Preparing for Long-term Storage

November is a great time of year to spend time on the water, the fishing can be great when the weather is right. However, hunting season is upon us and unless youre a coastal duck hunter you will probably be storing your boat for a few months.

Besides all the regular things I have discussed here when it comes to preparing your boat for storage; i.e. - fuel treatment, engine fogging, applying Corrosion X Red to powerhead and battery connections, thorough engine flushing, complete washing, leaving hatches open, wiping dust off battery tops to stop electrical current draw between the posts, setting battery selector to OFF position, disconnecting negative cables, storing with bow elevated and engine straight down, and never storing boat with battery maintainer plugged in, etc., there is more. Every item on this list is understandable and has been discussed in detail in prior articles, but there are two things we have not yet discussed and they are essential.

Jack up your trailer and spin the tires to listen for noise any noise. A slight whirring or any gravely-grinding type noise is not positive. There should be nothing readily audible; just the swish of air in the tires tread. Rotation should be smooth and the tire should coast to a smooth stop after a healthy spin. Next grab the tires at 12 oclock and 6 oclock and try rocking them. If you feel any movement at all, even slight, it is time for wheel bearing service. You have just checked the bearing end play or lateral movement of the bearings in the races and there should be NONE!

When servicing bearings, never do just one, do them all.

The last item before long term storage is checking tire inflation. It will probably surprise you how low they are most the time. Pressure should be 45 psi on average, write this number down to compare later. Inspect the tires for small cracks where the tire meets the wheel; this would be a sign of dry rot and means this tire needs to be replaced.

If your trailer is equipped with aluminum wheels and the outside of the wheel has dull patches, this is probably oxidation and the concern here is the inside of the wheel rim where the tire bead seals. This oxidation will allow air to leak and the only cure is to replace the wheels, there is no maintenance to stop this process and this usually occurs about every 5 to 7 years.

Remember its not just how you leave your boat; its the condition it is in and how it looks when you come back.

Enjoy an awesome fall season,

Chris Mapp

Coastal Bend Marine
Port OConnor, TX
361 983 4841