Let’s Talk Boat Trailers

Part of getting your fishing season underway should include making sure your boat trailer will provide a safe, legal, and trouble-free trip to the boat ramp. Folks who neglect their trailers often say, "I only go from the boat stall to the ramp," or "My boat is in a sling, we never use the trailer." Even if the trailer is only used occasionally, nobody wants a wheel to come off on the road or hear an axle snap turning a corner.

Annual Boat Trailer Maintenance Schedule:
  • Remove hubs, clean and inspect bearings, repack with marine grease (or replace), install new seals. When bearings are replaced, the outer races must also be replaced. For badly rusted hubs, replacing with new galvanized hubs that includes wheel studs, bearings and seals may be cheaper in the long run.
  • Inspect spindles for corrosion, cracks and grooving on bearing and seal surfaces.
  • Bearing Buddy wheel bearing covers are a must. Bearing Buddy is the only setup with positive spring pressure forcing grease to the bearings while keeping water out. The built-in grease level indicator tells you when you need grease and when the hub is full. Bearing covers without indicators make seal damage from over-greasing possible. Installing a rubber "bra" over the Bearing Buddy protects from road grime and saltwater.
  • Boat trailers that are parked most of the time are the worst for bearing corrosion.
  • Test all lights, clean all ground connections on tail lights.
  • Trailer ball coupler should be inspected for fit on the ball, coupler should be tight and level on trailer tongue.
  • Safety chains should be free from heavy corrosion and should always be crossed when towing. A hitch pin through the coupler latch is a must.
  • Trailers with leaf springs; inspect for corrosion (thick rust flakes) on spring leafs, mounting hardware, and also where the axle is welded to the spindle. Axles mainly rust and fail from inside out. Inspecting these areas can tell you what is happening inside. Axles rarely last longer than five years in saltwater.
  • Inspect winch strap for wear where hook attaches. Use a safety chain as back-up to the winch strap.
  • Trailer jack should be tested for smooth operation and safety pin inspected for fit. (Never trust a jack.)
  • Corrosion X HD (green) is great for protecting lug nuts, mounting/connecting hardware, trailer jacks, tail lights, and side-light mounting studs.
A new aluminum trailer with torsion axles and LED lighting is definitely the way to go today. Coastline Trailers in Seadrift, Specialty Aluminum Trailers in Victoria and McClain Trailers in Houston are all great builders.

Never let anyone ride in the boat while trailering. Never trust the boat trailer ahead on the highway. Grease is your best friend. Maintenance is easy and saves you money.

Chris Mapp
Coastal Bend Marine
Port O'Connor TX
Phone: 361-983-4841 - Fax: 361 983 4676
Email: [email protected]