Getting Ready to Hit the Road

Getting Ready to Hit the Road
Axles in this condition are a huge liability and should not be trusted.

Spring is here and time to get the rig ready to travel. Let's talk boat trailers and some of the things to inspect and upgrade. Running lights and wiring top the list, along with tire condition, inflation, valve stems, and lug nuts. Remove lug nuts and inspect for corrosion. Reinstall and/or replace as necessary, always to manufacturer’s torque specs. Don’t forget the spare. Jack up the wheels and spin the hubs to detect scraping or grinding noises. Anything but a slight “whirring” sound can indicate a problem. 

The winch and strap, tie-down and safety chains, and also the hitch coupler deserve careful inspection. Most important are trailer jacks and axles. Make sure the jack retaining pin seats through the base plate by 1/4 inch minimum when fully seated.

Older trailers have leaf springs, newer models have torsion suspension. Another consideration is wheel hubs; newer designs are far superior in many ways.

Life expectancy of axles in saltwater typically runs about seven years. Consider replacement no matter what you see. Axles corrode from the inside out, and it’s what you cannot see that poses the biggest problems. Retrofitting with torsion axles is usually a bit more expensive but the improved ride and fewer moving parts provide superior service in the long run.

Have a great spring, and let's all practice greater conservation to help our fisheries recover.

Chris Mapp
Coastal Bend Marine | Port O’Connor, TX | 361-983-4841