Axles, Bearings, and Hubs

Mon January 2, 2023

Aside from preparing for planned vacations or trips, we rarely worry about the conditions of our axles, bearing, or hubs on our trailer. If you are like me, most the time I just hook up to the trailer and get the job done. However, the axles, bearings, and hubs are the lifeline of your trailer, keeping it moving down the road. I bring this up because I have seen a lot of questionable setups come in for parts. To start, probably the most neglected piece of this setup is the dust cap. I have seen more trailers come through here with missing or damaged dust caps, or caps caked with dirty, nasty grease. This is just screaming, “let me fall apart and break.” 

The reason we put grease in hubs is to decrease friction with its viscous nature. Dirt and road debris mix into the grease acting like sandpaper to the bearings, increasing the hub temperature, and leading to failure. Over time, without maintenance, even a correctly put together hub assembly just wears out. The key is maintenance! Adding a pump of grease into your grease zerk periodically, based on use, will greatly extend the life of your bearings. If you do not have this ability, having your bearings cleaned and repacked with fresh grease is a great idea. 

Checking your tires for excess play in your hubs is a great way to prevent a problem. Tires should be snug and not have excess movement side to side. Excess movement means the castle nut has loosened, potentially due to insufficient grease. Loose hubs create vibration and will lead to improper wearing of the hub and bearing. This can lead to sudden damage to a hub, with little to no warning. 

Bent or damaged axles cause several different problems to a trailer. To start, if a tire is not riding evenly on the ground, it is going to wear unevenly. This will greatly reduce the life of your tire, and could lead to further damage with a blowout. Hubs that are not running true, due to a damaged axles, put strain on the components in a way they are not designed to operate. This leads to improper wear and eventually failure. 

Taking care of your axles, bearings, and hubs will keep you on the road and help you avoid expensive down-time. These components are not designed to last forever, but proper maintenance and upkeep will help them last an extremely long time. If you have damaged or broken trailer components, come by Back 40 Supply today and let us help get you the parts you need to get the job done.

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