Make Trailer Maintenance a Priority

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A fun and enjoyable day on the water begins with arriving to the lake safely. When towing a powerboat, or any trailered vessel, it’s important to inspect and perform routine maintenance on your trailer before hitting the road to your favorite boating destination. Use these tips to ensure towing safety:

Check your vehicle’s towing capacity: Every vehicle capable of towing has a maximum amount of weight that vehicle can safely pull. Verify the weight of your vessel does not exceed the towing capacity of the vehicle.

Inspect all tires: Visually inspect your trailer tires for signs of cuts, excessive wear, and foreign objects like nails. Confirm that all tires are in good shape before checking the tire pressure. Make sure your trailer tires are inflated to the manufacturers’ specs located on the tire sidewall.

Inspect lug nuts and wheel bearings: Check to make sure all lug nuts are tight with a lug wrench, and visually inspect that all wheel bearings are functioning properly. Make sure to frequently grease your bearings and ensure no bearings are getting overly hot after use.

Trailer straps: Perform a full walk-around inspection of your vessel’s connection to the trailer. Confirm the safety chain, winch strap, and transom straps are in good condition. Make sure the vessel is securely strapped to the trailer.

Brake fluid: If your boat trailer contains electric brakes, or another braking mechanism, visually inspect the brakes and confirm the brake fluid is full. Brake fluid reservoirs are often located on the trailer tongue just behind the coupler.

Inspect the trailer hitch: Inspect the coupler and hitch components on the trailer to confirm proper working order. Ensure the hitch ball on the tow vehicle is securely fastened to the truck. After connecting the trailer to the truck hitch, hook up all safety chains, brake cables, and lights.

Lights and turn signals: Before hitting the road, check to make sure all trailer lights and signals are working. Begin by turning your lights on and doing a visual inspection of all running lights, then proceed to check all signals. Repeat this process for the tow vehicle.

Carry a toolkit: Any tools needed to perform your standard trailer maintenance should be placed in a designated location in the tow vehicle. Make sure to always travel with the designated tools to solve any situation you may encounter on the way to the water.

Arriving to the lake safely is the number one priority, and that begins with taking the time to inspect your trailer. Please use caution and the necessary safety gear when performing any type of maintenance. To learn more about trailer maintenance, safety, and towing, please visit Boat on Course. Happy Boating!