Poor Trailer Maintenance - What to Do?
Poor Trailer Maintenance - What to Do?

With the recent accident on the N12 still fresh in our minds, the following is an article which relates to poor trailer maintenance and what you can do to rectify it.

It is a well-known fact that the average age of a trailer in this country is anything between 12 and 15 years. Anybody who has been to a transport workshop on a Saturday will always see a lot of activity servicing the prime mover – the truck. But where are the trailers? There is hardly ever any space for them in the workshop, because most of the time they get loaded for the next trip.

There is no doubt in my mind that it is an accepted part of the transport culture that proper trailer maintenance is of no importance, which is quite ironic as it carries the core of your business - your stock.

Rusty and dented drop side doors, missing mud flaps, scratched and dented chevron boards, and damaged reflectors are all signs that the trailer gets the raw end of the deal.

Imagine this: A new powerful 400-horsepower truck from Europe – fitted with the latest disc brake design – standing in the yard, coupled to a trailer with standard 16 ½ x 7 drum brakes. The trailer might have loose mounting brackets for the brake valves and for the spring brakes (boosters), the load sensing valve has lost the linkage arm, permanently running fully open or at half pressure. The slack-adjusters settings are most probably wrong and a garden hose is used in the place of high pressure piping. One axle has automatic slack adjusters fitted, while the other axle runs with manual slack-adjusters. This is a common sight.

Let’s face it, a trailer is not forever, but by following a few simple trailer maintenance rules will pay off at the end:

  • Do not compromise on safety critical items like your brake drums, shoes and linings;
  • Do not mix brake linings on the same axle;
  • Remove worn out brake linings and get them relined;
  • Replace worn cam shafts bushes, damaged rollers and return springs;
  • When replacing the bearings, replace the cup and cone together;
  • Don’t use pirate, reconditioned or below standard trailer valves;
  • Use automatic slack-adjusters;
  • Convert the old braking system to EPS and ABS;
  • Make sure your load sensing valve is working;
  • Do use the same type of brake boosters with the same lever length.

JMR operates certified trailer workshops in Alrode, Vryheid and Empangeni. Click here for a complete list of our services.