In between your regularly scheduled boat and trailer maintenance, the Team here at Affordable Marine Service recommends keeping an eye on these common areas of your trailer for any possible problems down the road.
HITCH: Check to see that the receiver locking mechanism is well lubricated. If lubrication is required, we suggest a product like Corrosion Block (or similar). This needs to be checked a minimum of twice a year.
WINCH ASSEMBLY: The ‘winch’ is the mechanism which is used to assist in pulling your boat up on the trailer. It is also used to ‘launch’ your boat as well. Meaning it is a critical component to safely trailering your boat both to as well as from the launch ramp.
There are basically two different types of winch assemblies. One uses a nylon “strap”. If you have this “strap” type of an assembly, check for fraying of the nylon itself. If there are any signs of fraying, now is the time to either cut back (trim) the nylon strap and re-attach the “D-Ring” hook.
The second type makes use of a metal “cable” to attach the ‘D Ring’. Check to see if the “cable” shows any signs of being rusted, corroded or if it too is fraying. If this is the case, shorten (as mentioned in the “strap” situation) or replace the cable entirely.
The lever that “cranks” the wich should be firmly attached to the winch assembly and the handle should be free turning and void of cracking, etc.
Also insure that the finger operated “forward/reverse” lever operates as it should. And lastly, also make sure you have a Safety Chain that attaches the trailer to the Bow Eye of the boat. There is no such thing as being too secure.
BUNKS: The “bunks” are the carpeted platforms (usually made of wood and covered in indoor/outdoor carpet) that the boat sits on while on the trailer. And these must be in good condition to insure your boat slides easily on and off the trailer.
Check to see if the carpet as well as the bunk itself is in good condition, as well as firmly attached in the proper location for your boat.
If there are any missing attachment bolts, it is usually the result of the “hole” for the lag screw being stripped in the wood. A quick remedy to this is in some instances you can move the bunk “one-way” or “the other” enough to get a new “bite” in the wood. If that isn’t an option, then replacement of the bunk itself is required.
TIRES: Check for proper inflation as well as any excessive or improper wear and tear. Under or over inflation can lead to numerous tire problems. Also check for “dry rot”, “cracks” in the sidewalls and “or dried out spots”. As they say, your tires are truly where “the rubber meets the road” and play an extremely critical part in a great towing experience. Don’t forget your “spare” as well. Hopefully you won’t need it but you can bet that if you don’t have one, you’ll end up needing one.
BEARINGS: With a floor jack, lift each wheel off the ground. Remove the drums/hubs to inspect bearing for a lack of grease, possible pitting or excessive wear. Replace as necessary. Also be sure cotter pins are in and bent over after reassembly. If you have “Buddy Bearings” (greasable bearing caps) installed on your drums or hubs, then be sure to grease these as well after reassembly.
LIGHTS: Check the plug-in connection from your tow vehicle to your trailer. This should come apart as well as slide together quite easily. If not, then check for corrosion or any other obvious issues. This is critical to lights that work well.
Once plugged in to your tow vehicle, check all the lights on your trailer. From running lights to brake lights to turn signals. Even your license plate light is a critical piece to a pleasant trailering experience. Repair or replace as necessary. Be sure to seal coat all connections to prevent premature corrosion.
TRAILER FRAME: Look for various areas of rust and address those areas as necessary. Sand, primer and paint any rusty spots to prevent any further spread of corrosion. Look for any bent areas (fenders and leaf springs are the most common areas) causing tires to rub and or wheels to run out of alignment. Again, insure that all your tires are properly inflated. Even your spare.
SUSPENSION: Any broken or badly worn leaf springs, shackles, U-bolts etc. will need to be replaced immediately. They will not support the weight of a boat and just because you “made it home” last trip out doesn’t mean you’ll make it to the launch ramp this time. Better safe than sorry, that’s for certain.
BRAKE RESERVOIR AND LINES: Check your hydraulic brake lines for any leaks. Brakes should be serviced a minumum once a year if used in salt water. Replace any severely corroded brake parts. Lug nuts or bolts should have a coating of marine grease to help insure ease of removal should the need arrise. Remove wheels and brakes once a year and give them a complete inspection.
Many of these items are do it yourself type things but for those that either don’t have the time nor the desire to deal with these items, please feel free to contact the Team at Affordable Marine Trailer Service, either direct by phone @ 619.578.5979 or through email via this form below.
We’ll quickly address any questions or concerns you may have and if so desired, schedule an appointment for an inspection as well as having any necessary trailer maintenance performed.