Particularly if you are an avid do-it-yourselfer, it’s hard to pass up a great deal on a used trailer, van, or truck. And if you’ve got something specific in mind for it (camper, tiny house, food truck, etc.) it’s even harder to pass up. If you want to make your new trailer look like new again, the following are a few pointers to help you on your way.
First Things First
Naturally, the first thing you’re going to need is a high-quality used trailer, van, truck, etc. For our purposes today, let’s talk about trailers. Try to buy something that’s clear of major defects, loose bearings, bent axles, broken welds, etc. And don’t forget to make sure that all the lights work.
Fix What Needs Fixing
If you missed a broken weld, you’ll want to make sure that you weld those first. You can avoid purchasing gas if you use a flux core welder. If there are any rough wooden services or rust, sand those areas down with 150 grit sand paper and an orbital sander. Make sure to use a respirator and get as much rust and rough wood off as possible. New paint will have an easier time bonding to these areas now. Other suggestions are, for particularly rough areas, a flap disc and angle grinder. To smooth out sharp corners or welds, and remove rust, the flap disc is perfect. Boards that are not salvageable should be replaced (see below).
Before You Paint
To make sure that paint adheres, remove all dust with a broom or air compressor. Use a damp rag to wipe off all surfaces. When you paint, use a respirator again. To make sure the paint doesn’t get where you don’t want it, either mask off or tape off those areas. Use enamel spray paint for metal surfaces. Don’t be afraid to use a couple of coats.
If you’re painting the wheels, tape off whatever shouldn’t be painted and take off the lug nuts. Rustoleum paint works good here. Don’t forget the spare. The trailer will appear even more brand-new by painting the hubs.
You Checked the Lights but…
Just in case you missed checking the lights and a wiring problem crops up, this is the time to fix it. If the wiring is old, chances are, it’s broken in more than one place. Rather than splicing wires, you may want to replace all of it. It’s not that expensive and it goes pretty quickly. Be sure to check blinkers, brake lights, running lights, etc. Snug wiring to the frame with trailer wire clips or zip ties. Each light should have trailer wiring connected with crimp connectors and a wire crimp tool. To cover connections, use a a bit of electrical tape.
Make What’s Old New
As mentioned earlier, replace any boards that need to be replaced. Pine boards work nicely. Make sure that they’re attached with screws, bolts, or whatever is necessary. Seal/varnish them to protect them against mother nature. Hint: to make tires look like new again, try using tire polish.
Now it’s time to hook that baby up and test everything out. Everything’s working? Start hauling, or driving, or camping, or whatever it is you fixed up that now glorious truck, trailer, or van for.
Mickey Genuine Parts frequently carries high-quality used trailers, trucks, vans, and more. Check out our current inventory and give us a call should you wish to discuss the purchase of any Mickey new or used vehicle, trailer, or part.