Take Care Of Your Trailer
Published: Fall 2013
And it will take care of your boat.
Never use a bungee or stretchable line (such as polypropylene) for boat tie-downs. The boat will get loose and bounce off the trailer. Avoid overstretching bungees when tying down gear. Never stretch as far as it can go; that's the breaking point.
Trailers get twisted, bounced, and banged around, so naturally bolts may become loose. Once a year, I go around the trailer, when it's empty, and tighten every bolt nut on the framing and support brackets. I always find a dozen or so that require a few turns of the wrench.
Get an extra long one. It's a lot easier to back up, and gives plenty of room for the spare tire. Later, you can get a bigger boat and still keep the trailer. Trailer-tongue extensions are also sold as add-ons. Check to see that tongue load is OK.
I use a chain (with a keeper magnet for when not in use) to know how high the coupler should be for attaching to the ball.
When we're towing our boat, I like to stop after the first few miles, pull over on the side of the road where space permits, and do a safety recheck — to make sure everything is still fastened and connected properly or that we didn't forget any walk-around details on the initial go-around. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Block It Up
When your trailer sits idle for long periods, block the trailer off the ground. This will take the load off the tires and allow you to periodically spin the wheels to be certain grease is evenly distributed. This is especially important with oil-bath hubs.
If you have to leave a trailer on the side of the road during a sunny, hot summer day, place a board under the jackstand. When the temperature is in the upper 90s or above, asphalt turns soft. The jackstand may sink into the asphalt.
Most boat owners like to sport a clean rig. The trick is to get the cleaning and maintenance finished so you can maximize your time on the water.
A good rinse in fresh water protects your investment and helps defend against invasives.
Here's how to keep your boat trailer in top shape.