see the highest trailer load it can handle. Many sedans cannot carry the same weights that trucks and vans can.

Sedans lack the towing capacity of trucks because the former don’t weigh as much as the latter. When towing, the towing vehicle’s empty weight must exceed a brakeless trailer’s filled weight. For example, a Honda Accord weighs 3,600 pounds, but a Ford F150 is 4,700 pounds. The truck can carry a much more massive load than the car.

When you’re looking up the gross axle weight rating, GAWR, also refer to the vehicle’s requirements for trailers concerning weight requirements for different hitch types. You’ll find information on when you must have sway control and a weight distribution hitch for your trailer. Heavier loads will increase the need for one of these specialty hitches, but you cannot surpass the vehicle’s total towing capability by using a weight distribution hitch. These hitches increase control, not towing weight.

Preparing for Trailer Towing Problems

Getting ready for complications will help you respond appropriately when they happen instead of reacting hastily. If you have safety measures on your towing vehicle and emergency equipment, you can recover quickly from any problem during towing.

1. Remember Safety First

Check the braking requirements of your vehicle. Some trailer weights or sizes will require brakes on the trailer. You have several options. Some towing vehicles have a means of integrating the trailer brakes with those of the car. For towing trucks or automobiles without this integration, consider your trailer brake options.

Surge brakes are hydraulically operated — the coupling on the hitch moves as you brake the towing vehicle. These types of brakes are found mostly on large boat trailers. For smaller containers such as those used for horses, travel and car hauling, you’ll have electric brakes with a control box mounted on the towing vehicle. When you brake your truck or car, the control box will trigger the trailer brakes. Smaller fifth-wheel trailers typically do not have these types of systems.

Regardless of whether the trailer has its brakes or not, connect its lights to your vehicle’s so that following cars can see if you hit your brakes.

Install safety chains if you have a travel trailer. While fifth wheel trailers don’t need safety chains, these parts keep the container from separating if the hitch disconnects. Cross the safety chains beneath the hitch’s joint. Do not allow the chains to drag on the ground or have them so tight that you cannot turn smoothly.

Once you’ve connected the safety features on the trailer, turn to what you have stocked in your vehicle for emergencies.

2. Keep a Well-Stocked Vehicle

Regardless of whether you have a trailer or not, you need emergency supplies in your vehicle. At any time, you must have the equipment on hand to change a tire and alert other vehicles if your car breaks down. These pieces of equipment increase in necessity when you have an extra number of tires with the trailer, any one of which could go flat during your ride.

To properly stock your vehicle, ensure that you have the following:

  • Hydraulic jack
  • Spare tires for trailer and vehicle
  • Tire iron
  • Emergency flares and hazard triangles
  • Reflective safety vest
  • First aid kit
  • Drinking water in case your vehicle breaks down in hot weather or you need to refill a radiator
  • Blankets to keep warm during winter breakdowns
  • Jumper cables

3. Know How to Respond to Swaying

Should the trailer begin to sway while you’re driving, pull your foot off the accelerator, but don’t brake. Hold the wheel steady as your vehicle naturally loses speed. If you have manual control for the trailer brakes in the cab, activate it. Otherwise, firmly press the brakes to slowly bring your vehicle and trailer to a stop on the side of the road. Before continuing your trip, correct any load imbalances or cargo movement that caused the swaying.

Towing Your Trailer Safely

Towing Your Trailer Safely

 

Even the most well-balanced trailer with all the safety equipment installed will still need a competent driver behind the wheel. Towing a trailer requires specific skills that you may not regularly practice when you’re not hauling.

1. Stop Slowly

The extra weight of a trailer will increase your vehicle’s stopping distance. You’ll also need more time to accelerate to cruising speeds. To avoid problems on the road, give yourself extra room between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

For every 10 mph of speed, allow one car length between your vehicle and the one ahead. If you’re driving at 40 mph, for instance, travel no closer than four car lengths behind the next vehicle. Feel free to increase this distance in inclement weather, especially in rainy or low-visibility conditions.

When braking, don’t pump the brakes. Press the pedal smoothly and evenly. If you brake too quickly, especially if your vehicle sways, you could jackknife the trailer.

