Good preventive maintenance practices will help keep any trailer, much less flatbed units, up and running for longer productive time periods.

East Manufacturing recently put together a list of general maintenance tips for flatbed and drop deck trailer owners, though the company stressed that it’s critical to follow the platform trailer procedures offered by the manufacturers of their specific make and models.

East added that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that maintenance records be kept for every commercial highway vehicle and that includes trailers as well.

On a weekly basis, technicians should follow these inspection protocols:

  • Look for any damage.
  • Verify that all lights function and are in place and not obscured.
  • Lubricate the fifth wheel while checking it the kingpin for cracks and unusual or excessive wear.
  • Lubricate the trailer support legs.
  • Inspect the support leg mounting plates and the bracing for cracks.
  • Check that torque on suspension hanger bolts is 225 ft-lb.
  • Visually inspect all air springs, airlines and hoses for chafing.
  • Check the brake valves for leaks, and ensure proper operation.
  • Check the brakes and lubricate the brake cams.
  • Check for and remove any foreign material from within the dust shields.
  • Drain condensation from the air reservoirs.
  • Check the tire air pressure. Inflate according to tire manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Verify that the wheel lug nuts are tight.
  • Check the oil level in the wheel hubs to ensure proper wheel bearing lubrication.
  • Inspect seals/hubcaps for leaks.
  • Grease all zerk fittings.
  • Check to make sure that all fasteners on the trailer are tight.

On a monthly basis, some addition maintenance steps need to be taken:

  • Check all welds for cracks.
  • Inspect the suspension system bushings for excessive wear and freedom of movement. Remove and replace all worn bushings.
  • Check the wheel bearings for the recommended adjustment.
  • Check fifth wheel plate for corrosion between plate and main rail.
  • Check fifth wheel plate and kingpin for tightness.