Ideally, you want to store your boat trailer in a warm, dry, and fully enclosed indoor space, but unfortunately, this may not be possible. Even if you have room in your garage or a storage shed on your property, many of these structures are neither heated nor fully sealed and insulated.
In other words, the moisture and freezing cold temperatures that dominate the winter months could still affect your trailer, despite the fact that it’s safely indoors. What’s worse, you might not have the space available to provide shelter for your trailer, which leaves you paying for storage elsewhere or simply parking it in the driveway for the winter, on blocks and covered with a tarp for protection from the elements.
In any case, you’ll find that a little water left over on the trailer can cause a lot of damage before summer arrives. You need to get your rig as dry as possible in order to properly winterize. Since you should inspect and repair your trailer at the end of the summer season anyway, here are a few tips to help you find and remove any damaging moisture.
Find the Water
Rolling your trailer down watery ramps to load and unload your boat all season long can have some consequences. Although boat trailers are designed to resist the harmful effects of water, over time it can still do some damage.
A thorough inspection will turn up common issues like rust (steel), corrosion (aluminum), and rot (if your bunks are padded with carpeting or other textiles), for example. These parts will need to be repaired or replaced in order to stop further damage. A body shop should be able to help you deal with damage to metal parts in order to extend the usable life of your trailer – rust spots should be sanded, primed, and painted.
Don’t forget to check less obvious areas where water can get in, as well. Although your lights should be sealed tight, seals can break down and leak over time, and the last thing you want is moisture causing problems with your electrical components.
If you discover moisture in the lights, they’ll have to be removed, dried, and resealed. You should also check your connectors. Any electrical components affected by moisture may not only fail, but they could short out, potentially causing further damage or even harming people.
Proper Drying and Protection
Once you’ve discovered hidden moisture lurking in your trailer, you must eradicate it completely. A shammy will take care of the majority of exterior parts, while moisture repelling sprays will help to get electrical components totally dry.
Once light fixtures are dry they should be resealed so as to create an airtight compartment. Connectors can be treated with electrical grease to keep moisture at bay. You can also use double-duty lubricants on metal parts like roller assemblies and winch gears that are hard to get at. Look for sprays that not only repel water and dirt, but also protect against grime and moisture.
Now that your trailer is fully dry and all maintenance issues have been addressed, you’re ready to move it into winter storage.