Most freshwater boats are trailered from one body of water to another with little regard to the trailer maintenance.  Although the investment in the trailer is less than what most people have tied up in their boats, it is still considerable.

A little trailer maintenance goes a long way.  Many older trailers have survived 50,000 miles in cross country travel.  Not without some work by their owners.  Trailer maintenance is not costly nor is it complicated.  Common sense and a few bucks will go a long way.

To help protect the trailer’s value, keep it clean.  After each use, wash it clean.  If the trailer is painted, a good car wax application will help protect the finish.  Use touch up paint from the dealer to repair the nicks from rocks thrown up from the roadway.

Check the air pressure and wear of the tires regularly.  Also check the lug nuts on the wheels.  Check the lights and electrical components.  Hook the trailer to your tow vehicle and make sure all lights are working.  That includes both the running lights and turn signals.  Also check the lenses over the light bulbs for cracks and holes.  Replace them if necessary.  You can spray the connections with contact spray to keep them clean and free of corrosion.

Be sure to check the hubs and lubricate the wheel bearings.  Look for any unusual wear or damage.  Trailers can have either grease pack hubs or the newer oil bath hubs.  Stick with the grease pack hubs.

According to them Oil bath hubs work well on the highway with trucks.  However, boat trailers are in a different environment.  The hubs can heat up on the highway and then they dip into cool lake water.  The sudden temperature change creates a vacuum inside the hub.  The vacuum will draw condensation, moisture or impurities directly into the bearing.  That leads to premature bearing failure.

Using oil bath hubs on trailers stored over the winter, or only used a few times per year, also promotes condensation.  With many oil bath hubs, it becomes necessary to rotate the wheels every other week to prevent rusting and pitting of the bearings.  Not a popular chore for the owner.

The use of grease-packed hubs provides dependability and reliability.

Before taking to the road, check the inch strap and any tie downs for worn or frayed sections that might fail.  Inspect the safety chains and make sure they are connected.  Check any rollers or bunks for excessive wear.  They are usually OK for many years of use but accidental damage occurs.

Check the hitch and test the breaking system.  On the road allow more time for stopping than would be the case without towing a boat.

Be sure that the boat is level on the trailer and the boat/trailer combination is level when hooked to the tow vehicle.  Proper boat and trailer adjustment reduces wind resistance and improves fuel mileage.  If the boat has pedestal seats, take them down and store out of the wind.  Wind resistance against the seat can cause unnecessary stress to the pedestal mount and decrease its life span.  Boat covers also cut down on wind resistance.

On the road maintain a constant speed.  Accelerate slowly and steadily from a stop.  In areas with speed limits less than 65 mph, maintain a steady and constant speed at the posted limit.  In areas over 65 mph try to maintain speed at about 5 mph under the speed limit to improve mileage of the tow vehicle.

Paying attention to some of the details mentioned above can help to keep costs down and reliability up for your boating pleasure.



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  1. Pingback: TOWING TIPS FOR BOAT OWNERS | AverageOutdoorsman

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