In its most basic form, a trailer axle is a shaft that conveys trailer load and drives to the tires. This subtle trailer shaft, though, is perhaps the most complicated component of the trailer.
Loads that are excessively heavy or are not properly balanced in proportion to the axles and wheels might cause your cargo to wander or become insecure.
These little components are out of our sight and consciousness most of the time. Nonetheless, they are very important for keeping your precious goods on the route.
Dependable trailer axles are priceless, especially if you rely on your trailer for a living. Having a faulty axle might be disastrous for you.
Choosing trailer axles, however, is not always so easy. However, we can find the correct one if we know a few key factors. So, here’s a crash course on trailer axles.
First, let’s talk about some considerations when purchasing a trailer axle. The number one thing is its load capacity, which determines how much weight it can support.
Normally, it would help if you searched for trailer axles with greater capacity than you require. Also, make sure the load capacity of the springs and tires correspond. Having springs and tires as strong as your axles assures you do not fall short.
The axle type is the second most significant factor to consider. The two most common trailer axle types are spring and torsion. In this post, we will not tell you which is superior; instead, we will discuss the features of each type and the conditions for which they are designed.
Torsion axles are not equipped with any form of metal spring for cushioning. Instead, such axles are made out of a series of rubber bands wrapped around a square metal.
The outer square steel tube is what is attached to the frame. On the other hand, the inner square portion is connected to the wheels by torsion bars.
So, how do tension axles absorb vibration? The inner metal bar pushes the rubber bands when the wheel travels over rough terrain, quietly absorbing vibrations.
As the name implies, Spring axles are made of layered flat springs. If you have spent enough time around ordinary vehicles, you will be familiar with spring axles.
But unlike on a pickup truck, the springs on a trailer are usually located beneath the axle. This lowers the riding height, improves stability, and makes loading the trailer easier.
Torsion axles have recently taken the lead in the trailer market. The increased use can be linked to the several advantages of torsion axles over regular spring axles.
Many consumers have praised torsion axles for their smooth ride. They use a straightforward design that relies on the tension of rubber parts within the axle to absorb disturbance.
Even without any load on the trailer, this twisting and compressing mechanism is incredibly smooth and glides wonderfully. Besides, there is no contact between metals on the axle’s inside, making the ride quieter.
And, because of the efficiency of its design, very little maintenance is required. There are fewer moving components, and no parts are rubbing against each other within the axle, reducing abrasion and corrosion.
All you have to do is ensure that the wheel bearings are properly oiled. Torsion axles are also quite versatile. You can change the height of the torsion axle only by adjusting the torsion bars. Half-torsion units are available that do not need to pass beneath the full trailer.
Unfortunately, torsion axles come with several drawbacks too. First, the connected structure of torsion axles entails that any substantial repairs will involve the removal of the axle.
Then, compared to spring axles, torsion axles often have a significantly lower loading capacity. The load is not evenly distributed throughout the wheels in a torsion axle system.
The moment of striking a hole or road bumps may result in a more complicated load at the place of axle connection. Thus, the increased stresses demand more strength. In other words, the frame must be strengthened in sections around the axle attachment for a torsion axle.
If you dwell in a region with bumpy roads, tension axles will come in handy. They compress far more vibration and, as a result, provide a smoother driving experience.
Furthermore, tension axles are better if you frequently carry a boat. Because the metals in them have been galvanized, they are more resistant to corrosion.
There is a reason why spring axles are the most typical axles anywhere.
Spring axles are popular with consumers because they are inexpensive. The ease of production and installation makes them a more cost-effective axle option. Parts are also widely available, which means they will likely cost less in the long run.
Maintenance and repair are very straightforward as well. If a spring axle breaks, parts can be replaced individually. Furthermore, there is no requirement for welding during the repair.
Spring axles have a far higher load capacity than torsion axles. Moreover, because all of the pieces are visible outside, you can repair any damage before it increases.
Spring axles, like torsion axles, have several downsides. The first is its limited capacity to reduce vibration. Because spring axles are firm and solid elements, vibration may easily travel through the trailer frame.
Another disadvantage is that it is relatively limited in terms of adaptability. Having spring axles may be somewhat inconvenient when you need adjustable ride height.
Spring axles are particularly beneficial in high-load applications. If you need to transport a utility trailer or a dump trailer, spring axles are the way to go.
Spring axles are also effective in multi-axle applications. They often include a built-in stabilizer, so you do not have to worry about unequal weight distribution.
Spring axles may also be a better option if you reside in a region without a major trailer distributor because the components are readily available in smaller outlets. And, in emergencies, you may even make a substitution with other truck parts.
When it comes to choosing axles for your new trailer, having some knowledge on hand makes the decision easier. All you have to do is ensure that the axle matches the trailer dimensions and load capacity that you require.
As previously said, it is always advisable to set up the trailer to bear more load than you think you will require. If you later decide that you would like to transport a heavier load than the axle is intended for, you will have to upgrade the trailer.
Finally, we must point out that both spring and tension axles have advantages and disadvantages. If you are unsure which one is best for you, contact your local axle distributor and explain your needs.