ALEXANDRIA, Va. - With the boating season now in full swing, the miles are starting to add up for the thousands of boaters and anglers trailering their boats and fishing rigs to their favorite waterway.
The BoatUS Trailering Club, which offers "Trailer Assist" roadside assistance for both disabled boat trailers and their tow vehicles, says if you want your trailer travels to remain trouble-free, now is the time to keep a close eye on your trailer for wear and damage.
So far this summer, the BoatUS 24-hour dispatch centers (800-391-4869) report the following top three reasons why boaters are requesting help, as well as some tips to ensure a smooth tow to the lake all summer long:
#1 Flat tires: Tires should be inspected before, during and after each trip, and inflated to proper PSI (usually 50 PSI). Having a spare in serviceable condition is key, along with a jack that works with your trailer (most vehicle jacks don't). Waiting to replace a tire that is worn or dry-rotted, or not properly inflated are sure-fire ways to disable a boat trailer quickly.
#2 Bearing problems: Bearings should be inspected, cleaned and repacked at least once a year - more if you boat in salt water or put a lot of miles on your rig. Keeping dust caps in place helps prevent premature wear. The best early indicator of bearing problems is to stop the rig periodically to feel the hubs for heat. It's normal for hubs to get warm, but they should not be hot to the touch.
#3 Axle problems: Axles don't last forever, especially those regularly immersed in salt water. Whether it's a torsion axle or standard leaf-spring mounted axle, pay close attention to any rust and corrosion - and that includes the fasteners (bolts) that keep it attached to the trailer.
Trailer Assist service is $14 annually, plus association membership of $24. For more information on the BoatUS Trailering Club and all of the services provided, visit www.BoatUS.com/trailerclub or call 800-395-2628.