It is estimated that nine out of every 10 trailer malfunctions and accidents are the result of neglect and inadequate preventative trailer maintenance. It's not that people don't care whether or not their trailers are in working order; it's just that boat trailers are not that glamorous, and when put next to the boat itself, they often take a backseat on the maintenance schedule.
The truth is that taking proper care of your boat trailer really does not take a whole lot of time and attention. And taking as little as a few minutes each time you get ready to hit the road can save you from disaster. Just think about it this way, a boat trailer is the only thing between your precious boat and the road. Shouldn't you take a few extra minutes to make sure your boat is safe?
Here's what to check for:
Wheels and Suspension.
Before taking off, make sure to check your tire pressure and that of the spare tire. Check the lug nuts to make sure they're tight. Visually inspect the suspension undercarriage for signs of rust, pitting, or cracking. If you see a problem, get it fixed right away or you may find your boat kissing the road.
If your trailer is equipped with electronic trailer brakes, make sure that they are working properly. When hauling heavier boats, your tow vehicle's brakes may not be enough to stop your boat.
Always keep a replacement supply of boat lights on hand so that you can replace them during your pre-trip inspection if they are found to be not working. While a trailer light may not cost you your boat or your life, it will cost you money in fines if you are caught.
Winch Straps and Transom Tie Downs. Always check these straps for signs of fraying or damage. Having all of these harnesses in proper working order can save your boat from sustaining unnecessary shock during transport. This shock can lead to structural damage.
Bearings need to be inspected and greased regularly. Doing so can help you avoid trailer-related malfunctions and allow for an easier tow.
Bunks and Rollers.
Visually inspect the bunk and roller for scratching and gashing. Check the carpeting for tears and patch or replace when necessary. Also you must grease the rollers occasionally to ensure smooth movement.
As you can see it does not take a great deal of time to give a little bit of extra attention to your boat trailer. And doing so can save you a great deal of money, hassles and heartache in the end. Just finding one of these problems and fixing it early can keep you from disaster and just may even save your boat.
In addition to keeping your boat safe, a trailer in proper working order also keeps other travelers safe. And that is the number one reason why you should not forget to inspect your boat trailer before each and every trip.