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Pass Trailer State Inspections with Ease

Boat trailer being inspected

Every state has laws and regulations for registering a trailer with a braking system. In the state of Virginia, registered trailers with braking systems are required to have a state inspection on an annual basis. To pass your annual state inspection with flying colors, knowing what will be inspected and how to prepare beforehand is important.

Best of all, our team can help you avoid any expensive repairs or adjustments a state inspection may uncover by addressing these issues proactively and cost-effectively.

Why do Trailers Require Inspection?

The Department of Transportation trailer inspection was implemented to ensure your trailer meets specific safety standards to keep you and others safe on the road. This helps to prevent accidents and breakdowns while traveling. It's also essential for trailer owners to stay aware of the state of their trailer and braking system.

When brake lights go out on a trailer, the driver may not be aware until it's too late. Similarly, if your safety chains are loose or rusted, you could be putting yourself and other drivers at risk. These regular inspections provide a complete and comprehensive overview of your trailer's health.

What Type of Trailers Require Inspection?

According to Virginia state law, any trailer with a gross weight capacity of 3,000 pounds or more is required to have a brake system and, therefore, needs an annual state inspection. This includes boat trailers, enclosed trailers, utility trailers and campers.

However, some trailers under 3,000 pounds can come with a brake system, which would also require a state inspection. If you're in the market for a trailer or already have one and are unsure whether it requires annual inspections, you can always ask a professional at Southside Hitch to go over these standards.

What Does the State Inspection Process Involve?

During an inspection, the following areas of your trailer will be closely examined:

  • Lights. This may include headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals and clearance lights. An inspection will look to see that all these lights work properly, are located in the right areas and shine in the appropriate colors.
  • Brakes. Your brake system will be checked for leaks, cracks or damage that could impact your brake use. The inspection will also look for wear and tear on the brake pads, drums and lines.
  • Tires. The overall condition of your trailer tires will be considered, including the tread depth, sidewalls, pressure, alignment, lug nuts and wheel bearings.
  • Axle Alignment. If your tires show signs of uneven wearing, an axel is likely out of alignment or has overloading issues. A state inspection will look for details like this to ensure your trailer is not only suited for the road but also that you're abiding by payload and towing capacity.
  • Suspension and Steering. Inspection will seek out any potential damage or wear to suspension components, like leaf springs, shock absorbers and airbags. Similarly, the steering capabilities will be inspected closely to reveal any issues with the wheel, such as looseness or excessive movement or damage to the steering tie rods, drag links and gearbox.
  • Safety Chains. Inspections will include an overview of your safety chains, ensuring they are in good working condition and do not have any signs of rust or broken or loose chains.
  • Breakaway System. In the event of vehicle and trailer separation, breakaway systems will activate the trailer brakes to alert other drivers. Like your other electrical systems, inspection will test the breakaway system.
  • Coupler. Inspection will make sure your trailer coupler effectively clamps around the trailer hitch ball and stays well secured.
  • Frame. Trailer frames can come in many different sizes and be made from various materials. A routine inspection will observe that your trailer frame is suited for your work and without any obvious wear and tear.

Inspectors may also look for any damage or leaks within your fuel and exhaust system and look at the ways in which you secure your cargo.

How We Can Help You Prepare

At Southside Hitch, safety is our number one priority. We offer thorough, cost-effective inspections for trailers. This way, you can avoid any potential issues found during an official state inspection and get them fixed beforehand. If we ever discover a problem that will prevent your vehicle from passing an inspection, we will offer the most affordable repair options performed by our professional team of technicians.

Prepare for an Inspection with Southside Hitch