Proactive maintenance will help extend the life of your boat trailer and keep it out of the service shop, so you can enjoy your vessel for as long as possible. There are some tasks best left to the professionals, but there are plenty of projects that beginners can tackle. We’ve rounded up the basic steps to maintaining a boat trailer below. If you want more advice or need help with boat trailer maintenance, visit the experts at Norfolk Marine. Our dealership is located in Norfolk, Virginia, and we also serve those in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.
Be Proactive Against Corrosion
One common issue that boat trailer owners face is corrosion. Your best defense is to keep your boat trailer clean and dry. Try to wash it after each use, especially if you will be boating in salt water or polluted water. If you can, wash it off at the boat ramp. If this isn’t an option, try to swing by the nearest car wash. You also may need to wash your boat trailer when you return home depending on how much gunk it picked up on the road.
Once your boat trailer is cleaned, store it in a ventilated area to keep it dry. If you use a cover, check that air can still circulate under it. You’ll also want to check that it won’t sag and get water pooling in it.
If you ever do spot any rust, remove it right away. Then apply a preventative coating, such as a cold galvanizing compound.
Tend to the Tires
Some common trailer issues involve the tires, such as flats and blowouts. Start by using the right tires. Make sure they match the load requirement and are suited for your towing speed. Some tires cannot handle the heat created in sustained high-speed towing, so check that your tires can. All of the tires should be the same size and type to ensure the boat trailer tracks evenly. Once you notice a worn or damaged tire, replace it as soon as possible. You’ll also want to keep a spare packed on your ride just in case you encounter an issue on the road.
You’ll also want to inspect the tires before each trip. It’s better to catch issues in the comfort of your driveway than on the open highway! Measure the tire pressure to ensure it matches with the manufacturer recommendations. Inspect each tire for damage. Measure the tread to ensure there is enough to maintain traction with the road.
Tend to the Lights
Lights are a crucial part of safe trailering. Make sure they are secure to the boat trailer. Tie down any loose wires since they can flap around and suffer wear. If you notice any cracked or frayed wires, replace them as soon as possible. Use electrical grease to help protect the sockets and prevent corrosion.
If possible, mount your lights so that they can be removed before launching your boat. If the lights must be submerged during launching, you’ll want to unplug them from the vehicle and let them cool first to ensure they won’t break.
You’ll also want to test the lights every once in a while to make sure none of them have burned out. Enlist a buddy to help you. Connect your trailer to your tow vehicle, then have your friend watch while you check the running lights, turn signals, and brake lights. If you need to replace a bulb, consider waterproof LED lights. These will burn brighter, consume less power, and last longer than non-LED lights.
We hope you found this boat trailer maintenance guide helpful. If you need any help with your boat trailer, head over to Norfolk Marine! Our expert staff can answer questions, provide advice, and assist you with whatever you need. We welcome all of our customers throughout Virginia, including those coming from Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.