Anytime you park with your trailer, always engage the parking brake to keep your vehicle from rolling away. If you park on an incline, use chocks on the trailer’s wheels to keep them from moving down the slope. After bringing your vehicle to a full stop, place the chocks. Then, shift into neutral and remove your foot from the brake pedal until the trailer settles onto the blocks. Hit the brake again, shift into park and set the parking brake on your vehicle. When leaving, reverse the order of the steps.

2. Check Your Mirrors

The side mirrors on your car are even more important when you’re towing. You’ll need to check these mirrors more often to ensure the trailer remains connected. If you have safety chains, you may want to check periodically that these chains are not dragging on the roadway. The metal chains could cause sparks that may lead to wildfires in exceptionally dry areas.

3. Turn With Care

Turning with a trailer requires extra care. Trailers have tight turning radii, and if you turn your vehicle too sharply, the container will likely run over the curb. This situation could lead to load shifts, wheel damage or tire blowouts. Instead of taking corners as you usually would, adapt your turning to the trailer.

Drive slightly past the place where you would normally turn, and brake sooner. You should take the turn slowly and wide to give the trailer enough room behind your vehicle to follow through the corner. These measures will help greatly when you’re taking tight right turns. Left turns across another lane of traffic should be wide enough to allow you to turn normally but go slowly and carefully through the turn.

4. Downshift on Hills

When you’re driving through hilly areas, remember that the trailer will add extra weight to your vehicle when it’s driving downhill. To avoid a loss of control, downshift to a lower gear and slow your speed. Downshifting lessens the need for frequent braking when driving down an incline.

For uphill driving, you’ll need more torque from the engine. If your engine stutters — a condition called lugging — you need to shift into a lower gear. Take hills slowly — the speed you go over the slope should be the same, as you should go downhill without excessive braking.

Because driving on hills with a trailer increases the strain on the engine, you’ll need to pay careful attention to your dashboard gauges.

5. Watch Your Temperature

Your vehicle’s engine has a higher likelihood of overheating when you’re towing a trailer because it must work harder to haul the load behind it. Pay careful attention to the temperature gauge on your dashboard. If your engine begins to run hotter than average, pull over and allow it to cool.

Check the radiator fluid levels only after the engine cools completely. If you remove the radiator cap while the engine is still hot, you risk severe injury from steam burns from the radiator.

Maintaining Your Trailer

 

maintaining your trailer

Maintaining your trailer is critical for its safe operation. When it comes to keeping up your cargo container, check the owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule. If you frequently use your vehicle for towing, it may also need more regular oil changes, brake services and tire checks.

1. Brakes

Not all trailers have separate brakes, but those that do require an inspection before you set out to ensure the brakes still work well and respond as needed. Before every trip, check your trailer’s brakes. If they do not respond as well, have them serviced before using the container.

2. Tires and Wheels

Check the air pressure in your trailer’s tires every time you use the fifth wheel. Follow the trailer’s recommendations for air pressure. If you leave the tires underinflated, you reduce the load capacity of the container and increase the likelihood of blowouts, sway and engine overheating. Overinflating the tires will not make the trailer safer because too much air in them will negatively affect handling.

When you’re testing tire pressure, also look at the wheels for signs of wear on the wheel structures and loose or missing lug nuts. Fix these problems before you use your trailer.

3. Hitch

The hitch has the most critical job of your container: keeping the vehicle and trailer connected. The most crucial part of knowing how to tow a trailer safely is correctly attaching the hitch to your truck or car. Check the integrity of the hitch and safety chains before you leave. Look at the ability of the coupler to move freely. If it feels sluggish, lubricate it to prevent problems when turning. Also, ensure all nuts and bolts are tight and secure on the hitch.

4. Regular Maintenance

While you need to inspect your trailer before every trip, routine maintenance, especially after an extended storage period, will ensure the trailer itself can safely carry your cargo. For preventative maintenance, emergency repairs or regular service, let our team at Trailer Superstore help.

All Pro Trailer Superstore Offers Maintenance Services to Keep Your Trailer in Working Order

 

all pro trailer superstore maintenance services

Even if you load your trailer perfectly and drive without flaw, you’ll still need to conduct regular maintenance on the rig. Don’t worry if you’ve never changed a tire before or know what types of preventative maintenance services you need. Trust us at All Pro Trailer Superstore to keep your trailer on its maintenance schedule with our preventative services and repairs.

Safe towing starts with a well-kept trailer. We can provide you with both the trailer and the services to maintain it. We’re proud to be your all-in-one towing and trailer provider.