Since boat trailers are metal structures, they are commonly affected by corrosion. To prevent a breakdown of your trailer, which in the worst case can result in an accident, it is of utmost importance to do a corrosion check on it regularly. Keeping boat trailers safe on the road is not an easy task.
If you use your trailer in polluted, salty or brackish water it is very important to keep it clean and dry. Although salt is probably the major cause of corrosion, mud can also create a galvanic cell and cause rust. To keep boat trailers as dry as possible, store them in areas which are well-ventilated. If you use a tarpaulin or a cover, make sure that air can circulate in it and that it does not sag nor allow water to pool.
If your trailer is more than a couple years old, it would be a smart decision to start inspecting its parts at least once a year. Most of the boat trailers are bolted together, so you should start by inspecting all nuts, washers and bolts, especially those that are immersed during launching and retrieving. It is very important to check the u-bolts that fasten the leaf springs and axle together as the u-bolts are the only thing that holds the axle to the trailer. Corrosion is capable of degrading the u-bolts to the point that they can no longer handle the imposed stress.
Other elements you should inspect are:
- Axle to spring tie plate u-bolts
- Leaf spring center pins
- Spring shackle bolts
- Spring hangers and equalizer
- Fender hardware
- Bunk/roller bracket to frame hardware
- Lug nuts/bolts, studs
- Cross-member to frame hardware
Furthermore, the frame, cross-members and axles should be inspected in places where it has contacted corroded hardware. There is a solution to these problems which is replacing the compromised hardware with new galvanized or stainless steel such as the following: 1/2″ Galv. Square U-Bolt, 2-1/16″ x 4-13/16″ #86223
In case you are not able to find galvanized or stainless steel hardware a good replacement would be using zinc-plated products with a good coat of a product such as: Instant Galvanize Spray Coating, 13 oz. #06054
Keep yourself and your loved ones safe and do not wait corrosion to put your life in danger. Follow our tips and tow your boat trailer with more security.