The last thing you want when you take off for a weekend of boating is to find yourself on the side of the road with a broken trailer. But if that happens, be back on the road in no time by carrying spare boat trailer parts in your toolbox in case of such an emergency. Use our checklist to be prepared.
- Grease: Grease is your friend, so always have some with you. It keeps the trailer bearings lubricated and works as a coolant against heat caused by friction. When the trailer is first submerged after driving, the rapid cooling causes the air inside the wheel hub to contract, creating a vacuum. This vacuum can then suck in water and dust, resulting in corrosion and rust – unless you keep the spaces filled with plenty of grease. (Note: A bearing protector can help you avoid this issue).
- Wheel bearings: These are the next most important boat trailer parts to carry. Bearings should always be replaced in a set with cup and cone together and be matched to the load rating of the trailer.
- Dust caps: The grease or ‘dust’ cap is a small but essential spare part to have in your kit, as it fits over the outside of the trailer wheel hub to keep the grease in and impurities out. This is important, as the bearings must stay adequately greased to reduce heat friction, and dirt, salt, sand and water can quickly destroy them.
NOTE: You could just invest in a trailer hub kit, which usually contains a wheel hub, bearings, seal, dust cap and wheel nuts.
- Tail lights: Other vehicles need to be able to see when you’re turning or braking, and you certainly don’t want to run up against the law, so it’s a good idea to carry a spare 12V light kit in case one of your tail lights turns faulty.
- Wheel studs, lug nuts and bolts: You never know when one might work loose, so keep a few spares in the toolbox.
- Spare straps and ties: In case one snaps as you’re securing the boat ready for the trip home.
- Brake fluid.
- Pins and washers: Cotter or ‘split’ pins and washers for securing bearings.
- Spare tyre: This may seem obvious, but make sure it is applicable for the load. It needs to be robust, as there’s a lot of weight on a boat trailer and the trailer suspension is often less than perfect.
To do repairs, you’ll need to carry tools. As a minimum, put in a sturdy jack, a wrench, kerosene or other solvent for cleaning and some wooden blocks to act as chocks.
All these spare parts are available from your dealer or online. To ensure you purchase parts that are suitable for your trailer, take note of the trailer model before you go shopping.
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