By Montana Grant

Posted: May 16, 2021

Boating can be great if you can get your boat in the water! A wonderful opportunity to hit the water can sink fast when the motor fails, the trailer breaks, tires go flat, or when preventable issues are not prevented.

Even small Drift boat trailers or simple boating can Fail to Launch. One of the guides I knew, had his drift boat trailer tire blow near Red Lodge, Montana. With no spare, he simply drove it home to Bozeman. A spray of sparks lit up the night. How the hub stayed intact was an act of God. The flat tire ended up on the interstate roadside. The repair was not cheap.

Most Boat Problems can be avoided with planning and routine care.

TIRES    Tires routinely fail. Even a new tire can go flat. This obvious issue can be prevented. Have a healthy spare with the tools and jacks to change it. Boat tires may have plenty of tread but are best changed every 3 years. The sun, heat, UV rays, and wear breakdown the rubber. Cracks form as the tire degrades. Try using tire covers when in storage, Take the weight off the tires over the Winter. Routinely treat tires with Armor All. Replace air valves when you get new tires.

WINCH    The cable or strap that drags your boat onto the trailer tear, age, and fray. Routinely inspect and replace as needed. Metal winches require some lube love and adjustment.

AIR    Always check the tires air pressure. Tires routinely lose 2-3 lbs./ month of air when parked. Low air pressure in the tires will cause them to overheat and fail. High air pressure will do the same. Usually, 50 lbs. is the tire suggested pressure. Read the tires sidewall to be sure. Inspect tires for cracks, cuts, and punctures. Keep the valve caps in place.

LIGHTS    Towing trailer lights are required by law. No one wants to get pulled over. Older lights often fail. Always carry some spare bulbs, a cleaning toothbrush, WD 40 spray, and a wiring test tool. A copy of wiring specs is also handy. If you need to repair old lights, upgrade to modern, sealed LED’s, to prevent most issues.

                WHEEL BEARINGS   Without attention and routine care, wheels can come off. Bearing Buddies are pressurized seals that hold grease onto the bearings, but water finds a way to ruin the seals. Spindle blots also tend to get lose, causing the wheels to wobble.

                HITCH LOCKS    Most people overlook the hitch latches. These can fail to ground, lock, or secure the ball snugly. Now you will be High Balling which can cause an accident or worse. Routinely lube and manipulate the hitches locking features. Use proper safety chains for backup.

                BOAT PLUGS    Losing or forgetting a boat plug will ruin your day. Carry a spare.

Staying afloat is just part of boating. Getting to the water is also important.

Make sure to inspect the trailer too.

Montana Grant

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