Looking to buy a new or used trailer for your off-road vehicle? Its winter in Lake Havasu City, which means it’s time to hit the desert hard with your off road toys and perhaps your trailer from last year just isn’t going to get you through another year. You’re going to want to save some money so let’s put the new trailer on the back burner for another year. If you’re going towards the used trailer then you’ll have to put in some time with research and inspection to make your buy the best deal for you.
What it takes to get the best deal
By not taking some time and making the best, most informed decision you may end up spending as much as a new trailer. A well-researched purchase on a used trailer can get you much less, even half, of the sticker price of a new one. So provided you diligent with the research you can end up with a smoking deal that you are very satisfied with.
You’ll want to start by allocating a budget and a firm top price that you’ll pay. Then make a list of all the qualities you want your used trailer to have. What needs should be met? Do you want electricity? What should the wheel size be?
Here’s a good checklist
Check the title: A trailer’s title must be “clean.” This means there are no liens against it. It also means that the trailer has never been salvaged or damage claims against it. Even if the seller has the papers for it, it may have been stolen. If the seller is hesitant to show you the original title this should be a big red flag.
You can run the VIN of the trailer thru the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). The NMVTIS is a national consumer protection database that provides title information from states across the country. You can access this information online from several sources. You can even check on your phone while you’re out looking at the trailers. Knowledge is power!
“The NMVTIS database gives you the vehicle’s title history, which includes whether the vehicle was ever in the possession of a junk or salvage yard or declared a “total loss” by an insurance company.” Texas DMV
Trailer floor: Your inspection of the vehicle must start from below. Check out the trailer floor for to ensure that it is not rusting and is solid and stable and not rusting. Looking underneath is important because this is where the problems with the chassis can begin. Don’t be afraid to get in the dirt and look things over.
Tires: You don’t want to see any cracks or plugged holes. Nor should there be any bulges in the tire or dry rot.
Bearings: Make sure that the wheel bearings are seated properly and that they are well lubricated.. There should be no up and down or side to side movement with the bearings.
Hitch: The latch on the hitch open and close properly with no missing parts!
Brakes: Are the axles’ brakes working well? Inspect the brake pads, shoes, drums, rotors, and magnets. Do not hesistate to question your seller on any of these items if you see something you don’t like or question.
Suspension: Check the springs and spring hangers for cracks, breaks, and repairs.
Also examine the frames and electricals before you purchase. If you have any questions you can bring your trailer to Britton before you buy and we will help inspect it for you. Call us with any questions at (928) 768-9825
A to-do list for boat trailer maintenance can be quite lengthy. Britton’s has put together a few items to get you started. We want to be sure you are safe in your travels.
Check before you leave
In Lake Havasu gets visitors from all over the country. We get boats towed from California and even Alaska to get on the lake and enjoy our winter sunshine. Whether you are hauling on the highway or taking the scenic route with country roads, your trailer can take a beating. Be sure to always inspect and maintain your boat trailer maintenance before a big road trip. You should even check if you are making a small journey into a secluded area because you don’t want to get stranded out of cell phone range.
Keep Your Tires Inflated
If you ignore your tires, your next adventure could be ruined. As with any vehicle, the correct tire inflation (PSI) is essential. Also, the PSI is usually on the side of the tire. Also, most trailers have a sticker plate that lists the proper size tire that your trailer needs. Both size and PSI are crucial for good tire life.
If a tire’s PSI is too low, you will get an uneven amount of wear on the edges. If it’s over-inflated, the exact opposite will happen. The tire will wear in the center of the tread. To avoid either of these issues follow the manufacturer’s recommended PSI.
More tips for your tires.
In the desert, the sun can be brutal. For this reason, you will want to cover your tires if your trailer will be sitting for long periods of times.
Also, examine the tire stems periodically.
Check for tread depth, always. The trusted method of taking a penny and placing it in the tread is a good determiner. To do this, take a penny and place in the tread. If you can see the head of the figure on the coin, tire tread is worn. Here’s a video to show you what to do.
Inspect your wheel bearings
Another step for proper trailer maintenance is taking a look at the wheel bearings. Wheel bearings should be resealed/repacked once a year. Trailer bearings allow the wheel to spin with minimum friction and a constant supply of grease is necessary. As a result, the bearings will overheat without grease. Additionally, this heat can destroy the bearings and wheels.
Hearing squeaks or grinding noises? These kinds of noises could mean you need to replace your wheel bearings. Check if your wheels are spinning freely, this could also be of concern. If in question see a professional mechanic.
Check the lights
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), boat trailers are required to have stop lights, tail lights, turn signals, and reflectors. Trailers that are 80 inches wide or over 30 feet long need additional lights and reflectors.
When checking your trailer lights, you will want to look out for burnt-out bulbs that need replacement. Also look for damaged wires and make sure that all electrical is appropriately connected.
Britton’s Auto, Truck and RV Center want to make sure you are safe on your journeys. Call us if you need any repairs or yearly maintenance for your boat trailer. In addition, we also work on all kinds of trailers. (928) 505-3535