Home' Caravanning Australia : Summer 2010-2011 Contents Towing
Caravanning Australia • Summer 2010-2011 • 55
Rollers and slides must be adjusted properly and be in good
condition if damage to the boat is to be avoided. Winch cables
are potentially dangerous to the operator if they break so they
should be regularly checked for damage, wear and corrosion
and replaced if necessary. Winches should be maintained in
accordance with their manufacturer’s recommendations.
Salt water also affects electrical equipment and connections so
it’s important to check that all lights operate properly each time
the trailer is used.
Trailer couplings and safety chains must always be in good
Horse floats and their passengers are heavy so it’s important
to have good suspension, brakes and tyres. Trailer couplings,
tow bars and safety chains must also be in first class order to
avoid problems. An unsettled horse can easily damage a float
and in the process injure itself so it’s important to keep interior
barriers in place and in good condition. Horse floats should be
kept clean inside, and as far as possible dry, to avoid rust
problems. Floats also generally have rubber mats to prevent the
horse from slipping so it’s important to keep them secure and in
Caravans and campers
Maintenance of caravans and campers is much the same as
for the other types of trailers already mentioned. However the
operation of the braking system, tyre condition and suspension
maintenance is even more critical with a heavy caravan. If you
have an off road camper or caravan and you use it on the beach,
attention to potential rust problems is also vital.
Vehicle maintenance and repairs
Heavy towing is hard on a vehicle so expect to spend more
on servicing and maintenance if you tow regularly. Most vehicle
manufacturers regard towing as severe use and vehicle
maintenance schedules usually outline what additional servicing
is required. However don’t overlook the fact that things like tyres
and brakes will also wear out faster when towing.
The information provided in this fact sheet is intended as
a general guide only. You should carry out further research
and investigations into the topics outlined above prior to
implementing any actions or recommendations.
Probably the biggest killer of box trailers is rust. It’s best to
keep your trailer under cover, but if this isn’t possible it’s
important to store it so that water can’t pool. If your trailer has
drain holes make sure they are kept clear. Avoid leaving grass
clippings and other vegetation in it for extended periods, as this
is a certain way to cause rust. Regularly inspect for rust and if
necessary treat affected areas with a good quality rust converter
and then repaint.
Springs, shackles, and u bolts should be regularly checked
for damage and security. Tyres deteriorate from standing so they
should be inspected every time the trailer is used.
Wheel bearings should ideally be serviced annually as they
can deteriorate from standing for long periods. Most small trailers
will not have brakes, however where fitted, their operation should
be checked every time the trailer is used.
Trailer couplings, safety chains and lights must be maintained
in good working condition.
While boat trailers are generally of fairly simple construction,
the environment in which they operate is particularly harsh, and
therefore special attention to their maintenance is required. Salt
water in particular is very damaging to virtually every part of a
boat trailer so it’s important to wash the trailer with fresh water
to remove as much salt as possible before it is stored. Non-
galvanised components should be kept painted to protect
against rust and the whole trailer should be inspected regularly
to identify rust areas so they can be treated before it becomes a
Springs, shackles, and u bolts should be checked
occasionally for damage and security while tyres should be
inspected for damage and deterioration every time the trailer
Wheel bearings need frequent attention, as even a small
amount of water will cause a very rapid failure. Additionally, wheel
bearings can become pitted from standing for long periods and
can fail quickly when put back into service. Brake systems are
also very prone to water damage so it’s best to avoid immersing
the brake assemblies if at all possible. If immersed, they will
generally require dismantling and cleaning if they are to work
when required. Trailer brake operation should be checked every
time the trailer is used and their adjustments should be checked
at least annually.
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