4 Tips For Preparing Your Semi-Trailer For Winter Storage

Posted on: 17 March 2015

If you own and drive a semi-truck, you may decide to take the winter off to avoid a season of inclement weather. Before you store your semi-trailer, use the following four tips to ensure it is ready for use when it's time to hit the road in the spring.

Empty Air Lines And Air Reservoir Tanks

Before you store your trailer, you need to make sure your air lines and air reservoir tanks are empty. If any air is left in the lines or tank, moisture builds up within them because condensation occurs during rapid temperature changes. When the weather outside drops below freezing, the lines could freeze and bust.

To remove air from the lines, unscrew the bleeder pressure valve to allow it to escape. You should hear a high-pitch whistling while this is happening. This could take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes to empty both the reservoir and lines. Once you no longer hear the sound or feel air coming from the valve, tighten the screw. Repeat for each air line and tank setup.

Inflate The Tires To Maximum Capacity

While you are using the trailer, inflating the tires to maximum capacity can shorten their life because the rubber is stretched too much and the weight of your loads weaken it. However, when you are storing the trailer for the winter, maximum inflation is needed to keep them from being damaged.

When the trailer's tires are sitting for a couple of months, they eventually lose air from non-use and pressure changes in the atmosphere. If they become too low, a portion becomes flattened against the ground. This could lead to belt breaking or the rubber rotting. Over inflating the tires helps prevent this.

Locate the numbers on the outer part of your tires to find the recommended minimum and maximum psi. For example, you may see 80 and 130 psi. The second number is the amount of pressure you need to put in your tires before storing your trailer.

Cap Off The Trailer Connections

The trailer connections contain both mechanical and electrical components that need to be protected from dust or moisture. If they are left exposed during storage, the mechanical cables and bolts could rust and the electrical wiring could break, causing a short. To prevent either of these things from occurring, the connections should be capped.

You can either buy caps that are specifically designed for your trailer's connections, or you can create your own. Although the first option is best because they give a better seal, using even a plastic bag secured with duct tape is better than leaving the connections open.

Grease The Wheel Fittings And Tandems

Another important step in preparing your trailer for winter storage is to grease all of the wheel fittings and tandems. This helps protect the metal from rust and lubricates the movable parts so they will work properly when you take it out of storage.

First, grease the bolts and bearings around each wheel. Then, rub a thick layer of grease around the axles and their joints.

You will also need to grease each port on the tandems after sliding them all the way back to their furthest rear setting. The grease prevents the ports from freezing up and busting, as well as makes adjustments go more smoothly.

Following the above tips will help make sure your trailer will be usable the next time you need it, without you having to do a lot of maintenance or repairs. If you are still unsure of how to handle parts of it, you may want to ask a representative at the semi-trailer storage business you plan to utilize.

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