Checking and maintaining your bearings

Codi JohnsonRV Tech Tips

A lot of you know to service your brakes as well as your trailer brakes, yet unaware of the service intervals on our towables. We want to look at our brakes every 6,000 miles, or twice a year. To do so, you’ll want to check the thickness of the pads, should you have them, or the shoes. Once we’re already looking at our pads, I recommend checking your bearings as well. Now, the service intervals on your bearings are going to be about 12,000 miles or once a year. 

Some of you are now asking, “Todd, what’s a bearing?” A bearing is what makes the wheels spin on the axle without causing a fire. When that wheel is spinning, it creates friction so the bearings are there packed with grease. What we need to do is service our trailer bearings once a year by repacking them with grease. So while checking our breaks during the second interval, we need to remove the hub and drum to pull out the bearings to replace the grease before replacing them. 

Now you’re saying, “Todd, that sounds like a lot of work!” It is, but it’s what extends the life of your trailer. So again, remember that every 12,000 miles or once a year you’ll need to repack the bearings. Some of you may do it yourselves, but for others who are asking “What’s a bearing?” you’ll want to hire a qualified technician, which isn’t very expensive, but will definitely extend the life of your rig. 

The last thing I want to touch on is that many of you may have zerks, so you can go ahead and use the zerk fittings and add the grease without removing your wheel drum during an emergency. I’ve said it before and I still recommend: every time you stop for fuel, get your infrared thermometer and check the temperature of the hub and the drum. What we are looking for is consistency; if you have a hub or a bearing that’s reading 185-190, it’s time to start working on that particular bearing. This is where the zerks come in: you’ll get your grease gun and “zerk it” until you get to a safe location to fully service the bearing. Did you know that the majority of the RV’s that you see on the shoulder while you’re driving are likely there due to brakes or bearings? This is why it’s good to remember to service your brakes at the appropriate intervals and repack your bearings once a year.

And there’s your Tech Tip!

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