As the weather warms up, you may be ready to get out there and enjoy the summer. From baseball games to backyard BBQs, enjoying the outdoors is a must for summer. Like many Minnesotans, you may be getting ready to tow that boat to the cabin or to the nearest lake across town. But before you hook your trailer up and hit the road, it’s important to do some safety checks and perform maintenance to ensure a safe arrival to your destination. If you’ve been wondering what kinds of maintenance your boat trailer needs, then keep reading as we unpack 6 maintenance tips for your boat trailer this summer.
Inspect your trailer lights
Your trailer lights are a safety feature that lets other drivers know that you are carrying a boat and to keep a safe distance. In addition, driving your trailer with faulty lights can get you a hefty fine – so it’s always a good idea to check on those lights every time you hook up your trailer. One thing you’ll want to check is the connection on your towing vehicle. Our winter elements can cause the metal pins in the connection to corrode or rust. You’ll want to make sure your connection is in working order – and for future protection install a connection cover (available at any auto parts store) when you’re not towing your boat.
Check your tires on the boat trailer
Problems with your tires can lead to safety hazards, or even leaving you stranded on the side of the road. The first thing you’ll want to check is the air pressure in your tires. Improperly inflated tires can result in a safety concern or a flat by the side of the road. Your trailer tires will naturally lose 1-2 pounds of air pressure each month, so it’s important to check your air pressure after a long winter. You’ll want to inflate your tires to the maximum rating which will be listed on the tire or the trailer capacity sticker which is typically 60 psi or more. While you’re down there checking the air pressure, you’ll also want to inspect your tires for wear & tear, and for any damage to the tire rims. If you notice any issues, you’ll want to get these replaced as soon as possible.
Inspect your brakes
Most trailers are required to have brakes on at least one axle, which ensures safety for you and other drivers while towing your boat. If your trailer weighs more than 3,000 lbs, using just your towing vehicle brakes can result in swerving and potential accidents. Before you get out on the road this summer, you’ll want to clean your brakes to ensure they are free from dirt and debris. Over time, your brake pads can experience wear so you’ll want to inspect your brake pads as well. If you notice it’s time for new brake pads, any auto mechanic can replace these for you. Lastly, you’ll want to check your brake fluid levels and fill to the proper level.
Check your wheel bearings for the Boat trailer
Your wheel bearings are essential to safe trailer operation all summer long. Your wheel bearings are susceptible to the winter elements and can corrode and rust due to moisture. Corroded wheel bearings will prevent your wheels from turning properly which can result in accidents. You’ll want to inspect your wheel bearings for corrosion. It’s always a good idea to install wheel bearing protectors, if you don’t already have them, to prevent moisture and corrosion all year long. You’ll also want to grease your wheel bearings to keep your wheels performing at their best.
Check your bunk rollers
Plan on inspecting your bunk rollers after a long winter. Make sure they are in good condition and can support the hull – otherwise this can cause scratches and damage to your hull.
Inspect your safety chain
Your safety chain should crisscross underneath your trailer tongue and attach to your vehicle for support – should your vehicle become unhitched. Inspect for any damage and make sure this is in working order.
These 6 maintenance tips will help you enjoy a safe and fun summer on the water. If you find any items that need replacing or a closer look, we’re happy to help. Simply call to make an appointment for your trailer and we’ll get you back on the water in no time.