Many people think that trailer tyres seem to have an easy life as compared to their regular vehicle tyres, and therefore that do not give them the attention they deserve. These people often forget that trailer tyres endure all manner of harsh driving conditions every time the tow vehicle is turned, swerved or stopped abruptly. If you own a trailer and you want to get the most service out of its tyres, it is important that you be aware of some of the most useful tips you can follow to keep the tyres in good shape for longer.
Under-inflation or over-inflation of your tyres is a bad thing. Under-inflation leads to tread separation and uneven tread wear, thus increasing the risk of a road hazard occurring. You should also be careful not to exceed the maximum tyre inflation limits, as this will also result in uneven tread wear. In order to ensure that your tyres are properly inflated, follow the trailer tyre manufacturer’s recommendations on inflation pressure, which is usually available on the sidewall of each tyre. Also, use a tyre pressure gauge to ensure there is equal inflation pressures on all tyres before making any trip.
The tyres are the main contact point between your trailer and the ground on which it is parked. Leaving your trailer outdoors most of the time where it is exposed to harsh weather elements like direct sunlight and heavy downpours is bound to have a deleterious impact on its tyres. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is notorious for causing damage to the exterior parts of the tyres’ sidewalls. Make sure that your trailer is housed in a cool, dry environment when you are not using it to minimise weather-induced damage.
The axles on your trailer are designed to handle a particular amount of weight. Whenever you carry too much weight on your trailer, the axles are subjected to excessive loading, and they transfer the full weight of the load to the tyres. Overloading a trailer should be avoided as it shortens the lifespan of the tyres.
You should carry a spare at all times and make sure that it has the same amount of inflation pressure as the other tyres. This is because you might be forced to pull the trailer with a flat tyre just so that you can get to the nearest auto service point to get it repaired. By doing so, you will not only cause further damage to the bad tyre but the other remaining tyre as well because of excessive loading.
Australia is a huge country with thousands of opportunities to flex the muscles of your four wheel drive vehicle and take it on a memorable off-road adventure. Having a sturdy and reliable 4×4 is the first key step. But you need to prepare further by learning about some components that can make a big difference to your off-road experiences. Whether you have planned a grand adventure in an area such as The Simpson Desert, The Kimberley Region, or Uluru, or you are going on a weekend off-road journey, buying these three essential pieces of kit for your vehicle before leaving is guaranteed to make it a more comfortable and safe experience:
- Lift Kit. A lift kit is a modification added to either the suspension or body of your vehicle to help lift it higher off the ground. This increases the clearance of your vehicle, meaning it will be easier for you to navigate through tough off-road terrain. They are one of the best modifications you can make to improve your off-road driving experience.
- Bull bar. A bull bar is a strong metal structure that protects your vehicle in the event it collides with wildlife or livestock. Bull bars are often discouraged in an urban setting, but if you live in a rural area and like to go off-road a lot, or plan on doing so, buying one for your 4×4 makes for a stellar addition to protect your vehicle. It can also protect you from serious injury when driving off-road. Crashing into a large animal when driving through challenging off-road terrain could spell disaster because your control is compromised off-road compared to driving on-road. Adding a bull bar to your 4WD is essential for maximum safety because it reduces the severity of any impact with large objects.
- Winch. A winch is a device composed of a strong cable that connects your car with a sturdy stationary object and can help with recovering it from a difficult situation. These can be lifesavers if you get into trouble when driving off the beaten track, for example, if your 4×4 is stuck in muddy terrain and doesn’t have enough traction get out. Most winches work by using a hand crank that allows you to increase the tension in the cable with enough force that your car can be towed to safety. Buying a winch pays for itself any time you end up using it.
The brakes of your car are nothing to ignore even if you think the problems they’re having are relatively minor. Small problems with brakes can often lead to something more serious so that you cannot stop your car completely, or the brakes may just suddenly seize up. In some cases you may need to buy some new brake parts and have them installed but in other cases, a fluid leak might be involved. Note a few tips for troubleshooting some common brake problems with your car and then discuss these with a mechanic if they’re outside your area of car maintenance expertise.
1. Soft brake pedal
A soft pedal means that you need to put too much pressure on it before the car stops, perhaps even virtually standing on the pedal. The first thing to check is the level of brake fluid; not enough fluid means that the parts involved in braking do not have the right pressure to stop the car. If the brake fluid level is fine, take some out with the dipstick on the brake fluid reservoir and note if you see flakes, chips, or any type of contaminant clinging to the fluid. If so, the fluid needs to be bled and replaced. Rust and other bits of contaminant can make its way into the lines and damage the fluid so that the brakes don’t work as they should.
If the fluid is fine, you probably have worn brake pads that aren’t gripping the rotors as they should, or a worn caliper. This is the little clip that squeezes the pads into place. These usually need to be replaced once the brakes get soft.
2. Brake pedal too firm
A brake pedal is too firm when it resists your pressure so much that you can actually feel it, like you’re working out at the gym. This can be the result of an obstruction in the brake line; if a chunk of rust has gotten into the line, the brake pedal fluid won’t flow very easily and the pedal will push back against you.
A vacuum problem can also be the culprit; brakes work with a vacuum system that boosts the power you put against the pedal so that you don’t need to apply so much force to get the brakes to engage. If there is a leak in the vacuum system, it may actually be working as a booster for the vacuum and in turn, you feel too much resistance pushing back against the brake pedal. In this case, the brake booster usually needs replacing.
For more information, talk to a professional like Stopmaster Brake Service Pty Ltd.