Is Your Trailer Winter Ready?
Winter is almost here and is your trailer ready? We have talked to our service technicians on how to properly maintain your trailer for the upcoming elements. In general you should be on the lookout for five major elements that can damage your trailer. Let’s take a look at each one and see how it can damage your trailer and what you can do to prevent unnecessary wear and tear.
Winter snow is beautiful. It shines and makes everything look white and clean and is great if you love to ski, snowboard, tube or in general enjoy winter sports. But snow and rain can damage your trailer. Water and moisture is a trailers number one worst enemy. Moisture on a trailer can cause damage to multiple parts. On wood decked trailers always make sure that you have pressure treated lumber. Keep the lumber covered with a tarp or store your trailers indoors. If you use a tarp or a fitted trailer cover, make sure that you are not trapping the moisture in, which you are trying to prevent, under the tarp. This will prevent the trailer’s wood from breaking down over time and rotting. Your trailer should have a pressure treated wood deck. While the wood is in good shape you can seal the wood with a wood sealant. Take note of the type of sealant used and make sure that you retreat the wood as needed. Never seal a wood deck that already has rot or damage. Replace any wood boards that show damage before staining or sealing the wood. An epoxy floor just like those in your garage can also be placed on a wood deck. This can extend the life of the wood deck. Keep in mind that if you chose to place an epoxy on your deck, over time it will crack. Wood decks are meant to flex and that flexing can crack the epoxy. If you have a steel trailer for utility purposes or a horse trailer, make sure that you keep your trailer covered as well. Water from snow can seep into areas where your paint has chipped causing rust and corrosion. Check your trailer’s paint and look for any chipped or missing paint and apply a quick touch up. Look for rust and corrosion on any areas that have hinges, or exposed steel. Make sure to use WD-40 or another penetrating lubricant on all hinges. Don’t be afraid to over apply. The oil will keep your doors from grating and rusting.
Did you know that the winter sun while not as strong as summer sun can still be damaging to your trailer? Direct sun is the second biggest contributor to nature’s damage to your trailer. Sunlight in the winter with extreme up and down temperatures can cause tire damage. The rubber composition wears down as the temperatures flex up and down with the bitter cold and warmer winter days. Compromised tires will leak air and when exposed to direct sun and longer periods of time when not in use. Sunlight can also be damaging to the seals on windows as well as awnings and vinyl. Watch for fading and sealant corrosion on your trailer. Replace window seals, graphics, tires, and awnings as needed to keep your trailer in top condition.
Ok so it snowed. It was beautiful and now it’s not. The roads are clearing up and you need to take your trailer out again. The roads are wet, dirty, and full of chemicals from the salts used to melt the snow. These chemicals and salts are our third hazard we are focusing to watch on your trailers. We can’t emphasize it enough to wash your trailer. Don’t let those chemicals sit on the trailer longer than necessary because they are extremely corrosive. Make sure when cleaning your trailer you don’t forget about the underside. When you run your truck or car through a car wash, many places offer an under spray to remove the damaging chemicals on the bottom of your vehicle. That helps clean the sub-frame of your car. Make sure you are cleaning the sub-frame of your trailer as well and look at the axels, and undercarriage to keep that damage from the chemicals happening to you.
Do you own a trailer that carries animals? Coming in at number four is animal damage. Urine and manure is heavily damaging to flooring. Remove your floor mats, straw and any other wet materials that are in the trailer and give them a good cleaning. Make sure to mop or spray out the trailer itself as well. Urine will cause pitting and white rust on aluminum. We see trailers regularly that are horse or stock trailers with flooring damage that can be preventable. Make sure that after you clean your trailer out you let the mats and any other items going back into the trailer completely dry so you don’t trap in moisture. Your trailer will thank you and so will your livestock.
Last but not least think about where you store your trailer. Are you placing your trailer in on pavement or grass/dirt? If you have your trailer in a field are animals going to be able to lean, bump or chew on it? Animals can do weird things to trailers! Will the area that the tires are on drain properly? Will the tires be sitting in soggy grass, snow, puddles, or mud for extended periods of time? Will there be trees with branches or leaves that can fall onto the top or into the trailer? Leaves and other debris can stain paint if left for extended periods of time on paint. Try to store your trailer indoors if possible. If you can’t store your trailer indoors, use proper covering to keep the elements from damaging the trailer. Place the trailer on a flat dry surface so that the tires and undercarriage are kept clean.
We hope that this helps you get a better understanding of how to best winterize your trailer. If you need help with making sure your trailer is receiving the care it needs we are glad to help. Give us a call at Parker Trailers 303-841-4910. Tell us you read our article and need to get your trailer winter ready. If your trailer has already suffered damage due to one of the actions above, we can help. We service all types of trailers from Horse, flatbed, utility, dump, car haulers, enclosed, and more. We look forward to meeting you.