31. Trailering

By Tom Neale, 6/16/2005

By Tom Neale

1. Usually you first realize your trailer spring has broken when you look out the side view mirror and see smoke curling up from where your fender is cutting into your tire. Trailer springs frequently show surface rust early in their life, even if you spray them with fresh water and lubrication after each dunking. But inspect them regularly for signs of cracks or breaking or deep rust. Often the most difficult part of replacing them is freeing the rusted bolts. This may require heat which, depending on your skills and equipment, may require a professional.

2. I stabilize my wire splices for my lights with wire ties in a manner so that water will run out. That, plus rinsing every time in fresh water and liberal dozes of a water-dispersant lubrication product will help to keep corrosion from killing the system.

3. I prefer to disconnect the trailer lighting harness from the car before backing the trailer into the water. This avoids the possibility of shorting the car’s hot to ground when the lights go under. If disconnecting the lights would result in a safety issue (like someone needs to see that you’re backing up on the ramp and can’t figure it out unless he sees a back up light) then I’ll opt for leaving the lights connected.

4. Many people like to remove and grease critical bolts (such as lug nuts in the trailer wheel) with an anti-seize product. While this is a great idea for future maintenance, it requires extra care and observation to assure that the bolts don’t vibrate or work out with all that good grease in there.

5. The BoatUS Trailering Club puts out a magazine every two months with some excellent tips for trailer boating, including trailer maintenance. Check out in particular the Q & A with “The Trailer Guys” Mike Pellerin and George Knutsson. You can join by calling 800 245 6923 or from this BoatUS web site.

Go to www.tomneale.com for other tips and information

Copyright 2004-2005 Tom Neale