If you’re getting ready to store your boat trailer for the winter, it’s important that you don’t leave any problems unattended, as they could go from bad to worse during the months your trailer is left sitting. In order to perform needed maintenance and repairs, you must first inspect your trailer from top to bottom in search of potential problem areas.
At a glance your trailer might not appear to have any major issues, but even a small problem could be exacerbated by cold winter temperatures, even if you utilize enclosed storage space like your garage or a shed. Just sitting for months could make small problems bigger.
You wouldn’t put your boat into winter storage without a thorough inspection and you should apply the same principle to your trailer if you want it to last for years to come. Here’s what you need to look for when inspecting your trailer before storing it for the winter.
There are several points to any vehicle inspection, and it’s best to start with the parts that are most likely to suffer the wear and tear of usage. On your trailer, this might include the bunks, guides, jack, tongue, winch, and so on.
Look for damage or wear that calls for repair or replacement. It’s much better to deal with these problems as part of the winterization process, instead of getting hung up when you’re all set to head out for a day of boating next summer.
You’ll also want to check any metal parts for wear related to the materials used, such as rust on steel parts or corrosion on aluminum. These issues can worsen with time, especially when your trailer is exposed to damp, cold winter conditions.
Tires and Assembly
The tires themselves may be worn or suffer from issues like slow leaks. You can easily spot such issues with a quick inspection that includes checking the air pressure. This way tires can be patched or you can think about replacing them before the next boating season.
You should, of course, check the entire assembly, spinning the tires to check for unusual sounds like grating. This is an ideal time to grease the wheels, as well. Even if there are no suspicious noises, proper maintenance dictates that you do this regularly to keep the bearings and assembly in good working order.
Lights and Connectors
Not everyone is comfortable dealing with electrical components, so you might want to hand this task off to an experienced professional. If you’re okay doing it on your own, though, there are a couple of steps you can take to winterize.
First, you should pull apart light fixtures to make sure no water has gotten inside. If there is moisture, you should dry the fixtures and replace seals. As for connectors, they should also be dried and treated with electrical grease, and then capped.
Nuts and Bolts
Your trailer can take some pretty heavy jostling, and this can loosen the nuts and bolts that hold your rig together. Check nuts and bolts from top to bottom to make sure they’re secure before putting your trailer on blocks for the winter.