Successful Farming - - MACHINERY INSIDERª -

The fact that trail­ers are em­ployed by a wide va­ri­ety of in­dus­tries makes it cru­cial you take ex­tra time to in­ves­ti­gate a used trailer’s his­tory and con­di­tion. In that re­gard, ver­ify the VIN, dis­cover if the trailer has been as­signed a sal­vage or a re­built ti­tle, ask the seller why the trailer is for sale, ob­tain past main­te­nance and re­pair records, and in­spect the trailer. Here are the ar­eas you’ll want to check.

• Tires. Ex­am­ine ev­ery tire for wear and dam­age (a set of new rub­ber can set you back $3,500). Mea­sure tread depth, be­cause tires show­ing less than ¹∕16 inch of tread are pro­hib­ited on trail­ers in many states. Look for tread sep­a­ra­tion (on re­capped tires) and side­wall split­ting or crack­ing.

• Hop­pers. Look for ma­jor dents or dam­age. In­spect for cracks on hop­per sides and frames. Check the slopes to see if they are dented from be­ing pounded on. Open and close doors for smooth op­er­a­tion.

• Struc­ture. Ex­am­ine the trailer’s struc­ture, pay­ing at­ten­tion to side rails and cross mem­bers for ex­ces­sive rust, dents, crack­ing (es­pe­cially on welds) and twist­ing. Also, in­spect the axle sub­frame for rust and dam­age. • Roll tarp. Op­er­ate the roll tarp man­u­ally (if the trailer has one) to de­ter­mine if it op­er­ates smoothly or has dam­aged or miss­ing parts.

• Lights and brakes. If it is pos­si­ble, hook the trailer to a truck to op­er­ate both items. Make sure the an­tilock brak­ing sys­tem is work­ing, as well, and ex­am­ine the con­di­tion of brake drums and lin­ings.

Make it a point to look at side rails and cross mem­bers (top), the hop­per (right), and tires (above) for dam­age and ex­ces­sive wear.

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