Boat Trailer Maintenance Tips for COVID-19 Lockdown
by Mashum Mollah Automotive 29 May 2020
Finding new destinations is all part of the lifestyle of a boat owner. It is critical that we have the right trailer. Most significant, however, is the maintenance of the boat trailer.
This is particularly true if you always visit new destinations, or if you are required to keep your boat trailer in storage due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
Maintenance can take some time and effort, but ensuring that your trailer is in good shape and that you and your boat can arrive at your destination in good order, is a vital safeguard.
Below are essential pre-storage maintenance tips for your boat trailer that you should know about.
Wash it Down to Prevent Corrosion
Salt water is naturally corrosive to steel trailers and corrosion is lethal. Or rather, it’ll be, if after every trip you don’t wash your trailer off.
Rust has a dangerous propensity to turn up in small spaces on steel trailers. Regular checks of all parts will highlight issues before the problem spreads, so make sure you check your trailer frequently and pay close attention to joins, bolts, and welds.
Any sign of cracking should be addressed immediately. Similarly, all rear components (the end that gets dipped into the water) should be studied closely.
Place the trailer on a jack if possible so that you can check underneath it. Don’t forget to look at all components such as brakes and callipers inside and out.
Trailers made from aluminium, especially those made by Lucca Trailers from New Zealand, are far more corrosion resistant than conventional steel trailers. They do need maintenance however, so pay careful attention to potential cracking.
Because of the salt and sand, rollers and runners may stick or degrade. Give them a good rinse again, and replace if excessive wear is noticeable.
I wear on one side is more pronounced than the other side, then the rollers may need to be changed.
You should pay particular attention to the washing if you intend to keep your boat trailer in storage for a few months so that you don’t meet a rusted hunk of steel when you eventually decide to take the boat and trailer out.
Dry it Off Properly
Your next move is a very critical one after washing your boat trailer. It is time to dry it off. Grab some super-absorbent microfiber towels, open up all the drainage holes, and make sure you leave no moisture behind.
Your boat and trailer must be 100% dry for those long months to prevent mould and rust from getting any foothold.
Proper Tyre Inflation
In order to reduce the maintenance costs, you can invest in good tyres. The tyres help you move around and they should be in good working order.
When you have the wrong PSI, worn-out bearings, or a blown-out tyre on the trailer, this will cause you preventable trouble.
Two types of boat trailer tyres are available. They are radial and bias-ply sidewalls.
Radial tyres are more costly, but the advantages they provide include supporting heavier loads, reducing road-noise, and mitigating heat build-up.
Bias-ply sidewall tyres are more cost-effective and stiffer, and ideal for short trips.
Regardless of whether you are investing in brand new tires or not, you should definitely ensure that your tires are properly inflated prior to storage. This will ensure that your boat trailer is standing properly and that one side is not taking too much more weight than the other.
Maintain the Axle
The trailer and boat are pretty heavy to pull around, so you should check and properly maintain the axle. Since it comes into contact with water and is vulnerable to rust and corrosion, you should protect it proactively.
You can scrape off surface rust with a wire brush if you find any bubbling paint or rust stains on your axle. The use of a rust inhibitor and the application of topcoats help to prevent rust on most metals.
If the rust has grown deeper into the metal, then the axle should be replaced.
Invest in Trailer Covers
When your trailer is clean, dry, in place and protected, cover it cleanly and carefully with a suitable trailer cover or the next best thing.
The cover offers protection, a layer of insulation, and hopefully will prevent dust and dirt from finding their way in. This is especially relevant if you’re planning to store your boat outside for a long period of time.
Lastly, secure your boat and trailer properly, whether it’s for the lockdown period or just for the weekend.
Several trailer anti-theft tools, such as wheel clamps and locks, are available, as are advanced GPS, but hopefully, you won’t need these.