Boat Trailer Checklist
Your Boat Trailer Will Always Be Ready to Go with This Easy Maintenance Guide
For those who store their boat on dry land, or who might like to tow their boat to a favourite inland lake, the boat trailer is an essential piece of equipment. To properly tow and launch your boat, the trailer must be in excellent shape. That’s why we’ve created this checklist for the care and keeping of your boat trailer.
As with any vehicle, always check to make sure your trailer is legal and ready for the road.
- Check to make sure registration is current
- Check to make sure the boat load doesn’t exceed 85% of rated trailer capacity
- Check to make sure the trailer plus boat load doesn’t exceed 85% of towing vehicle capacity
Physical Condition of Trailer
Lubrication is key for a safe and secure trailer. When in doubt, have your trailer checked by a reputable professional.
- Check for corrosion and broken welds
- Check all rollers and pads for wear. Ensure proper support for the boat
- Check and lubricate wheel bearings as needed
- Check and lubricate winch as needed
- Check tongue jack and wheel and lubricate as needed
- Check tongue lock and lubricate as needed
Tires and Bearings
Trailer tires go from long trips on hot asphalt and backroads to cool water, making them prone to wear and cracking. Always check tires for wear periodically.
- Inspect tire guard and fender
- Check tire pressure
- Check tire wear and ensure they have adequate tread > 1/4 inch
- Check that lugs are properly tightened and lubricated
- Check for a spare and ensure spare is road-ready
- Check that bearings have been replaced within manufacturer guidelines
Trailer Hook Up
The ball, coupler, tie down straps and safety chains must always be completely secured to ensure safety on the road.
- Check that the trailer ball matches coupler size and is securely engaged. The jack should not be able to lift the coupler off the ball
- Check that the trailer ball is properly torqued
- Check that the ball mount is secure in the receiver tube with either a hitch pin or lock
- Check that the coupler latch is locked and secure via hitch pin or lock
- Check that the trailer jack is fully retracted
- Check that safety chains are hooked up and crisscrossed beneath the coupler. This will keep the coupler from hitting the road in case of an accident
- Check that all tie down straps are in good shape and secured
If your trailer is equipped with brakes, you’ll need to check the brake fluid as often as you’d check the brake fluid levels on your main vehicle.
- Check brake lines from actuator to brake clusters
- Check brake fluid level
- Check for proper operation when connected to the towing vehicle
- Check running lights on vehicle and trailer
- Check brake lights on vehicle and trailer
Electronics and Connections
It’s essential that the trailer lights and electronics are working properly. Take a few moments at the start of every trip to ensure your turn signals and running lights are operating.
- Check condition of wiring for corrosion, cuts, etc.
- Check that grounding circuit is properly attached
- Check wire harness and tow vehicle socket
- Check that the electrical plug is secure and firmly in the vehicle’s socket
- Check turn signals on vehicle and trailer
- Check that the breakaway switch cable is securely attached to vehicle
- Check that break control is working and adjusted to the trailer’s weight
To make sure your trailer is in top-notch condition, always take the time to give your trailer a thorough check. This is particularly important at the beginning, middle and end of the season, or after a long trip. Lastly, always raise your boat engine and ensure all your onboard gear is secure before you drive away. Doing this basic check will give you the peace of mind to tow and launch your boat with confidence.
At Van Isle Marina, we provide completely secure moorage with annual, monthly and guest options. Conveniently located in sunny Sidney, BC, we’re just a quick cruise away from a variety of fantastic destinations. With amenities like storage lockers, car parking, and a full-service marine fueling station and dock store, you’ll find everything you’ll need to start and end your trip. Come down and see us, or request services/moorage information at (250) 656-1138 or by email.