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Proper Boat Trailer Maintenance

Proper Trailer Maintenance

Maintaining a trailer is simple, but if you don't take care of the little things, you could be in for a big letdown.

Your trailer should give you years of service, but you do have to perform periodic maintenance to keep it working properly.

A freshwater rinse after every dunking will keep critical trailer components like brakes and springs from rusting away prematurely. A quarterly spray with corrosion inhibitor on your springs, brakes, wheel lugs and other steel parts will prevent corrosion.

Boat trailers live in two notoriously hostile environments: on the highway and in the water. That means regular maintenance — especially of bearings, brakes, and wiring — is crucial to keep them safe and legal. Tires are a critical component, too, and should be stamped with an "ST" classification, for "special trailer." Dedicated trailer tires are more durable and resist abrasion and impact better than passenger "P" tires or light-truck "LT" tires; they also bounce less. Make sure the tire is neither over inflated nor under-inflated, and that the weight on the trailer doesn't exceed its capacity. Divide the trailer's total gross weight (measure it at a public weigh station) by the number of tires. Towing your trailer with the frame level and parallel to the road is important especially with tandem or triple torsion axles.

Maintaining Trailer Brakes

Disc brakes offer more stopping power. Most states require brakes to be fitted on trailers with a gross weight over 3,000 pounds. Many experts recommend them on trailers rated for 1,500 pounds and above. Trailer