Question: I have seen a lot of boat trailers and ATV trailers on the shoulders with mechanical issues, what should be checked on these trailers?

Answer: State troopers often encounter motorists pulling trailers that are experiencing breakdowns. Most often it involves a flat tire or trailer wheel bearing. Basic trailer maintenance involves greasing the wheel bearings.

Wheel bearing failure can occur when maintenance is neglected. A trailer’s wheel bearings are often neglected because they are out of sight. A loose, worn or damaged bearing is the most common cause of brakes to grab and lock up. This generally leads to tire failure, whether a flat or a blowout from the heat generated. I’ve seen hubs break off and fires caused from these issues.

Nobody wants to be that person stranded on the side of the road with a disabled trailer or be a driver who loses control because of a trailer malfunction. It is important to repack the wheel bearings and make it a part of your pre-trip inspection and maintenance schedule.

Other pre-trip preparation should include:

• Taillight and brake light function

• Proper use of hitch, pins and safety chains

• Proper tire inflation. Check for unusual wear, weather checking and bulges.

• Spare tire inflated, jack and lug wrench

• Secure the load and all other items.

A driver can perform all the required maintenance checks, but an unsecured load can also have deadly consequences. Securing your load is the law. A driver could face a citation if they don’t secure their load and/or additional consequences if an unsecured load causes a crash.

Any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trooper Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, 2900 48th St., NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848; or send an email to:

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