Tire maintenance is often underestimated, and catastrophe can strike when one least expects it.
Mirage is committed to providing quality enclosed and utility trailers that meet, or exceed, safety standards. We want all trailer owners to be safe and secure in their experiences on the road. Routine trailer maintenance is paramount in ensuring that your trailer remains in safe working order.
Among the routine checks all trailer owners should perform on their equipment before, during and after use, is tire status. As with other maintenance, keeping sound tires under your trailer can mean the difference between worry free usage and costly damage to life and property.
Check for Punctures or Cracks
Ensure your tires are free from nails, screws and broken glass. Rotate your tires to ensure tire wear is even, and keep your tires properly inflated. Keep loads under the trailer’s payload limit. Dry, hot weather can also cause cracking. Make sure and check your trailer tires before you set out, and when you refuel or rest to avoid blowouts.
Under-inflation can add stress to your tire sidewalls. When coupled with excessive heat build up from travel and weather, the risk of a hazardous blowout increases dramatically. The proper PSI for your trailer tires is printed right on the side of the tire itself. You can get pressure gauges from myriad retail outlets and convenience stores. Once your tires begin to wear unevenly (due to under or over inflation) this wear pattern will continue regardless if the tires are rotated after the pattern is noticed. It truly pays to keep the tire pressure at the proper level.
Fluctuation in outdoor temperatures causes shrinking and swelling, leading to cracks in tire walls and tread surfaces. Temperature changes can also deflate your tires. Make sure to closely monitor your tires when subjecting your trailer to extreme weather changes. Closely monitor your tires when your trailer remains inactive for extended time periods/ seasons.
Trailer tires usually have the same weight limitations, or slightly higher, than the trailer’s GVWR. That said, overloading your trailer can lead to blowouts, causing damage to trailer, tow vehicle, cargo, and potentially yourself and others. Moreover, overloading causes serious pressure build up in tires, another contributor to blowouts; as well as, exacerbating many other risks.
Do not fall into the common misconception that because an old tire has “a lot of tread remaining” it is as good as new. As the tire ages, the rubber compounds break down which can result in tire failure. Many manufacturers will not issue a warranty adjustment on a tire older than three years for this very reason. Just a “heads up”.
Another common misconception is that wheel lugs nuts will retain their proper torque, when in fact this is not the case at all. Wheel nuts can loosen from a variety of situations. It is prudent to check them with a torque wrench at least once a month if the trailer is used daily; and at least once every three months if used occasionally. If not maintained, the wheel could come loose and quickly become a deadly situation. An additional cause of wheel and tire separation is not properly greasing the bearings at regular intervals; a dry bearing can fail causing the complete hub/drum, tire and wheel assembly to come loose.
Please keep these simple maintenance rules in mind when preparing to use your trailer.
For more information regarding tire safety, refer to the Everything Rides on It brochure provided by NHTSA. If you have any questions regarding this or other maintenance issues, be sure and check www.miragetrailers.com or give Mirage Enterprises, Inc. a call at 208-461-7776. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. Safe trailering to all!