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Getting Down & Dirty: A Guide To Greasing Your Trailer

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When dirt, dust or salt water get into the moving parts on your trailer, it’s likely to cause friction and wear. Grease not only keeps everything lubricated and moving smoothly, but also acts as a coolant against heat caused by friction.

Let’s take a look at when and how to grease trailer bearings, wheels, axles and all the parts that keep your trailer on the road.

Where should you apply grease?

Trailer bearings – the cylindrical rings inside the wheel hub that connect the wheel to the axle and allow it to rotate freely – play an important role in the smooth running of the wheels, so it’s important to always keep them greased well.

Grease also helps avoid rust, so apply it regularly to the coupling, winch and axle springs – in fact, anything that moves or could be exposed to wear or corrosion over time.

Get down and dirty

Applying grease on your trailer means you’re going to get messy. By all means, squirt it on with a grease gun, but to really make sure the surfaces are covered, nothing works as well as your hands.

When it comes time to change the grease on your trailer bearings, it’s important to clean them well with a solvent before applying the new grease. This will ensure any dirt, wear or old grease is completely removed.

The best way to pack the bearings is by squirting a wad of grease into the palm of one hand and pushing them down into it with your other hand, using a rolling motion to squeeze the grease all the way through. Do this with both the inner and outer bearings.

When is the best time to check and add grease?

  • Generally, the smaller the tyre, the faster the wheels spin putting stress on the bearings, so frequency can be determined by how the trailer is used and where it has travelled.
  • For a trailer that isn’t used often, bearings should be lubricated every 12 months.
  • Check grease before starting out on a long journey.
  • After hauling a boat traileron a longer journey, it’s a good idea to grease the bearings after launching the boat to displace any water that infiltrated when the hot wheel hubs met the cooler water. It’s not so necessary at the end of the day when you submerge the trailer again to get the boat out, as the hubs will be cool. It’s also not necessary if you’re using bearing protectors.

Most marine, hardware, automotive dealers and service stations will sell the grease you need for the job. It’s advised that you choose your product from recognised, reputable brands – this is one aspect of your trailer’s maintenance that should never be compromised.

How can you tell when your trailer is in need of some serious maintenance? Here are some clues.

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