As spring turns to summer, like many Minnesotans, you’re ready to get out there and enjoy one of our 10,000 + lakes. From water skiing to that leisurely evening boat ride, enjoying your summer on the lake is what we’ve been waiting for. But if you have a boat and need to tow it to your cabin or go fishing at that lake down the road, we’d like to say a collective “not so fast”. Your boat trailer needs some must-have maintenance before you can safely drive your boat to your favorite lake. If you’re not sure what maintenance checks your boat trailer needs, we’ve got you covered with our 5 must-have boat trailer maintenance checks.
Check your tires
One of the number one things you should inspect before hitting the road with your boat is your tires. Improperly inflated tires can be a real safety hazard or a headache if you get stranded by the side of the road. Tires will typically lose 1-2 pounds of air pressure per month, especially if your trailer has been sitting over the long winter. Inflate your tires to the maximum rating listed on your tires or your trailer capacity sticker – which is typically at least 60 psi. While you’re down there checking your air pressure, inspect your tires for any wear & tear, and your rims for any damage. Most manufacturers recommend trailer tire replacement every 6 years. You’ll also want to make sure your spare tire is inflated properly, and if you don’t have one yet, now is a great time to have one mounted.
Check your brakes
Most boat trailers have brakes installed for safe performance. If you don’t have brakes installed and your trailer weighs over 3,000 lbs, your trailer could swerve when using your towing vehicle brakes – which can cause an accident. If you do have brakes, you’ll want to inspect and then clean them of any dirt and debris that has built up over the winter. While you’re down there cleaning those brakes, you’ll also want to take a look at those brake pads, and inspect them for wear and tear. If you find any wear & tear, your local mechanic can replace them for you. Lastly, check your brake fluid to make sure it is filled to the proper level.
Check the boat trailer lights
Did you know that driving with faulty trailer lights can get you a hefty fine? Save yourself and your wallet the headache and check those lights before heading out. Inspect your lights for dimming, flickering, or simply lights that don’t work. Older trailers have light bulbs that burn out so if you notice any of these signs, be sure to have your mechanic replace your bulbs. While you’re at it, it’s a great idea to check your towing vehicle connection. Our winter weather can rust and corrode the metal pins causing your connection to malfunction. It’s a great idea to purchase a connection cover at any auto parts store to protect your connection in every season.
Check your wheel bearings on the boat trailer
Your wheel bearings can become rusted or corroded when exposed to moisture. Corroded wheel bearings can prevent your wheels from turning properly, cause friction, and a possible accident. Since your trailer has been sitting idle for a few months, inspect your wheel bearings for any corrosion and be sure to grease them for better performance. If you don’t already have one, plan on installing wheel bearing covers which can protect your wheel bearings all year long.
Check your safety chain
Your safety chain should crisscross underneath the trailer tongue and attach to your vehicle for support just in case your trailer and vehicle become unhitched. These 5 must-have checks will ensure your boat towing safety all season long. And if you discover your trailer needs some extra maintenance or replacements, our team is ready to help.