If you regularly tow a heavy load, such as a car or boat, spare a thought for the trailer and how it has to put up with that significant weight. To do this, the trailer relies on a set of leaf springs that are designed to handle these heavy loads day in and day out. However, these springs require some attention as time goes by, so what should you be looking out for, and what could happen if they were to fail?
Leaf Spring Performance
The springs are made up of individual blades that are bolted together in one set. They are then attached to the frame of the trailer and carry the axle using a series of hangers, bolts and other components.
How Leaf Springs Work
As the trailer moves along an undulating surface, these metal leaves will compress and expand as a set, helping to deal with any bumps and potholes. While they are treated to put up with the harsh conditions in this area, they are nevertheless susceptible to moisture, grit and other contamination.
Existing in a Hostile Environment
It's not unusual for a certain amount of corrosion to gather on the surface of each leaf. However, if the surface of a single leaf becomes damaged, the corrosion can penetrate and could substantially weaken the part. Also, leaf springs may pull against their mounting point, especially if the trailer is overloaded. This can cause that mounting "eye" to spread out, putting a lot of stress on the mounting points themselves.
If you have a faulty suspension system, it can considerably decrease your load-carrying capacity. However, if the leaf springs were to break completely, then this could cause the trailer to collapse on one side, leading to more expensive repairs or significant accident damage.
Checking Your Spring Conditions
If you want to see if your leaf springs are still in good condition, try placing a spirit level on both sides of the trailer deck in turn. If you can see that one side of the trailer is lower than the other, you may well have a problem.
Performing a Close Inspection
In this situation, take the trailer to a mechanic who will conduct a more thorough inspection. They'll look for any signs of cracks or wear and will, in any case, clean the spring leaves with a wire brush. They can then apply some protective coating to safeguard these components in the future.
Keeping up with Service
Remember, you can often foresee any leaf spring problems by taking your trailer to a mechanic for regularly scheduled service. For more information on trailer repair, contact a professional near you.Share
27 October 2022
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