Hibernating Your Boat Trailer For Winter

We are quickly coming to the time of the year when many boat owners hibernate their boats and trailers for winter.

Wise boat trailer owners know that the end of the boating season and during winter is the best time to take care of any servicing and repairs – not only so they can head straight out on the water on the first sunny day in spring without hassles but also because any damage that has occurred during the summer boating season will get worse if it sits dormant during winter.

Why can the damage get worse when the trailer is not being used? Obviously not all damage falls into this category but many small problems with a boat trailer seize or rust up from the trailers lack of use during winter. This can mean that a small simple repair becomes a larger and more expensive repair a few months down the track. Not to mention that you may forget about the damage until you try to take the boat our again in spring – only to discover your days plans ruined.

For those that have registration due in the winter months don’t forget to book in for your rego check and annual service. Remember, if your trailer’s registration lapses for more than 3 months you will require a blue slip (eAUVIS) for your trailer to get it re-registered. A blue slip (eAUVIS Inspection) requires not only a safety check but also a design and ID check. Whist not a long process it will cost you more money in registration fees at Service NSW to get it re-registered.

Boat Trailer Safety & Responsibility – Accidents, Insurance and Trailer Maintenance

boat-trailer-on-beach“I don’t want to spend any money on it.”           

“But I just paid to have my boat serviced”

“I don’t care if it fails rego – I’ve got a mate who will pass it”

“Ï don’t need brakes – my car will pull it up – I cut the brakes off because they weren’t working”

“But I only travel around the corner to the boat ramp.”

We hear it all the time and it’s alarming how many boat owners do not care about the safety and legal responsibility of their trailer. If you own a boat and trailer – no matter how small or large, it will cost you money every year to register it, service it and keep it in a roadworthy condition.

We regularly see trailers that have had their brakes removed by the owner rather than fixing them; underrated trailers; trailers with cancerous rust causing parts of the trailer to crumble away; missing lights and imported boat trailers that have been registered illegally. The reality is that if you have an accident your insurance company will find any reason not to pay your claim – including any damage to your car and boat as well as your trailer (and anyone else’s vehicles if you are at fault). The onus is completely on the boat trailer owner and tower. Whether you knowingly or unknowingly tow a trailer on the road in a condition deemed unroadworthy or the accident damage is due to lack of maintaining your boat trailer you will be responsible for the repair bill or police fines.

Boat trailers are classed as vehicles – they come under the same laws as cars and caravans – meaning that they all need to be roadworthy to be used on Australian roads.  While you may not think a boat trailer is heavy (a 5m boat trailer can easily weigh 400kg), when you combine it with the weight of your boat, the motor, fuel and everything else you have packed in it – you are towing a dangerous object at fast speeds.

Legally, if you are not servicing and maintaining your boat trailer yourself it must be serviced and repaired by a licenced repairer – usually a motor mechanic. Contrary to popular belief, marine mechanics can only legally perform a small number of trailer repairs.

Cheap import Chinese and eBay parts are also flooding the trailer market causing boat trailer owners many headaches. These parts are inferior to quality brands and while they may seem cheap at the time of buying them they often fail quickly once being used and many times do not fit well on the trailer causing more problems and a larger repair bill down the track.

So please be realistic with your boat trailer. Boating is not a cheap activity and while a trailer is not the most expensive part of the “package” it will still cost a fair amount of money over its lifespan to maintain it in a safe and roadworthy condition. An easy way to remember to maintain your trailer is to get it serviced every year when your rego is due. This way any problems found will usually be small costing you less money and stopping a larger more expensive problem from occurring down the track. Please look after your trailer – not only does it carry your pride and joy, but it will also help keep you and your family safe on the road.

When Do You Service Your Boat Trailer?

Are you part of the majority? Do you wait until summer starts to get your boat trailer serviced or repaired?

Did you know that you would be better to service your trailer in the off season – the cooler months – when you don’t want to be using your boat.

Many people don’t think about the implications of waiting until summer to service their trailer – Perhaps the service centre will be booked out the day you want to book it in. The weather may be perfect for a day on the water and you boat and trailer may be stuck in the service centre.

What if your trailer needs major repairs – do you want to miss a weekend or two of prime boating season just because it is in the shop getting repaired? In warmer months it can be harder to source some trailer parts as the demand for them can outweigh supply at times. This could also hamper your boating plans.

Make sure you book your trailer in for servicing at the end of summer or during winter. This way you can rest in the knowledge that when the first hot day arrives you can simply hook the boat and trailer up to the car and get out on the water.

Please comment below and let us know when you service your trailer?

Hub And Axle Problems With Trailers

Hi, my name is Rory from Bold Trailers – the trailer repair specialists. I will take you quickly through a job which has come into our workshop. This trailer here right next to me on the hoist has come in on the back of a tow truck. Similar to one of our other jobs in the past, the wheel has come off on the other side of the trailer, basically because the bearings have collapsed. In order to complete the job I have to take this side off as well.

The customer says his trailer was last serviced just before he bought it and he purchased it 6 months ago. In order to take this off, I have taken the bearing cap off and gone to take the axle nut off. Now generally you will have a split pin through the holes in the nut and through the hole in the middle of the axle. This was missing. This is possibly one of the reasons why the nut came loose on the other side. Furthermore behind this nut, there is normally a washer. That washer will hold the front forward bearing in place. Again this was also missing. So whoever last did the service, we have to assume left this out. This causes big issues.

That has allowed both the front bearing and the whole hub to move. Through the breakdown of the grease, as you can see which is black, you can tell from my hands, the wheel has not been able to rotate freely and is actually quite stiff. In the process, over the course of time, this has now heated up and has welded itself in place. Generally during a service, once I have all of these components removed, I am able to pull this hub off by hand.

As you can hear in the background there, this one is not budging and the whole hoist is moving. I am left now with no option other than to take the whole axle out and replace the whole axle. This is resulting in a very costly repair for this customer and simple maintenance could have prevented this. So, if I can help you in any way with your trailer, remember Rory from Bold Trailers – trailer repair specialists, and I would be more than happy to help you. Rory, Bold Trailers

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