Summer has arrived, and Minnesotans like you, are ready to get out on the lake for some summer fun. Whether you’re towing your boat to the cabin or planning on boating on that lake down the street, there are some essential maintenance checks you should do before hitting the road. If it’s been a while since you’ve checked and maintained your boat trailer, then these 5 checks will come in handy to ensure a safe and fun summer on the lake.
Check your trailer lights
Did you know that driving with faulty trailer lights can get you a hefty fine? Not only that, but your lights are a safety measure to let other vehicles know that you’re carrying a boat and to keep a safe distance. After sitting all winter, your trailer lights may be worse for wear. We recommend checking for dimming, flickering, or lights that aren’t working at all. Older trailers have bulbs that can burn out and need replacing. While you’re there checking your lights, it’s always a good idea to check your connection to your towing vehicle. Our winter weather can corrode or rust the metal pins so you’ll want to make sure this is in working order. You can always purchase a connection cover at your local auto parts store to protect your connection all year round.
Check the Boat Trailer brakes
Most states require that your trailer has brakes on at least one axle. If your trailer weighs over 3,000 lbs, it will start to swerve if you’re relying solely on your towing vehicle breaks – which can be a safety hazard. Over the winter, moisture and debris can build up on your brakes so the first order of business is to clean your brakes to make sure there is no dirt or debris. Next you’ll want to check your brake pads for any wear and tear. Lastly, you’ll want to check your brake fluid levels. If you notice any wear and tear, your local auto mechanic can help with brake pad replacement.
Check your wheel bearings
Moisture and our freezing temps can corrode your wheel bearings. Left unchecked, bad wheel bearings can prevent your wheels from turning properly which can result in accidents. You’ll want to check your wheel bearings for rust and grease them to make sure they are in working order. While you’re there checking, it’s a good idea to install wheel bearing covers (if you don’t already have them) which can protect them from moisture in every season.
Boat Trailer tires
Improperly inflated tires can be a safety issue while towing your boat. You’ll want to check to make sure your tires are properly inflated before hitting the road. Inflate them to the rating found on the side of your tires or on your trailer capacity sticker – typically at least 60 psi. While you’re down there inflating your tires, you’ll want to check for and tread wear and tear. Most manufacturers recommend replacing your tires every 6 years – so if it’s been a while since you last replaced them your local auto mechanic can help. One last thing to check? Your spare tire. Make sure it is inflated properly, and if you don’t have one, be sure to have one mounted on your trailer just in case.
Check your safety chain
Your safety chain should crisscross underneath the trailer tongue and attach to your vehicle for support (if your trailer becomes unhitched). Check that your chain is in good condition and is ready to go when you hit the road. These 5 checks will ensure your safety as you tow your boat to the lake for some summer fun. And if these checks reveal any issues that need attention, our team is ready to help and get you back on the lake in no time.