Hi-Tech Repairs: Auto Servicing From The FrontlinesHi-Tech Repairs: Auto Servicing From The Frontlines

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Hi-Tech Repairs: Auto Servicing From The Frontlines

This is Joe and I am so excited that I have landed an auto mechanic apprenticeship. I've never wanted to do anything else. I grew up watching dad tinkering with his car on weekends and the desire to be around grease and oil has been in my veins ever since. Even though I've only been training for a year, I've learnt that car servicing and repairs are different from when I used to watch my dad. These days it is very hi-tech and involves researching online manuals when a less common car comes in. It has really made me aware that mechanics need to be well-qualified and dedicated to their job as carelessness can put you in serious danger. I want everyone to understand the complexities of auto servicing these days and this journal is the result. I wish the very best for you and your car. Take care.

If You're New to Boating, What Do You Need to Know about Trailer Brakes?

If you intend to tow a heavy boat on a trailer, that trailer must be equipped with a fully capable and competent braking system. Several different setup types are used, and you will need to be familiar with what you're dealing with. You'll also want to pay close attention to maintenance, which is especially important given the nature of what you are towing. So, what do you need to be aware of going forward?

How Trailer Braking Systems Work

Trailer braking systems can typically be divided into two separate categories. You may have a system that is connected to the brake pedal in your towing vehicle and is electrically operated. When you apply the brakes, the system will detect the rate of deceleration and send a current through to your trailer brakes to energise a magnet. This system will automatically adjust the movement of the trailer brakes to the movement of the brake pedal.

Alternatively, your trailer may have a surge coupler mounted near the towbar. Inside will be a hydraulic master cylinder, and when you apply the brakes, the plunger will automatically surge, applying pressure to the master cylinder mounted next to each wheel.

Drum Brakes

Typically, drum brakes will be fitted to the trailer, and these will usually feature a single piston on each side. The drum brakes can be used with surge and electric mechanisms, but a different setup will be required, and you cannot mix and match. In other words, you cannot use replacement parts that are designed for a hydraulic system on an electrically operated setup.

What to Look out for

You will need to regularly check your trailer brakes' condition, as the wheels will spend some of their time immersed in saltwater. In particular, look closely at the brake fluid and inspect this for signs of water contamination, unwanted sediment and rust. Look at the drums, shoes and return springs for more evidence of corrosion, and check to see that everything moves without restriction. If it doesn't, you will need to replace the relevant parts.

Additional Attention to Electric Brakes

If your trailer does have an electrically activated brake system, pay even closer attention. While the installation will have been designed to take into account the presence of water, you will still need to check the electrical connectors, magnets and inbuilt battery during a scheduled service.

Scheduling Your Service Visit

Get into the habit of scheduling a service visit for your trailer at the same time as you make an appointment for your towing vehicle. If you do this, you should run into fewer problems and less disruption to your new boating activity.