Of Trailer Wheel Hubs and Wrenches: Maintenance Tips for Boat Trailers

The life of a competitive angler is not an easy one, especially on the pocket. One would be splurging a hefty sum on gear to include in his tackle box—the finest baits, lines, and rods money could buy. However, an angler’s life doesn’t begin and end with his fishing gear alone; among everything he has, it wouldn’t be wise to not have his own boat and its accompanying trailer to aid him.

Checklist for Boat Trailer Maintenance

The boat itself is obviously one of the topmost concerns when it comes to maintenance. After all, it’s the vehicle that can get its owner out to the best spot in the water—but what about the trailer that carries it? Regular visits to a leading trailer parts store like Champion Trailers to purchase quality parts and accessories, as well as consistent maintenance practices should never be ignored. As About.com writer Tom Locchaas notes, “Routine inspections and maintenance keep your trailer safe and working and can extend its life for many years.”

Wheel bearing failures, flat tires, axle and suspension problems, and tongue/coupling trouble are among the most common issues boat trailers are susceptible to. So how can such bothersome situations be avoided? Here are a few preventive maintenance tips for boat trailers:

Check the wheel bearings regularly – This is where all those spare trailer wheel hubs should come into play. Wheel bearings on boat trailers are highly susceptible to corrosion because they’re often immersed in water—more so in saltwater. It’s important to keep them lubricated to ensure they’re protected and in good working order.

Keep nuts and bolts tight – Loose nuts and bolts could lead to mishaps ten times out of ten. All the nuts and bolts keeping the entire trailer together must be kept secure at all times to avoid any untoward incident, especially while on the road.

Inspect the tires – The last thing an angler would want for his trailer is a flat tire. Under-inflated tires are prone to premature wear, and are inefficient. Aside from less efficiency, one would also have to contend with lower gas mileage. Trailer tires are also bound to fail due to oxidation, so it is recommended that they be replaced every 3-5 years even if they still look fine to the naked eye. Trailer tire maintenance should always occupy the top half of the priority list, as they’re built differently than their conventional counterparts.

Check for undercarriage issues – Problems on axles, suspension, and tongue/coupling are primarily caused by overloading. It’s best to keep the load as light as possible, or within the capacity of the trailer.

(Source: Checklist for Boat Trailer Maintenance, About.com)

3 thoughts on “Of Trailer Wheel Hubs and Wrenches: Maintenance Tips for Boat Trailers

  1. My husband and I have been thinking about getting a trailer. I’ve been wanting to know what we need to do to make sure that it lasts long and what repairs we made need for our trailer. I didn’t know that the wheel bearing should be checked regularly. this is great to know because we will be putting the trailer in saltwater and I don’t want the tires to get damaged.

  2. Thanks for talking about how under-inflated tires on trailers can lead to lower gas mileage. My husband wants a trailer to haul equipment in during the summer, and he wants to make sure the trailer won’t lower the mileage of his truck. I think watching the tire pressure would be a good way to keep the MPGs up.

  3. We have a big trip this summer planned. The family will be going to the lake cabin for a week and we are taking the boat and four wheelers. I will be sure to follow your advice and check the undercarriage and tires of the trailers. I am always a little more nervous driving a trailer and knowing that it is properly maintained will help prevent any additional nervousness.

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