DIY Auto Maintenance and Servicing Tips

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What Should You Do Before Retiring Your Boat Trailer for the Winter?

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If you live in a part of the country with seasonal weather conditions, you may decide that you only want to use your boat when the weather is at its warmest. In this case, you will want to ensure that the vessel is out of the water during winter but must also prepare to "hibernate" your trailer until conditions improve. What should you do before you retire that trailer for the time being?

Annual Service Time

Unless you use your boat trailer a great deal during the season, this is the perfect time to conduct an annual service. You need to go through a procedure to ensure that everything is still in good working order and carefully service some specific parts.

How to Approach

The procedure is somewhat more straightforward if you do not have a braked trailer model, as they have fewer moving parts.

  1. To begin with, elevate the trailer and put blocks under the frame to make sure that it is steady while you work.
  2. Have a good look at each tyre and wheel combination to check for excessive wear or look for any cracking.
  3. Then, remove the wheel and focus on the all-important bearings.
  4. You will need to remove the protective cap and then pull the bearing off the hub assembly. Look for any signs of pitting, cracking or corrosion and if you find any, be prepared to throw the bearings away and fit new. If they seem serviceable, they can be replaced but first, make sure that you apply a copious amount of grease around the rollers before they are refitted to the stub axle. You will then be able to replace the outer covering before securing it in place with the washer and nut. Remember, it is important to apply the right pressure and never over tighten, as this could lead to failure when out on the open road.
  5. Moving to the front of the trailer, look at the coupling mechanism and the condition of the towing ball. You will need to apply grease to the coupling and make sure that everything is properly lubricated.
  6. Likewise, look at the jockey wheel and winch if fitted and make sure that they are greased and have a full range of motion.
  7. Turning to the frame, look closely at the u-bolts that hold the axle and other parts to the chassis. As long as there are no signs of cracks or distortion, apply some grease to these parts as well.

Winter Storage

During the off-season, ensure that you elevate the trailer off the ground and that there is no pressure on the hub assembly or bearings. If you can, cover the entire trailer to keep away the worst of the weather.

Professional Help

If you're too busy to perform this work or are not mechanically inclined, get in touch with your local trailer servicing garage. They'll be delighted to give your trailer its annual service inspection so that you can tuck it away carefully until the new season arrives.