Keeping trailer under cover. Necessary?

How much does keeping a trailer under a shelter help to protect it/ prolong its life? I’m looking into trading in my current trailer for a new one, and I’m wondering if it would be worth investing in building a shelter (just a roof) for it. My current trailer (Trails West aluminum and steel) has been kept outside and has some rust spots around the doors and on the tongue, and the seal around the tackroom door has started cracking. And now there is a small leak in the tackroom. Would storing the trailer undercover have prevented this?

I have the same issue and I’m just going to take it in and get the seals replaced.

Obviously if a vehicle leaks then storing under cover will keep it dry

Depends on your region.

In our semi-desert, hardly anyone keeps trailers under a roof.
If any, they will get more sun damage than rust.

It makes sense that any trailer will be more protected under a roof, so if you can, why not?


If you have the space and funds, yes, keeping any vehicle under cover is better than leaving it out in the elements.

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I agree that it’s always better to keep it under cover but consider how long you will have it. If you’ll trade it in in 5 years, it’s probably not worth building a shelter. But if you want to keep this trailer forever, a roof will make a big difference. I agree that the sun is the biggest problem, even in northern climates.

I put just the hitch area under cover the first year I had the trailer and everything that could rust, rusted much more than my friends’ trailers of a similar age/make/model. I now don’t cover it and the rust hasn’t progressed. I don’t have an option to cover the entire trailer. I could see putting it in a garage as a preferred option. Maybe the cover was just too confining (I did have holes for air).

Sun is the biggest killer, for sure. But it’s the UV damage and the thermal cycling causing the issues.

If you can affordably build a shelter, I’d do it. I’ve always kept my trailers out in the open, sometimes under a tree (yeah, sap, but I can handle that easily).

Shelters are always help but, lacking that luxury, just getting the wheels off the ground and covering the tires from the sunlight will help greatly.

Helpful but not necessary as long as you keep it clean and are willing to occasionally reseal it. I’ve never had the luxury of keeping my trailers under cover, but have been diligent about keep them cleaned and washed. In the hot humid Georgia summers, mildew is a problem and loves to eat into the seals so I do scrub the trailer down good several times a year. The Exiss 2horse goose I had for 11 years, I did get up on the roof and recaulk the seals a time or two when I noticed a minor leak which that quickly fixed. I buy aluminum trailers with the white plasti-coated panels and they’ve always held up well if kept cleaned, even if kept out of doors and in the elements.

I am also diligent about cleaning out my trailer after each use and closing up the windows. I’ve always wondered about people with nice trailers that they routinely leave piles of used shavings and manure in, with windows open to the elements.

I have done both, and find that frequent washing/waxing (when weather allows) does as good a job as keeping a trailer inside. One suggestion for you --RE the rust spots --not sure what you can do about rust spots around the doors --would have to see a picture --BUT the tongue --well that’s easy to address —using steel wool scrub off as much of the rust as possible. Allow to dry. Tape off your trailer using newspaper and painter’s tape —using plain old glossy black spray point carefully spray paint the tongue --ta-da! Looks brand new. Then I got fancy and used silver spray paint to make my rusty chains look brand new! Again, carefully tape off what you don’t want painted.

Now I did some more spray painting --there was corrosion on the back panel right above the floor --for a few years I sanded then taped off then touched up with white paint --if matching your paint is a challenge remember that black looks like an accent --but plain old white spray paint was a match for my trailer (lucky on that one). I touched up the interior too --where there was rust on the support by the hay net, there now is new paint.

The biggest fix I did was repaint the doors. Merhow used fiberglass at one time for their doors (they no longer do) --after 10-15 years the doors turn yellow (common problem for RVs I found out looking on the web). With the advice of a body shop, I took the doors off, taped off the decals with blue painter’s tape, washed them thoroughly and spray painted them. The body shop guy told me he’d charge me $400 (four doors) to do it, and he’d have to take the doors off. Or I could do and if I made a mess of it, he’d still do the job but we’d be ahead because I would have taken the doors off! The doors came out beautifully!

Ultimately, with lots of love (and Mother’s Car Clay, Canauba Wax, and Mother’s Mag for Aluminum) and a set of new hub caps, I sold my 16 year old Merhow for 3K more than I paid for it —and bought myself a new one!

My philosophy is to try it myself first. I can always hire a pro if I make a mistake. So far, I haven’t had to --at the end of the day it is a horse trailer!!

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Trailer roofs should be resealed regularly to avoid leaks as part of maintenance. Here in the South, it is not unusual to reseal them every 5 years or so. You should be lookin* at the roof every year though to check for issue with the seams.