Boat Trailer Maintenance

Boat Trailer Maintenance

Trailer maintenance and repair is a staple at our store, but just about the time you think you have seen it all is when you let your guard down. When doing an annual service, we spin the wheels to listen for bearing noise, test end play, check tire inflation, test the lights, and confirm the brakes are functioning.

We ran across a trailer recently where the brakes did not work due to lengthy saltwater exposure and its highly-detrimental effect on metal components, including galvanized and stainless steel.

When removing the calipers for replacement, one of the bolts on the caliper mounting bracket stripped and pulled some of the metal (threads) from the backing plate. We examined the hole and believed tapping new threads would solve the problem. It did not!

The bolt went in tight, yet after a few long runs, the threads did not retain the bolt allowing the caliper to float freely and, when braking, dislodged from the mounting surface on one end. The force of braking caused the cast steel caliper to break in two.

We now only replace caliper mounting plates when a frozen bolt removes any amount of metal, and we use new mounting hardware. The experience is a teachable moment for even the most seasoned repair shop.

Looking at the threads, one would never suspect a lack of material, yet the experience indicated differently.

Have a great fall fishing and boating season, and be safe!

Thank you,
Chris Mapp
Coastal Bend Marine | Port O’Connor, TX | 361-550-3637