Over endless highway miles, through every kind of weather, your flatbed trailer must be in top shape to stand up to daily wear and tear. You depend on your equipment to keep your drivers safe and ensure shipments reach their destination on time.
A flatbed trailer sidelined due to emergency maintenance or a roadside event can put your drivers at risk, create logistical headaches, and delay customer expectations. Regular preventative maintenance is a simple answer to these challenges. Ensure your equipment is up to the task before minor issues become costly and potentially dangerous problems with these flatbed maintenance tips.
Prevent flatbed equipment issues before they happen
Issues can arise in every component of your trailer, but you should pay special attention to these points that are especially vulnerable to wear due to rust, contact with the ground, and frequent and prolonged stress:
– Tire inflation – Maintaining proper air pressure is essential to extending the life of your trailer tires. Regularly check all tires with a properly calibrated air pressure gauge and inspect for punctures, cuts, or damaged valve core stems. Take extra care to maintain the inside dual tires, as wear on these tires can go unnoticed.
– Wheel ends – Check all hubcaps regularly for leaks to prevent water seepage, and inspect wheel ends for proper lubrication and water contamination. Water intrusion can lead to bearing and seal failure, which can lead to axle damage. It’s important to resolve seepage issues and maintain adequate lubrication levels.
– Landing gear – Pressure-wash the landing gear and chassis to remove any dirt or grit that has collected during use. Lubricate the grease fittings. Check attachment points for proper torque levels on the landing gear and bracing. You depend on your landing gear to stabilize your flatbed while it’s detached from the truck, so keeping it maintained helps to ensure your equipment remains level.
Establish a maintenance schedule
Long routes through rain, snow, and sun will naturally degrade your equipment, but the more vulnerable parts of your flatbed trailer will require more frequent preventative maintenance. It’s important to follow regular one- and six-month maintenance schedules so early signs of wear and damage to your high-risk components don’t go unchecked.
Once a month:
– Check tires for wear and proper air pressure.
– Check lights and reflectors, inspect wiring.
– Inspect body for physical damage – paint, license plate, and mud flaps.
– Check landing gear legs and kingpin.
– Check cargo securement: check winches for smooth operation and winch straps for deterioration or tears.
Every six months:
– Check brake lining, inspect and record lining wear.
– Inspect wheel bearings, check for oil leaks.
– Check axle alignment, record the condition.
– Inspect for leaks and chafing, check seals and couplers, repaint wheels if showing wear, and check torque arms, springs, and U-bolts.
– Check all suspension components.
– Check tires, wheels, and lighting.
– Check landing gear legs and kingpin.
Make the most of scheduled flatbed maintenance
Preventative trailer maintenance enables you to get in front of problems before they become costly and pose a risk to your drivers and other motorists. It’s important to ensure your technicians’ safety during all repairs and to learn everything you can from tune-ups so you can continuously improve your preventative maintenance schedule.
Emergency repairs on the side of the road can be exceedingly dangerous. Speeding traffic can be a risk for drivers and technicians, especially if the damaged flatbed is obstructing or crowding the motorway, and other drivers can potentially strike the sidelined trailer.
Conducting preventative maintenance in a controlled environment is the best way to ensure the safety and timely success of your technicians. Keeping records of what led to unscheduled maintenance when it does occur can help you understand the unique factors affecting your fleet.
By logging wear and tear and axle alignment, you can leverage those findings to create a more efficient and timely maintenance schedule. Different routes and seasons pose their own challenges, so keeping your preventative maintenance on schedule according to your vehicle’s needs will save you time and money.
Keep a close eye on flatbed maintenance
A commitment to preventative maintenance for your flatbed trailer solution is the best way to keep your equipment on the road, protect your drivers, and maintain your hard-won reputation among your customers. Simply reacting to problems as they happen will put all of these at risk and needlessly set you up for headaches that can be avoided.
Follow the best practices above to get the most out of your Great Dane Freedom SE, LT, or XP trailer. The trailer’s versatile design is built to excel in any application, and a dedication to quality maintenance means you’ll keep the trailer on the road for years to come.
To learn more about Great Dane’s Freedom lineup, click here.