There’s nothing worse for boaters than going on a trip to the lake only to have it cut short by a mechanical failure of the trailer. But most of these problems can be avoided, if we take precautions at home.
Trailer Maintenance Checklist
Check Tires and Axles
When tires and wheel bearings fail, you could be stranded on the side of the road or even in a car accident.
Inspection of Tires
Many trailer breakdowns occur due to low tire air pressure. Therefore, you need to check that the trailer’s tires have adequate air pressure before you leave. On trailer tires, the rating is usually marked, usually 60psi or higher.
When a trailer has not been used for a long time, be sure to check the tire pressure before using it. This is because tires will naturally lose a pound or two of air pressure each month.
In addition to checking tire pressure, you should also check the wear level of your tires. When you notice uneven tire wear, it means the axles may not be aligned and the tires and axles need to be replaced or repaired as soon as possible.
Tires also need to be replaced when they are more than 6 years. The year of manufacture of a tire can be indicated by the last thought of the DOT code on its sidewall. For example, 3120 represents the 31st week of 2020 when it was built.
The type of tire is also important. The trailer should be designed with ST (Special Trailer) type tires and converted for trailer use. It has a stronger cord and harder sidewalls compared to LT (light truck) type tires.
It is good if you have spare tires for your trip.
Inspection of Axles
If the axles are contaminated with water, then they are likely to rust. To avoid this, most boat trailers are equipped with a wheel bearing protector. It holds the grease in the hub and prevents water from entering the hub and bearing assembly. But even with the bearing protector, we would be wise to check and repack the wheel bearings with fresh grease every three to five seasons.
In addition to that, we should check the bearings when we stop to refuel. Make sure they don’t get too hot.
Almost all boat trailers are equipped and automatically started. But over time, it requires some maintenance to ensure safety.
Keep The Brakes Clean
If your trailer was launched in salt water, I need to flush the trailer brakes as soon as possible after retrieving the boat. This is to avoid the formation of corrosion on them. Some marinas take these issues into consideration and are kind enough to provide fresh water hoses for easy flushing.
Coupler and Hook Ball
Before using the trailer, you need to make sure the hitch ball matches the trailer size of the coupler. It is very danger to use a 1 7/8″ hitch ball with a 2″ coupler.
In addition to this, the coupler is part of the cushion brake actuation and may occasionally require lubrication to work properly.
Check Trailer Lights
Every time you hook up your trailer, you must check all the trailer lights to ensure it is connected properly. The reason why the taillights dim or flicker is mainly because of faulty wiring or short circuit. So, make sure the grounding is good. When the bad ground is found, remove the screw or bolt and use sandpaper to remove the rust from the contact point.
When not in use, also make sure that the trailer lights connection on the trailer is covered. This is also to prevent corrosion contamination. You can use a plastic cover that fits the connector or a little dielectric grease.
Checking for Invasive Species
This is also a very necessary thing to do. This should be performed as soon as you retrieve your boat and trailer at the ramp. Failure to do so may result in the spread of invasive species.