Trailering is a common term with different uses. For boating, it is the practice of putting your vessel on a trailer for safekeeping or transportation. Unlike storing your boat in a marina or dry dock, trailering requires hands-on maintenance by the boat owner to ensure that the trailer lasts for a long time.
When you often transport your boat on land, there is a higher chance that both the vessel and the trailer will have some issues. Taking that into consideration, you should remember that proper trailer maintenance can help you prevent these unexpected problems.
Below are 4 tips you should follow to keep your trailer in good working condition:
1. Check for Bad Wheel Bearings
Wheel bearings are worn down over time. Because of this, you should make it a point to inspect their conditions regularly. Look out for grease forming around the wheel hub, grinding or squeaking noises, and spin resistance. Ideally, you should repack or reseal wheel bearings once annually.
2. Maintain Ideal Tire Air
Make sure that your trailer’s tires are properly inflated. Since they carry the weight of both the trailer and the boat, you should always ensure that they have just the right air PSI to avoid tire blow-outs and worn out bearings.
3. Avoid Tired Tires
Don’t let tires sit on the bare ground and exposed in the sun for extended periods of time. Make sure to check the tire stems regularly and monitor the tread depth to know when it is time for them to be replaced.
4. Inspect Everything Else
While tires play the most critical role in trailering, it is also imperative for boat owners to inspect everything else. Make sure that connections are secure and safety chains are fastened and in good condition. Tongue jacks must be well-lubricated and bunk carpeting are neither frayed nor torn.
Towing your trailer may pose a lot of risks for your boat which is why it is imperative that, as a boat owner, you know and understand the following best practices in safe towing:
1. Load and Hitch It Up Properly
Before towing, you should make sure that your boat is securely loaded. The secret to this is ensuring a balance in tongue weight. Take extra time to pack your boat into the trailer well to avoid needing costly repairs. After that, hitch up your trailer to your vehicle properly. Ensure that all connections are linked and safety chains crossing each other under the trailer’s tongue.
2. Leave Ample Stopping Distance
Make sure to allow enough distance between the trailer and the vehicle towing it. This way, your trailer has enough space to move once your vehicle stops after a speedy acceleration.
3. Anticipate Changes in the Road
Once you’re on the road, there are certain practices you can follow to avoid accidents. Remember that you have a trailer attached to your vehicle, so you should be quick at anticipating changes in traffic like stops, acceleration, and change of lanes.
4. Watch Out for Trailer Sway
Since it is only a sort of extension of the vehicle you’re driving, your trailer might sway with every lane change or stops you do. With that in mind, make sure that you monitor your trailer’s movements, especially sways that can cause it to bump into another vehicle or stationary objects on the side of the road.
5. Be Patient
Sometimes, having to drive slowly can cause you to be impatient. Make sure to control your emotions. This way, you should be able to avoid road conflicts and accidents.
6. Back Up the Trailer Safely
Backing up can be a bit tricky when towing a trailer since it doesn’t have a means to be steered. Because of this, you might need to look over your shoulder as your rear mirror view may be blocked by the trailer. The key is to make wide initial turns slowly to allow the trailer to follow the towing vehicle. Avoid jackknifing the trailer at all cost.