CRUCIAL INSPECTION POINTERS WHEN BUYING A USED TRAILER
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.