Whether you own or operate a trailer, it is extremely important to understand the key components that contribute to its safe and reliable operation.
One of the most crucial components that, essentially, plays a significant role in the smooth functioning of your trailer’s wheels is known as Trailer Wheel Bearings. The tires on your trailer are not going to smoothly spin, without properly maintained wheel bearings.
Trailer wheel bearings are especially important for:
- Suspension Systems
Wheel bearings are going to make sure that your trailer's wheels can easily turn with minimal friction during movement. In addition to that, they also support the total weight of your trailer, absorb shocks and enable efficient movement.
To ensure that your trailer continuously operates with optimal performance, it is necessary that you properly maintain and regularly inspect your wheel bearings.
Maintenance On Trailer Wheel Bearings
Appropriate service methods and proper repair procedures are essential for the safe and reliable operation of your Trailer Wheel Bearings.
Wheel bearings should be inspected and serviced, at least, once a year or every 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. Although, if you constantly tow your trailer or operate in harsh conditions, more frequent inspections and maintenance may be necessary.
Grease the wheel bearings on your trailer periodically. There are many factors to consider to determine how often you should be replacing your bearing grease - such as speed, time, heat and missing components. It is important that you apply a suitable, high quality bearing grease to your trailer’s wheel bearings. Lubricating your wheel bearings accurately is going to reduce friction and prevent excessive heat buildup.
Steps to properly grease a trailer wheel bearing:
- Thoroughly clean the wheel bearing
- Place a generous amount of grease in the palm of your hand
- Press the wheel bearing firmly into the grease, while rotating it
- Continue rotating & pushing the wheel bearing into the grease until it emerges from the other side
A wheel bearing seal is critical for the protection of your trailer wheel bearings. The seal is going to protect your bearing from dirt, water and other contaminants. Make sure that the seals are being inspected on a regular basis. That way, if a seal is showing any signs of leakage or damage, you can replace it.
Wheel Play or Wobbling
It is vital that you know exactly how much play is required for your wheel bearings. Your trailer’s wheel bearings should not contain too much or too little play.
Bearings that are too tight are going to generate added friction and heat, due to not being able to freely move, as intended. Bearings that are too loose will end up causing unnecessary movements, resulting in additional heat. Not only that, but the unnecessary back and forth movements of your trailer’s wheels will also cause premature damage to your bearing and axle. With that being said, it is critical that the play and tightness of your wheel bearings are periodically inspected.
Be sure to thoroughly inspect your trailer wheel bearings for any abnormalities that have transpired. If that is the case, your wheel bearings will need to be addressed immediately.
Look for the following signs on your trailer's wheel bearings:
The Importance Of Regular Inspections
There are various reasons why you should have your trailer wheel bearings regularly inspected.
- Safety - Wheel bearings that function properly are going to, ultimately, contribute to the overall safety and reliability of your trailer, ensuring a towing process that is stable, durable and predictable.
- Efficiency - If the wheel bearings on your trailer are well maintained, the friction will be reduced. With less friction, the fuel efficiency is going to improve and the towing experience will be more smooth.
- Cost Effectiveness - Inspecting your trailer’s wheel bearings regularly will enable you to identify any potential damage or issues early. You will have a better chance of preventing your trailer from breaking down, while also preventing a costly repair from turning up.
- Peace of Mind - Knowing that the wheel bearings on your trailer are successfully operating and in good condition will give you peace of mind, especially during the towing process.
What Causes Trailer Wheel Bearing Failure?
A failing trailer wheel bearing can, essentially, transpire in various ways. It is essential that you know the signs of wheel bearing failure, so that you can address it promptly, in order to prevent additional damage or possible accidents.
Common indicators of failing trailer wheel bearings:
- Unusual or Excessive Noise - One of the primary signs of wheel bearing failure is unusual and excessive noise. Be sure to pay attention to any grinding, growling or humming noises that come from the wheels on your trailer, while in motion.
- Extreme Heat Buildup - A wheel bearing that is overheating can, eventually, lead to your trailer wheel bearings failing. Touch the wheel assembly of the affected wheel, after using your trailer. If it happens to be extremely hot to the touch, then it could potentially be a lack of lubrication or friction.
- Uneven Tire Wear - Failing wheel bearings can, eventually, lead to irregular tire wear. Make sure that your trailer’s tires are inspected regularly. Look for any signs of wear that is transpiring on one side of the tire. This would indicate that there is an alignment issue, which is caused by wheel bearing failure.
- Vibration - A trailer wheel bearing that is failing is going to cause vibrations, specifically when the trailer is in use. These vibrations can be felt through the steering wheel or through the body of the trailer. The vibration may possibly become more noticeable and pronounced, as the trailer wheel bearing is deteriorating further.
- Wheel Play or Wobbling - Jack up your trailer, so that you can closely inspect the wheel play properly. Grab the tire on the top and bottom and attempt to wiggle the wheel back and forth. If there is any excessive play, looseness or wobbling in the wheel, your trailer wheel bearing could be worn or damaged.
Maintaining Your Trailer Wheel Bearings
There are a variety of ways to extend the lifespan of your trailer wheel bearings.
- Perform regular inspections and maintenance
- Keep wheel bearings clean and free of contaminants
- Avoid overloading the application beyond its capacity
- Use the appropriate lubricant
- Follow proper lubrication procedures
- Monitor operating conditions
- Address any issues promptly
Here at ReliaBull, we manufacture highly durable trailer wheel bearings that are designed to effectively withstand the unique demands of towing. Our wheel bearings, specifically, have the ability to frequently carry heavy loads with prolonged use.
Contact us today to improve your trailer's performance with high quality Trailer Wheel Bearings.