With the arrival of summer, Minnesotans like you, are ready to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Summer is for baseball, boating, and backyard BBQs. If you own a boat, you’re probably itching to get out on the water for some fishing, skiing, and summer fun boat rides. Before you get carried away, it’s important to not neglect some maintenance tips before you hit the road to the cabin or that boat slip down the street. You’ll want to make sure your boat trailer is in working order to ensure your safety and to get your boat to your destination.

Check your trailer lights

Your trailer lights are one of the most important safety measures as they let other vehicles know that you’re carrying a boat and to keep a safe distance. Driving with faulty trailer lights can get you a hefty fine which is why it’s important to inspect these lights on a regular basis. You’ll want to check to see if your trailer lights are dim, flickering, or not working at all. Older trailer lights can burn out so you’ll want to get these replaced if they are not working. One additional measure you can take is ensuring a clean connection with your vehicle and your trailer. You can install a cover when you’re not towing to prevent corrosion on the metal pins.  These can be purchased at any auto parts store.

Check your trailer brakes

For obvious reasons, you’re going to want to make sure your brakes are in working order. Many states require that you have brakes installed on at least one of your trailer’s axles for safety reasons. This ensures safety for you and other motorists. If your trailer weighs over 3000 lbs and you only have brakes on your vehicle, your trailer can swerve causing a safety hazard. You’ll want to inspect your brakes and clean dirt and debris. You also want to inspect your brake pads for wear and tear. If you notice any wear and tear – it may be time to replace the pads. Lastly, you’ll want to fill your brake fluid to the proper levels.

Check your wheel bearings

Faulty wheel bearings are a common cause of issues with boat trailers. Winter water and moisture can cause your wheel bearings to corrode and rust – which can cause friction and keep your wheels from turning properly. To ensure your safety on the road, you’ll want to inspect your wheel bearings for any corrosion, and grease them before you head out with your boat. If your trailer doesn’t already have them, you may want to install bearing protectors to keep your wheel bearings in shape in every season.

Check your tires

You’ll want to make sure your trailer tires are in good shape before hitting the road with your boat. First, you’ll want to make sure your tires are properly inflated to the maximum rating on the tires or as listed on the capacity sticker on the trailer. Tires can naturally lose over a pound of air pressure each month, so it’s important to double check before you hit the road. While you’re down there checking air pressure, you should also inspect for any wear and tear on your trailer tires. Tires that are more than 6 years old or that are experiencing wear and tear should be replaced. It’s also a good idea to check your spare, and if you don’t have one – you’ll want to get one just in case.

Check your safety chain

Your safety chain should crisscross underneath the trailer tongue and attach to your vehicle for support. You’ll want to inspect your safety chain and make sure it’s in good shape.

Check your bunk rollers

Last, but not least, give your bunks rollers a good once over. Do they look like they are in good condition? Do they support the hull? Damaged and poorly conditioned bunk rollers can cause scratches and damage the hull. Following these tips before you load up your boat and hit the water can ensure your safety and enjoyment of your boat all summer long.