Five Must-Dos Before Hauling Your Boat
It’s that time of year when we’re all excited and ready to drop our boats in the water. Most of you have a checklist for getting your boat prepared for the season. If not, you can find some general tips here.
Boating safety is important on and off the water. To protect your boat investment, you need to be sure your boat trailer is in proper condition at the start of the year. Here are five important things to check to make sure your boating season gets off to a good start.
First things first… you need to ensure that your trailer license plate and registration are up to date. (Yes, even if you’re only going to use it once in the spring and once in the fall, and even if you only have to travel a mile or two). The money spent on trailer registration is generally cheaper than the cost of a ticket.
Check your tires. First, make sure that your trailer’s wheel lug nuts are securely tightened. You also want to ensure that your trailer tires are properly inflated to the correct psi rating, as indicated (usually) on the walls of the tires (that includes your spare). Make sure your wheel bearings are in good shape, and that your tires roll evenly and don’t wobble.
Make sure your trailer matches the vehicle you’re using to tow it. This starts with making sure that the hitch coupler and ball are the same size. You also want to be sure that your vehicle’s towing capacity is sufficient for the load you intend to haul. Never exceed your towing capacity because that can put added stress on your vehicle’s engine and brakes, and even effect your braking ability and handling in a way that puts you and others in danger.
Check your lighting. Before you go anywhere, plug the trailer into your vehicle. Make sure the connections are secure. Then be sure that the brake lights and turn signals all work exactly as they are supposed to. If any of your lights are malfunctioning, replace them before you hit the road.
Last, you want to make sure any bolts, straps or fasteners are in good working order. Replace rusty clips, frayed straps and so forth before they break and become a real problem.
In most cases, you can knock off this checklist in an hour or so. And that’s time well spent.