Inspection Tips for Trailers and Mobile Homes
What is involved in a Trailer or Mobile Home safety inspection?
The safety inspection critieria set by the State of Texas is designed to make sure that the safety systems on your trailer or mobile home are operating properly and includes checks of your vehicle's:
- Braking system (if weight of the load and trailer exceeds 4,500 lbs.)
- Wheel assembly and tires for damage/minimum tread depth
- Safety guards or flaps (required if four rear tires or two super single rear tires)
- Clearance lamps and reflectors
- Stop and tail lights, auxiliary lamps and turn signals
If your vehicle passes, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) will automatically be notified to clear the way for your vehicle registration renewal. Since the Texas "Two Steps One Sticker" program began in March 2015, you will no longer receive a sticker at the time of your inspection. Instead, you'll receive a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR), then later at the time of your registration you'll receive a sticker that will serve as combined proof of both inspection and registration. Be sure to keep your VIR paperwork until you receive your actual sticker in case there is any issue with the DMV's electonic verification of your inspection!
If any item on the checklist fails, you'll receive instructions on what needs to be repaired. Once your repair is complete, simply return to any of our DEKRA stations within 15 days of your original inspection for a free retest.
How often is a Trailer or Mobile Home safety inspection required?
Trailers and Mobile Homes follow the same inspection schedule as cars where the State of Texas requires a safety inspection each year (see our Inspection Tips for Cars for special advice for new residents, out-of-state vehicles, and exemptions).
What kinds of Trailers and Mobile Homes need to be inspected?
Any mobile home (also referred to as motor home, recreational vehicle, or RV) with a registered weight over 4,500 lbs. must undergo the annual safety inspection.
For trailers, semitrailers and pole trailers, the load itself must also be considered. If the weight of the trailer plus the weight of the load exceeds 4,500 lbs. then it must be inspected annually. For on-house moving dollies and converter dollies, an inspection is required but is limited to tires, wheel assemblies, stop lamps, tail lamps, and reflectors as well as brakes and coupling devices for converter dollies.
Tips for safer driving of your mobile home:
The following tips can help your motor home pass its inspection, and at the same time help keep our roads cleaner and safer!
- Regular maintenance
Change your oil and filters as recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer (usually every 3 months or 3,000 miles) to help your vehicle operate efficiently. It is also important to use the type of oil and fuel recommended by the manufacturer for best performance.
- Watch for leaks
Low fluid levels can affect the efficiency and performance of your vehicle.
- Gas cap required
A properly fitting cap can reduce your evaporative emissions and save you money at the pump!
- Watch for warning lights
If a warning light is lit, it could indicate a problem or safety concern.
- Take notice of warning signs
Road-weary vehicles can start to show signs of a faulty emissions system, including difficulty starting or staying running at idle, jumping or shaking at higher speeds, and misfires. Taking your vehicle to a certified repair shop as soon as you notice a worsening trend can catch problems before they escalate into a more major repair or test failure.
Tips for safer driving of your trailer:
The following tips can help your trailer pass its inspection:
- Visual check of lights
To avoid a test failure, ask a friend to help you confirm that brake lights and turn signals are operating properly. Alternately, carefully back up the trailer close to a wall at night and use your rearview mirrors to view the reflection on the wall for confirmation of proper operation.
- Keep your tires properly inflated
To avoid tire damage that could eventually cause a blow-out or test failure, regularly check the air pressure in your trailer's tires and keep them inflated according to manufacturer recommendations.
- Check your tire tread depth
Tread depth can also determine if your trailer passes inspection. If the tread wear indicators are in contact with the roadway at more than one location, or a tire has less than 2/32 inch tread at more than one location around the circumference of the tire in two adjacent major tread grooves, it is an automatic failure.
- Check hubs and grease as needed
At the end of a short trip, or periodically for longer trips, stop and quickly touch the wheel hubs. If they are too hot to touch, it is an indication that the hubs need grease for optimal performance.
Visit a DEKRA station for more expert advice and a fast, professional vehicle inspection.