1. The most important part of having a stacker trailer is the lift. Without a fully operational hydraulic system, the lift will not operate properly and there will be no "stacking" of anything. Always check and maintain the 12v batteries that operate the hydraulic pump for the lift. There are normally a minimum of (2) batteries associated with a stacker trailer and they both need to be properly maintained. Most batteries are low maintenance in nature and require very little work other than to keep the connections clean and free of deposits. They do need to be charged on a regular basis and it is always recommended to add a charger internally when purchasing the trailer to keep them fully charged.
2. On the same note as the batteries, the hydraulic pump, which operates the lift is crucial in order to lift up anything. Always keep a close eye on the hydraulic hoses and connecters. In the event of a hydraulic fluid leak, please seek the advice and service of a professional. Hydraulic systems are very sensitive and require the use of special tools and a dust free environment to be opened and repaired. On most stacker trailers, the batteries and the pump are in the same location which makes it simple to perform maintenance on both, be sure to make yourself familiar with the locations of these items on your trailer so you won't be left with a malfunctioning lift system.
3. As with all trailers, and of the utmost importance when hauling a larger stacker trailer, tire pressure is crucial. Due to the nature of the stacker trailer being tall enough to stack two vehicles on top of each other, keeping an eye on the tire pressure is vital for safe travel. With such a large profile, stackers are more effected by wind shifts and passing traffic, therefore, proper tire pressure is even more important for the overall handling of this type of trailer at highway speeds. Most stacker trailers will have three axles for the stability of (6) tires on the road, resulting in more tires to keep up with. The recommended safe tire pressure is listed on the sidewall of the tire, be sure to make yourself aware of this and stick to it as closely as possible. Tire pressure can fluctuate up to 10 pounds overnight, so if you stop for the night be sure to check them before heading back out the next day.
4. A stacker trailer is generally heavier than your average trailer and usually comes with triple (3) axles. This, as mentioned above is for the stability of (6) tires on the ground to keep the trailer tracking and more able to withstand wind shear (more rubber on the road means better grip for sliding sideways during high wind gusts). With three axles and (6) tires also comes (6) sets of wheel bearings to maintain. The wheel bearings are another extremely vital part of the trailer that need to be maintained regularly. Most axle manufacturers recommend a bearing service every 6 months or 6,000 miles, which is merely a guideline to follow under normal use. Depending on how the trailer is used, miles traveled and the type of roads that are being driven on, you may need to have the bearings checked more frequently. Due to the size of a stacker and the amount of weight being hauled, the wheel bearings are under more stress than a standard car trailer, therefore it is crucial to keep them greased and checked on a regular basis. Refer to your owner's manual for any other requirements by the specific axle manufacturers for your trailer.
5. Trailer braking systems are a must for a trailer as large as a stacking car trailer. All stackers will be equipped with some type of brake system. The majority will be electric braking, but there are several other choices to look at as well. The importance of having trailer brakes is to ensure that when in transit, there will be adequate stopping power to slow down such a large object without having it run over the tow vehicle. Included in the braking system there will be an emergency breakaway as well. This system is designed to apply the brakes in the event of a separation of trailer and tow vehicle. The breakaway system consists of a cable, switch and battery that are attached to the brakes on the axles. In the event that the trailer and tow vehicle are separated, the cable will activate the switch and apply the brakes to slow the trailer down. It is very important to check this system periodically to ensure the battery is charged and capable of applying the brakes if needed. In order for the entire braking system to function properly it must be maintained and adjusted periodically as well. It is recommended that when doing a wheel bearing service, have the brake system checked for wear at the same time. There is no clear time frame for when trailer brakes will need to be replaced as not all braking systems function the same. It is possible that the brakes shoes could last ten years, or they could be worn down in one year. It is always a good idea to pay close attention to how the braking system feels from the tow vehicle. When you feel less and less braking power coming from the trailer, it is time to do a maintenance check on the brakes. It is always recommended to seek the advice and service of a professional when dealing with the braking system on your stacker trailer.