Like most of us you will be looking forward to these summer months. Before you venture too far there are a few things you need to look at. One of the most over looked pieces of equipment is your PWC trailer.
First I look at the trailer coupling. There are a few different types, but normally It will have a lever on top of the coupler that engages the pawl and secures the trailer to the tow ball. I visually inspect the hitch, the ball, and the coupling for signs of wear or damage. If you find any damage, replace any parts that are worn. Next I put a thin layer of Teflon Grease on the ball hitch. Next put the trailer coupler on the ball hitch. Be sure the coupling lever is pressed down towards the trailer tongue, and engages the latch lock, and lock down the coupling to the hitch ball. If it is hard to push down the latch, you will need to adjust the free play with the adjusting nut on the pawl. Remember, you do not want to tighten it too tight as it will cause excess wear on the ball and the coupler.
Next I check the winch and rope/wire. I start by putting a light coating of oil on the gears and visually check the strap, rope, or cable and the hook. Never use any strap, rope or cable that is worn, damaged, frayed or kinked. Make sure the winch strap is securely attached to the crafts bow eye. Remember the winch / winch strap is not designed to be the only line securing the boat to the trailer while towing. Tie-down straps must be used to properly secure your boat while towing.
Next lets look at the wheels and hubs. Check for loose or missing lug nuts and check tightness.
Next, check for signs of bearing failure. Bearing grease splattered on the rim, could be a sign of rear seal failure, and loss of grease in the bearing. Discoloured wheel hub usually means you have had a hot bearing and it needs further investigating. I then grease the wheel bearings.
Some trailers have a dust cap (painted or galvanized) on the end of the hub that protects the bearings. To add grease to this hub assembly you must disassemble the hub. With this system, a semi-annual inspection and repacking of the bearings is recommended.
Next, lets look at the tyres. The most common cause of tyre wear and tyre problems is under inflation. Always check tyre pressures when the tyres are cold. The proper tyre pressure is listed on the tyre sidewall. Always keep tyres properly inflated.
Next lets move to the lights. You need to have the trailer plugged into your car to test the lights. Be sure the wire harness connectors from the tow vehicle and from the trailer are free of corrosion. I always spray battery corrosion neutraliser into the female connector, and let sit for a while, then I blow out the connector. Next I will put a small amount of Die-electrode grease into the female connector, and push the male end into the connector, and then turn on the vehicle lights. Make sure the brake and turn signal lights as well as the side markers correctly illuminate. Check for burned out or broken bulbs, cracked or broken lenses, etc. Replace any non-working or damaged parts.
Next lets look at the brake system if in fact your trailer is equipped with brakes. Before each use I check the brake fluid in the reservoir on brake actuator. Refill if necessary using DOT 3 heavy-duty brake fluid to correct level. If your trailer is equipped with disc brakes, be sure that the solenoid wire is securely attached to the tow vehicle’s brake wire.
To prolong the life of your brakes, after you back up your trailer to park the trailer, ease forward approximately two inches. This will pull the actuator forward, relieving the pressure on the brake components.
Well, I hope this was easy for you to understand and I hope that you will take the time to check your trailer now before summer is here completely. You’ll want to be on the water, not working on your trailer!