Buying and Maintaining a Boat Trailer
The most important thing to look for when buying a boat trailer is the trailer's certification. This certification by the National Marine Manufacturers Association is a very good starting point at getting a quality trailer. It specifies the requirements for all aspects of the trailer, and to gain this certification, the trailer must get an acceptable rating in all categories.
Many boaters make the mistake of spending a lot of money on a boat, and then going cheap on the trailer. This isn't a smart move, and a cheap trailer will almost never withstand the test of time. To get the most out of your boat, you need to be able to get the most out of your trailer. Please, spend the money now on a quality trailer that will last twice as long as a cheaper unit.
It is also important to remember that the bigger the wheels, the better. Bigger wheels mean less rotations per mile, which in turn leads to less heat and friction on the tires, and longer life of the bearings. Towing
If you lack the experience of pulling a boat behind you, you need to educate yourself on the task. You need to know the towing capacity of your vehicle, which can be found in your vehicle's owner's manual. Pickups and SUV's will almost always be up to the task, but check out the owner's manual just to be sure.
- Things to check on the boat trailer before making a trip
Don't tow your boat trailer before you check these things:
- Coupler, hitch, and hitch ball are all the same size - Safety chains attached - No loose bolts - Boat properly mounted on trailer - Wheel lugs are all tight - Wheel bearings operate smoothly - Overall load doesn't go past vehicle's towing capacity - Tires have the proper PSI - All lights and light functions are working properly
Maintaining your trailer
The most critical part of maintaining your boat trailer is, by far, looking after the hubs and bearings. Think about it. They are being submerged in water every time you put your boat in the water. Water is a bearing's worst enemy, and you have to keep a close eye on these things to be sure that no rust is making it hard for them to operate. Keep these parts greased and sealed to keep that water out. Lights also have to deal with water, and these should always be checked just to make sure everything works properly. Have a buddy stand behind the trailer and operate the lights to make sure everything works as it should. If used in salt water, rinse the boat off with fresh water after use. Salt can tear up all parts of a boat trailer. If these things are followed, your trailer will last much longer and give you years of service.