Automotive Blogs for Australian Drivers

Quick Troubleshooting Tips for Your Trailer

Having a trailer in good working order is important for anyone who hauls a boat, ATV, motorcycle or anything else behind their vehicle. If that trailer fails to stop properly, the boat could actually wind up smashing into your car when you hit your brakes, or another driver could hit the trailer if faulty brake lights failed to warn them of a stop. Excessive bouncing when on the road can also mean damage to the boat or other item you're towing. To ensure your trailer is always in good repair, note a few troubleshooting tips and suggestions for when it's acting up, and take it in for trailer repairs if you can't fix the problem.

Surging or "clunking" when you stop and start

The braking system of your trailer is not technically connected to the brake pedal of your vehicle, but instead, it works with hydraulics, and these hydraulic parts react to whether or not the vehicle is moving and pulling the trailer. These parts are connected to your vehicle with a cable; the longer this cable, the more time it takes for the hydraulic parts to react to the vehicle's motion. A cable that is too long can cause the trailer to keep surging forward even after braking, or to "clunk" forward when you release the brakes and begin moving forward. To address this problem, install a shorter brake cable from the tow vehicle to the trailer itself, for a smoother operation and movement.   Brakes don't seem to work

Low brake fluid is a common problem with trailers, and you can usually find the master cylinder in the brakes and easily add fluid yourself. Also, check this cylinder often, as low brake fluid puts added wear and tear on the trailer's braking system and can potentially cause an accident with the trailer. If the brakes seem to work on some of the trailer's tyres, but not all, check the brake lines for kinks; some tyres may simply not be getting sufficient brake fluid in order for them to operate properly.

Pulling to one side or the other

If your trailer is pulling, the first thing to do is ensure it's weighted evenly on both sides; even storing canisters of gas or several skis on one side of a boat you're hauling can put the trailer off-balance and cause it to pull. The next option is to check the tyres for uneven wear or worn-down tread and have these replaced as needed, as balding tyres can cause a trailer to pull or skid, especially when braking or accelerating.