Do you treat your boat trailer as a utilitarian device that should last a long time without too much fuss? Many people do but overlook the need to service these trailers from time to time to avoid what could be a catastrophic failure. Where should you focus if you need to pay more attention to this issue?
Beyond the Wheels and Tyres
Many people pay attention to trailer wheels and tyres as they know that the rubber can wear out and they could risk a puncture. While you should certainly inspect your tyres regularly and change them as needed, you should actually look behind the wheels and tyres to find the most vulnerable part of the trailer.
Hidden behind the hub end cap is a roller bearing mechanism. It's the device that allows the wheel to turn on what is effectively a stationary part of the trailer and, as you can imagine, needs to put up with a tremendous amount of heat and friction.
These bearings are made to last and are carefully engineered to deal with high temperatures and wear and tear. They are covered with grease that gives them some of their capability and attempts to deal with metal-on-metal contact.
Problems can arise if the protective seals disintegrate or dirt can get past the end cap. If this dirt mixes with the grease, it will degrade the performance capacity and cause additional friction.
In the worst-case scenario, the bearing will fail, and if you happen to be driving at speed with a heavy load on the trailer, this could be a disaster. The entire wheel and hub may separate from the rest of the trailer, which would cause considerable damage and could result in a sizeable accident.
You should get into the habit of servicing your trailer at recommended intervals. Those intervals will depend on how much you use your trailer, and you should talk with your mechanic to set a schedule. They'll have a close look at each bearing to make sure that they are still in good condition and may service or replace as necessary. They will also adjust or repair your brakes and ensure that your leaf spring suspension is not showing any early signs of fatigue.
So, spare a thought for your trailer bearings and how much they have to deal with. Get on the phone with your mechanic and schedule your next visit. For more information on towing trailers, contact a company near you.