Tips For Checking Your Trailer Wheel Bearings

Posted by Bradley Irwin on December 2, 2016

In the global marketplace for trailers, many people get wrapped up in the dizzying array of sizes, options, amenities and storage space that compete for the consumer’s dollars.

However, owning and operating a trailer is not a simple task, as anyone who has owned one can attest to.

Simply attaching a trailer to a vehicle powerful enough to haul it (and making that vehicle ready to haul it at all) can be an ordeal for those who are not mechanically inclined, while the task of attaching a big rig truck to a tractor trailer is definitely a job for professionals.

Still, many people can and do attach smaller, less world shaking trailers to any number of vehicles.

But trailer maintenance is a thing almost all trailer owners will have to do eventually, not just for the safety of their investment, but for the safety of everybody on the road with their trailer.

Are The Wheel Bearings Firmly In Place?

One particular task all trailer owners should do at some point is to make sure their wheel bearings are in good working order. This is an extremely important task, no question about it.

The wheels of the towing vehicle may seem more important, but when the wheels of a trailer are too damaged run, the trailer becomes a major traffic hazard. Physics can transform your trailer into a potentially deadly liability.

Among other things to check for, to make sure your trailer wheel bearings are okay, is to just periodically check on the wheel bearings of your trailer’s wheels.

To do this simple task, you should jack up your trailer and grab each tire in the 12 and 6 o’clock positions (one hand on the bottom of the tire and one hand on the top of the tire).

There should be no looseness and the wheel should spin freely. If a wheel is loose or it has a hard time spinning (a condition known as slop), you should repack the wheel bearings before something goes wrong on their next trip.

Do The Bearings Have Clean Grease?

Another vital element of trailer wheel bearing maintenance is periodically cleaning the grease from the wheeling bearings.

If you see tiny slivers of metal in the grease that comes out of your wheel bearings, or the grease coming out of the wheel bearing looks like it’s burnt, it is definitely time to take apart the assembly and remove the old grease.

Spindle grease fittings are a great way to do this. Once the grease has been replaced, you should repack the wheel bearings and double check the dust cap that keeps the grease in its place and uncontaminated. Good quality synthetic grease is a good idea for these jobs.

Checking For Wear

Also be sure to check your spindle and bearings for wear when repacking your trailer’s hubs. Damaged rollers can easily become a liability on and off road, though replacing spindles is a much more complicated welding job.

It is also a reasonable idea to check the temperature of your wheel bearings from time to time. If a hubcap is noticeably warm, it may be time to repack the wheel bearings.

Last modified on December 1, 2016

Categories: Bearings

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