There’s no reason not to keep your boat on a trailer during the summer, when you’re heading to nearby bodies of water every weekend for fishing or water sports. During the winter months, however, it’s best to get both boat and trailer out of the elements, especially if your region experiences harsh winter weather.
It is not unheard of to park your boat outside, leaving it on a trailer and simply covering it for the winter, or you could do the same with your trailer if your boat is in dry dock storage elsewhere. You could also put your trailer in off-site storage, but it’s probably not worth the expense.
Whether you elect to store your trailer inside or out, it’s imperative to winterize it in preparation for months of sitting and potentially withstanding the cold season. This starts with a thorough inspection and ensuring all elements are dry. Then there are a few things you’ll need to do to ensure safe storage throughout the winter. Here are a few strategies to prep your boat trailer for seasonal storage.
The best way to ensure the longevity of your trailer is to protect it from harsh winter weather, and this is most effectively accomplished by keeping it an enclosed space such as a garage or shed. If you’re able to clear space for storage, you have the best chance of avoiding ongoing issues like rust and corrosion, or other problems caused by moisture.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that you won’t have moisture and freezing temperatures in your garage or shed, but at least your trailer won’t be totally exposed to the elements. Provided you perform proper maintenance and repairs prior to storage, your trailer should emerge intact and ready to use next summer.
If you’re storing your trailer outside, you also need to choose an appropriate storage space. Select a spot in the driveway or yard that isn’t under eaves or trees that can dump water, snow, or ice on your trailer (especially if the boat is on it).
It’s always best to choose ground that is as level as possible when storing your trailer for several months at a time, and this is doubly true if you have a boat on the trailer. Level ground will help to prevent runaway incidents, as well as potential damage from placing too much weight on one side.
If you’re parking your trailer in the driveway, it’s a good idea to point the tongue toward the garage (instead of the street) and add a lock on the trailer hitch to prevent possible theft. An even better option is to put your trailer on blocks.
Put It on Blocks
There are several good reasons to put your trailer on blocks when it will be out of commission for an extended period of time. For one thing, taking the wheels off makes a trailer in the driveway much harder to steal.
Whether it’s indoors or out, though, blocking up your trailer allows you to safely remove the tires. If your trailer sits, unmoving, for months, the tires can get flat spots and suffer damage from the weather, even if the trailer is covered with a tarp.
By putting your trailer on blocks you can remove tires to store them in the garage or shed (if the whole trailer won’t fit). You’ll also have an easier time inspecting and repairing your trailer prior to storage once it’s up on blocks.