You own a boat trailer, now what? How do you ensure you are keeping your trailer safe to tow and store your boat? Every manufacturer uses different components and accessories on their trailers, but the core fundamental maintenance is primarily the same. It is common that boaters remember to do the proper safety procedures on their boat — change the spark plugs, winterizing, etc. — but, often the boat trailer gets forgotten.
Below is a checklist to help educate new boat-trailer owners on proper care and guidelines:
- Frequently check the tire pressure to make sure it is set to the maximum suggested rating by the tire manufacturer.
- Tighten/torque your lug nuts to the suggested rating to prevent the loss of a tire.
- Check tire tread for wear, dry rot, or other issues that could cause a safety concern.
- Inspect, grease, and replace your bearings, if necessary. Most trailer manufacturers use different styles of bearings and grease systems. It’s imperative to know the maintenance schedule to prevent any overheating or failure of the bearings.
- Inspect lights and make sure they are working properly. Look for possible shorts or loose connections.
- Inspect the trailer brakes. Some have discs, others drums. Consult with your trailer manufacturer or manual to know what you’re looking for.
- Whether you have a bunk, roller, or screwpad style trailer, make sure the supports are fixed, tight and secure to prevent issues with the hull support.
- Boat trailer-frame constructions vary. Some manufacturers build out of aluminum I beam, C-Channel Steel, Box/tube steel, etc. Inspect the frame for signs of rusting or strength issues.
- Take a peek at your winch strap and tie downs for signs of dry rot or wear to keep them from snapping or breaking.
- Renew your trailer registration, if necessary.
- If you have a breakaway battery on your trailer, make sure you test it to be certain that it functions properly in case of an emergency.