Caring For Boat Trailers
Buying is basically a matter of ensuring that the trailer and the boat are matched in size, and that the trailer is adequately proofed against corrosion. But make sure a dealer does not fit a smaller-sized trailer to save money. That could void a boat's warranty. The hand winch wire should be strong enough for the job and any electric winch should be able to be wound by hand if necessary. Make sure safety chains are fitted in case the coupling lets go, and check that the trailer is balanced with the boat on board.
Once you get the trailer home, you tend to forget that it will require maintenance. Often boat owners don't carry a spare trailer wheel, and launch their boat as quickly as possible without letting the wheels cool down. The wheels contract when the cold water covers them, and take in a small amount of salt water. The return run at high speed, multiplied by a few weekends, finishes off the bearings. And so on. Treat the trailer well, with rust stoppers and non-drying lubricants. Give the springs and bearings particular attention.
For best results, turn the trailer over so you can get at every part. Remove the split pins and axles of all the rubber rollers. Grease the bearing surfaces of the bracket and use light oil on the axle/roller surface. This saves roller replacement. Springs should be soaked in grease or a preparation which sprays on and never sets hard. Extend the winch wire to its limits and oil it. It will last longer. If the wire begins to produce sharp ends it is time to replace it. Careful visual appraisal of the tyres and electrical wiring is well worthwhile.
More than half of trailer troubles come from mistreated wheel bearings. Grease and clean the wheel bearings, and make sure this is done twice a year if you do more than average distances. This should be done even more often if you regularly submerge the wheels. Better still, when you are launching the boat, run the trailer back only far enough to let the water lap onto the wheel rim.
I'm sure if you do your maintenance on a regular basis, you will save money on parts, and enjoy a trouble-free fishing experience.