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Being able to tow your trailer safely isn’t just an important part of being a responsible owner, it’s an essential one. Maintaining your trailer is an essential step in making sure your trailer stays in good condition and is ready to tow at a moment’s notice.

It’s important to be able to grease your trailer, which means taking some time to learn how to do it.

Taking your trailer on an adventure, camping up a storm, and living the high life is all well and good, but as we know, equipment is expensive. Not only that, but it can also be your lifeline in a tricky situation. 

Taking the proper care to ensure your trailer is not only roadworthy but in tip-top condition will save you loads of money in unnecessary repairs later on down the road.

Having greased bearings is also essential for long-term safety, especially when towing heavy loads over rough terrain or through the mud. So here’s what you need to know about greasing trailer bearings.

Before We Get Started

It is always recommended that you review the owner’s manual or contact your trailer dealer for specific details on your trailer, but here are some general guidelines and tips on how to grease key components to help you avoid rusting and corrosion damage.

Greasing Your Trailers Bearing – What You Need To Know

Trailer bearing grease is available at most auto parts stores and many hardware stores. It comes in various types depending on the type of bearing you have. If you don’t already have a container with you, you may want to purchase one before starting this project. 

Be sure to use quality grease, such as Pennzoil, Mobil 1, Castrol, etc. The best way to determine if your grease is suitable for your application is by using a metal dipstick. If there is no oil visible on the end of the stick, then it’s probably safe to use.

Trailer Bearing Types

There are two main types of trailer bearings: roller and ball. Ball bearings are generally used where weight is less than 100 pounds, while roller bearings are generally used for heavier trailers. 

Roller Bearings

Roller bearings are made from steel and consist of inner and outer rings separated by rollers. These bearings allow rotation without sliding contact between the inner ring and the outer ring. They are often found in wheel hubs and axles.

Ball Bearings

Ball bearings are made from hardened steel and usually consist of a pair of inner and outer races separated by balls. This type of bearing allows free movement in all directions. They are commonly found in axle assemblies and suspension systems.

Trailer Bearing Lubrication

The purpose of lubricating your trailer bearings is to keep them moving smoothly and prevent friction. Friction causes heat which leads to wear and tear on the bearing surfaces. When the bearing starts to wear out, it needs to be replaced.

Trailer Bearing Maintenance

The first thing you should check after every trip is the condition of your trailer bearings. Make sure they are clean and dry. If you notice any signs of dirt or debris, wipe them off with a rag or paper towel. Use a soft brush to remove any dust or dirt build-up.

After wiping the bearings, spray them with a light coat of grease. Do not apply too much grease or it could cause the bearing to seize up. Once you have applied enough grease, let the bearings sit for 30 minutes to allow the grease to soak into the bearing surface.

After letting the grease set for 30 minutes, wipe the bearing again to make sure there is no excess grease left on the bearing surface. If there is still excess grease, repeat the process until you reach the desired amount.

How Do I Know What Bearings My Trailer Has?

To determine which bearings are used in your trailer axle, remove the hub from the axle and look for the reference number stamped into the metal of the inner and outer bearings. If the bearing numbers aren’t clear, the next best thing is to take measurements of each bearing. This will be the bearing itself. 

Type 1: Coupler and Ball Hitch

Grease your couplers and hitch balls before each of your tow as often as necessary, and at least once a month. Apply about 1/4 inch of car-specific trailer grease to both the ball and the surface of the socket of the coupler.

Type 2: Ring and Pintle

To lubricate the internals of the pinion gear, use a relatively small layer of thick trailer oil. Check and lubricate whenever necessary before every tow, or at the very least, every six months.

Type 3: Landing Leg or Jack

There will usually be a fitting for the grease, if so, lube up the jack mechanism with grease using a grease gun. The gears in the upper part of hand-crank jacks ought to be lubricated once a year. In order to do this, remove the tip of the jack, and hand-pack or pump in grease inside your gears.

Make sure to do this annually unless stated otherwise by your manufacturer.

Type 4: Axle

If your trailer’s axle has a grease hole, the bearings should be greased twice a year or 6 thousand miles for the best functionality, and for safety. To apply this thick oil to the axle, take out the plug at the axle end and set a grease gun ready to lubricate the zerks.

How To Grease Trailer Bearings (1)

Apply grease to the wheel bearing assembly. Repeat until new grease begins to form. Then refit the plug, and rinse and repeat the process for the rest of the wheel bearing assemblies.

If your trailer’s axles don’t have grease zerks, check your axle manufacturer for more in-depth and specified instructions.

Frequently Asked Questions And Best Way to Hand-Pack Grease Into Bearings

Lubricating your trailer’s axles properly helps maintain their capability and safety. Lubricate bearings at least once per year or 10,000 miles. Each type of trailer recommends different types of product, so bear this in mind before getting started, and always follow specific instructions for your brand of trailer: 

Put a ball of grease into one of your hands.

Mold a portion of one side of the bearing into the inner edge of the grease near your thumb, pushing the lubricant into the interior of the bearings.

Rotate the bearing across each of the rollers until you’ve done them all.

Carry on with this process until you’ve coated the whole coupler with grease.

Before installing the bearing again, apply a fine layer of grease in the bearing cups.

Final Thoughts

We hope you learned a little more about greasing your joints and why it is such an important part of your trailer’s maintenance when out and about on the road. We also hope that we have helped you avoid some common mistakes and issues that can arise if you don’t keep up with proper lubrication.

Remember that a healthy joint doesn’t just mean a happy camper; it means a safe camper too!

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