Shop Press

Shop Press is the news and idea hub for everything related to working on cars and trucks, focusing on repair, technology, and wrenching lifestyle.

From the creative minds at:


Hot Off the Press

Several tips to make brake line removal less of a headache

“Got a seven-foot section of brake line out without dropping the tank, cutting the line, or ruining a fitting. Today was a good day.” I sent that text to a friend of mine the other day. In a past life he was a wrench at a Cadillac dealer, so I think he sort of...

A comprehensive primer on the automotive right to repair debate

I began my wrench-turning career back in the late ‘70s when cars still used carbureted engines with mechanical points ignition systems. I’ve witnessed firsthand the evolution of what once were primarily mechanical systems controlling major engine and vehicle functions...

What is the best type of air filter? (VIDEO)

Description Air filter elements come in a variety of shapes and designs, but which one is right for you? Nick and Greaser discuss the advantages and drawbacks of three air filter designs, including filtration effectiveness, airflow, serviceability, overall size, and...

The one part of the car you’ll never install for a customer

The title is a bit clickbait-y, but I won’t drag this out. Let me tell you about a part you’ll never get a repair customer to buy willingly: the hood strut.Photo: Mike Apice.How many times have you been working on something, and the hood comes down and clonks ya right...

Trailer bearings: a hidden moneymaker for auto repair shops

by | Sep 20, 2022

You already can see where I’m going with this based on the title. Trailers are the simplest things in the world, and yet unless you’re at an RV shop, a dedicated trailer shop, or you live in a rural or coastal area (ag and marine use), you probably rarely see trailers coming in for service. But you know where I see ‘em getting serviced often? On the side of the road, by a sweaty, dirty owner. I’d love to know how many trailer bearing replacements happen in a breakdown lane or in an auto parts store parking lot.

A trailer axle bearing repair occurs outside a shop

Replacing bearings in an RV park isn’t exactly what most leisure travelers have on the schedule. Photo by sshepard.

So why not save your customers the hassle and service their trailers? With the exception of your landscapers and equipment haulers, most of your customers pulling a trailer for pleasure aren’t going to have tight schedules—perfect work for slow times. A postcard from your shop gently suggesting an annual (at minimum) bearing repack, adjustment, and brake check might be all someone needs to hook up the trailer and drop it off.

If you happen to deal in tires, this is a perfect time to take a look at those, too. (If you aren’t a trailer-tire expert, they’re almost all bias plies, and no one ever rotates them, and they sit outside most of their lives except when some maniac is pulling them at 80 mph underinflated on the freeway. They lead short lives.)

Trailers await service.

It’s not bad to have a lot full of work that’s not immediately pressing. Photo by Yaraslau Saulevich

You get easy work that’s not particularly time-sensitive, and the parts for Dexter or Dexter-pattern axles (the popular choice for most applications) are readily available at your local auto parts store. You get some money in the till, and you have a customer who’s almost guaranteed not to get sidelined with a seized bearing on a holiday weekend with screaming kids in a very hot camper.

Especially if you have a parking lot of decent size and techs who aren’t unwilling to take some tools and a rolling seat out into the sunshine, this work doesn’t have to tie up bays for long (if at all). It’s nothing but work for good, established customers you already know. Dust caps, castellated nuts, grease, and cotter pins aren’t objectionably expensive to them, and they’re usually high-margin pieces if you get them from my favorite source.

So suggest some service to a few of your customers, and if the jobs go well, maybe plan a sales campaign pushing for that extra work. It’s perfect to offer as the summer season winds down, before RVs, toy haulers, and landscape trailers are put up for the winter.

The articles and other content contained on this site may contain links to third party websites. By clicking them, you consent to Dorman’s Website Use Agreement.

Related Articles

Shop Press Comment Policy

Participation in this forum is subject to Dorman’s Website Terms & Conditions. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

Notify of
Inline feedback
View all comments

Get Articles In Your Inbox

Subscribe to receive a monthly email summary of our latest Shop Press stories.

Shop Press

I agree to the above privacy statement and T&Cs

Thanks! You're now subscribed.