What to Check for During a Boat Trailer Safety Inspection
Boat trailers are used to transport your boats from your home and to the lake, where they will be used. Before taking any trip, however, it is important to inspect your boat trailer parts to ensure that they are safe and in working condition. The following are key areas that must be part of every inspection schedule:
1. Drum brakes
The drums brakes should be inspected once a year to ensure the padding is sufficient, and replaced if necessary. Most trailers have traditional drum brakes, but more modernized models have disc brakes for additional stability. Repairs related to brake systems will mostly entail pad replacement. However, the brake fluid should also be routinely checked and topped up to ensure proper working.
Inspect trailer tyres to ensure that they are properly inflated and that they aren't worn out – confirm that they have enough tread, and replace them if the tread has worn thin. Under-inflated tyres wear out faster and cause inefficiencies that result in lower gas mileages.
Because trailer tyres are prone to oxidation, replacement every 3-5 years is recommended, even if they seem fine. You should also look out for signs of rotting and presence of gouges and/or bubbles in the rubber, all of which indicate that the tyres need replacing.
Many boat owners do not appreciate the importance of having functioning trailer lights, especially if you will be travelling at night. Prior to setting out, check all warning signals and replace all worn and/or busted lights. In addition, ensure that your light signals, e.g. brake lights, are responsive according to the trailer's movement.
Confirm that the axle and frame of the trailer are not rusty or worn to ensure they can sufficiently support the weight of your boat. Look around and fix any loose nuts or bolts, replace any that were dislodged during a previous trip and tighten the loose ones. This should not only be done once before the trip, but also as often as you stop over during long drives.
5. Bearings and hubs
Confirm that your trailer parts include bearing protectors, which are metallic caps which use sprints to hold down grease under pressure. This in turn eliminates penetration of water into the hub when the trailer is submerged. If you don't have bearing protectors, consult your manufacturer's manual to find out how to clean the frame following submersion. In addition, keep them lubricated to prevent corrosion.
For more information or to find replacement parts, visit a local boat trailer supply store, such as Transtyle Trailers.