4 KEY STEPS FOR TRAILER TOWING
1. CROSS CHAINS
When hauling any type of trailer, make sure you’re crossing the safety chains underneath the hitch. Hook them up so they form an ‘X’ underneath the hitch. This serves as kind of a net, hopefully catching the hitch should it separate from your vehicle while you’re driving. The goal is, that if an emergency occurs and the trailer detaches, the hitch will land in the chains and you will still have some control over it, rather than landing on the roadway and causing an increased amount of damage.
2. INSPECT, INSPECT, INSPECT!
Inspect your trailer and inspect it again. There’s no going back once an accident happens due to an oversight by you or one of your drivers. No matter how tight you tie down a load, it will loosen up as it vibrates down the road. Stop after your first 10 miles and retighten everything, even if you have to go inside of an enclosed trailer. After that, do an inspection every time you pull over for food, fuel or sleep. Do a walk-around inspection of the hitch, wiring, and tires. You probably don’t need to pull out a tire air pressure gauge at every stop, but look at the tires for wear, use your palm to see if they’ve gotten too hot, and give them a kick to hear if one sounds different than the others; this can be a sign of varied air pressure.
3. KEEP THE BATTERY CHARGED
Many of our trailers use a battery to operate electric brakes. These help with slowing down heavier loads. Whether your trailer uses the battery on your towing vehicle or a separate battery or backup battery stored on the trailer, that depends. Either way, be sure to check the charge on the battery regularly. The last thing you want is for your expected braking power to drop dramatically and unexpectedly, forcing you to take defensive driving measures which might cause damage.
4. PLUG IN TRAILER LIGHTS
After connecting your light system to the trailer, make sure they all work. This is one of the biggest complaints we hear from people coming to us because they’re aggravated other trailer operators don’t take the time to make their trailer lights work properly. You’ll want to check your brake lights, hazard lights left and right turn signals and running lights.
4 MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN TAKING A TRAILER DOWN THE ROAD
Taking your Midsota trailer down the road should be a worry-free experience. While we use the finest processes and materials in making our trailers, day-to-day events and circumstances can lead to an unsafe situation if not monitored. Let's look at 4 mistakes people make when heading down the road with a trailer, whether that's up north with a snowmobile trailer, or across the county with a tilt-bed or dump trailer.
When preparing your load, it’s important to know the gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of your vehicle, along with the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of your trailer (available on our website). Knowing these numbers allows you to properly distribute the load across your trailer, as well as know how your vehicle handles the weight. By watching the heat your engine produces, you’ll know whether you might need to reduce weight on the trailer.
2. AIR PRESSURE
Tire air pressure is incredibly important, both for your vehicle and trailer. You should find the recommended PSI for your vehicle and trailer and ensure the tires match it. Low tire pressure can reduce stability, traction and braking ability. Speaking of brakes...
Many Midsota trailer come with self-adjusting electric brakes, and some have the option for surge hydraulic brakes. This is so you can maintain better control of the load when braking is needed, either downhill or coming to a stop. You should check the vehicle and trailer brakes frequently to prevent accidents.
4. HITCH SIZE
Just because a hitch fits, doesn’t mean it sits. If a trailer calls for a 2” hitch, it needs one. The wrong size hitch can throw a hitch into your plans, and be a real danger on the road if you attempt it! Make sure your hitch fits. There are three main types of hitches: 1-7/8”, 2”, and 2-5/16”.
5 MAINTENANCE TIPS TRAILER MANUFACTURERS WANT YOU TO PRACTICE
We love our trailers. All trailer manufacturers do. And while we know they can last a long time, they still need a little TLC from their new owners. With that in mind, here are 5 trailer maintenance tips we, as trailer manufacturers, want you to practice to keep our babies on the road and performing well.
1. CHECK TIRE INFLATION
Keeping your tires at the proper air pressure is key to the longevity of the tire and the trailer as a whole. The two minutes it takes to check and properly inflate tires could save you a huge headache later. You should not only check your tire pressure, but you should also keep an eye on the tread depth as well as rotate the tires. Trailer manufacturers like us note that since your load will differ every time you use the trailer and will rarely be even, rotating the tires is a good way to ensure they wear more evenly.
2. INSPECT SUSPENSION
You should visually inspect your suspension for signs of irregular wear, tears or heat cracks on the springs. Trailer manufacturers know nothing should be touching the suspension or interfering with its movement.
3. LUBRICATE REGULARLY
Debris clings to grease, making it ineffective. So, you need to regularly push out the old grease by adding new grease. Be sure you are using grease trailer manufacturers would, with the proper performance characteristics, grade, and thickening system. Most of this can be seen on the packaging, but you may need to check the grease manufacturer’s website or call them.
4. INSPECT BRAKES
As trailer manufacturers, we know every tandem axle or triple-axle trailer is required by law to have properly functioning brakes. Typically at Midsota Manufacturing, we use self-adjusting electric brakes, but also install surge hydraulic brakes on some of our trailers. For the sake of your safety, the safety of those around you, and the lifespan of a trailer, we suggest checking your brakes every few months. Set up a schedule, write it on your calendar, whatever you need to do.
5. CHECK LIGHTS/KEEP TRAILER CLEAN
Many of you in northern states know road salt can take its toll on the body of a vehicle or trailer, but as trailer manufacturers, we know for trailers another big issue is corrosion of the electrical system. So it’s important to wash the trailer often, especially in the winter to keep corrosion at bay. Also, inspect the lights, wires and other places where corrosion may begin so it doesn’t spread.