If you have never had an ATV trailer before, you’re in for a great time! Trailers are the perfect way to transport your new all terrain vehicle back and forth to your favorite driving location. But trailers require some preparation and maintenance to be safe and to work efficiently, so keep these tips in mind when you’re getting your new trailer ready.
Your tires are essential to keep in good repair. Follow the manufacturer’s specifications for tire pressure levels, and check the pressure regularly and always check them before a trip. Tire that are not inflated enough can shred, and tires that have too much air will wear out faster. Touch the tires when you stop for gas- if they’re hot instead of warm, there’s usually a problem. Have a space tire on hand; you may need to buy one since many new trailers don’t come with one. Check the spare monthly for air pressure, and make sure you have a changing kit that is designed to work with your trailer and tires.
Secure the ATV properly to the trailer. It’s not enough to put it in park and tie a rope through the front grill- the ATV needs to become a solid part of the trailer platform. Engage the brake, put it in park, and strap it down securely at four points so the suspension is stiff, with no sway. You need adjustable rachet straps with a 2,000 pound minimum; use these to connect to your bike’s frame, tightening them to load the suspension. Try shaking the bike after it’s been secured- if it feels like the bike and trailer are one item instead of two, you’ve done it right.
Check your bearing buddies. If you don’t have any, they’re worth the few dollars they’ll cost you to buy them. They help keep your hubs well-greased and your trailer smoothly rolling. Bear in mind that new trailers don’t necessarily have fully greased bearings- check before you get on the road. Use a levered grease gun to fill the cavities until the small nipple plate moves to the outside of the case. Don’t pump too much or you’ll cause damage and a huge mess. Check bearings and fill them if necessary before each major trip, or once every 30 days. When you stop for gas, check the bearings for overheating and add grease if it feels hot instead of warm.
Be careful while you’re driving- you’re towing a trailer behind you and that requires extra attention and care. Slow down, don’t be in a rush, and think through your driving decisions.