These roller bearings play a major role in keeping your trailer riding smoothly.

© iStockphoto.com/Alan Heartfield

Let's face it: When you tow a trailer behind your vehicle, all you really want to do is get your payload from one location to another with minimal effort. You don't want the trailer to rock and rattle any more than is necessary, and you sure don't want it to slow you down. Luckily, you have a friend in this endeavor: trailer bearings.

You can't see these towing components without dismantling your trailer's wheel assembly, but bearings are in there doing you a world of good. They help to provide a smooth towing ride and prevent friction from slowing you down and unnecessarily wearing out your trailer's parts. Without them, heavy loads could grind wheel movement down to a standstill.

­But bearings require regular maintenance, such as greasing, to keep them rolling. With enough wear and tear, you may even have to replace them. If you own a trailer or plan to use one soon, it pays to recognize how bearings work and how to keep them in good repair.

Read the next page to learn just what goes on inside that wheel assembly and what exactly those bearings are doing.

­