Winter Weather Stresses on Trailer Fleet

Winter is here…is your equipment ready?

As temperatures across the nation decrease, trailer fleet stressors begin to shift in a different direction. From tires to slack adjusters, winter weather can wreak havoc on several trailer equipment components. In an effort to help mitigate seasonal hazards, we have looked into some of our most common seasonal breakdowns and key winter trailer maintenance.

As temperatures drop throughout the country, the cold has many negative effects on a trailer, the primary two areas being tires and brakes.

Tire pressure will decrease, making the tire vulnerable to heat or other related failures. The brake system will become susceptible to freezing due to moisture and water in the airlines. These situations can be avoided by proper maintenance practices, like checking air pressure and regularly draining air tanks.


Once the temperature reaches below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, tire pressure can drop as much as 10 psi per additional 20 degree Fahrenheit drop. Ensure your fleet is routinely measuring tire pressure to prevent an over-the-road breakdown in the brisk of winter.

Tires with low tread depth could pose a threat to your safety and the safety of others when met with icy and snowy roads. The more tread on your tires, the safer you’ll be—so make sure tires are checked on your next scheduled winter trailer maintenance.

Brake Systems

With colder temperatures comes snow, meaning trouble for your trailer equipment. Added moisture, snow, ice, salt, and other corrosive elements used to keep highways clear can be extremely tough on air-brake components such as air tanks. Ensure these components are operating as designed all-season-long by draining air-tanks often.

Another common cause for air-brake system breakdowns in the winter is component corrosion. Even the smallest corroded area could cause your brakes to “freeze up.” To avoid an over-the-road breakdown, make sure all slack adjusters, clevis pin and other drum brake components—including cam tubes, shafts and bushing—are well lubricated.

Undercarriage/Landing Gear/Miscellaneous

Due to the build-up of snow and ice on the roads, it is good measure to inspect dolly legs and landing gear components for damage. 

Other components that may be affected due to cold weather changes are wiring and trailer lights. Check that wires are not corroded and that all trailer lights are operable. Also, check the seven-way plug, belly hoses, and couplings that may be damaged.

Winter weather = hazards for your trailer equipment. Luckily, when you know what you’re looking out for during pre-and post-trip inspections and implement a timely preventative maintenance cycle, you can reduce the chances of an over-the-road breakdown. 

If all else fails, and the wintery weather ends up getting the best of your trailer equipment, you can keep your peace of mind by providing your drivers with the best 24/7 over-the-road breakdown support through Star Breakdown Service. If you would like to start a partnership with Star Breakdown Service, or you have a question or concern, click here to get started.

Stay tuned for our next blog post on winter trailer maintenance tips to keep your equipment running as it should!