Summer has arrived, and with it comes warmer temperatures, outdoor activities, and heading to the lake. Minnesotans like you, are ready to get out there and do some fishing, go for a boat ride, or even a little water skiing. But before you head out with your boat to the nearest lake or to the family cabin, there are some things to be considered for safe travels so you and your boat get to the lake in one piece. After sitting idle all winter, your boat trailer will need some attention to ensure it’s ready to go wherever you and your boat may go. If you’re wondering how to properly maintain your boat for the summer season, we’ve got you covered with our maintenance checklist. 

Check your tires

Improperly inflated or damaged tires can be a safety issue on the road. You’ll want to avoid the headache of being stranded by the side of the road or in an accident by doing a thorough check of your tires. One thing you’ll want to check is your tires’ air pressure. Your tires can lose 1-2 lbs of air pressure per month while sitting idle. Make sure you inflate your tires to the maximum rating on the tires or on your trailer capacity sticker which is typically at least 60 psi. While you’re down there checking your tire pressure, inspect your tires for any wear and tear. Trailer tires should be replaced on average every 6 years so if it’s been a while since you last replaced your tires or you notice any wear and tear – bring them to your mechanic for replacement. One last safety measure? Make sure your spare is inflated properly, and if you don’t have a spare – now is a good time to get one mounted for peace of mind while towing your boat. 

Check your lights

Driving your trailer with faulty lights can get you a hefty fine, which is why it’s a good idea to check your lights before hitting the road. Your lights serve as a safety measure to let other drivers know you are carrying a boat and to keep a safe distance. Check for any dimming, flickering, or for lights that are not working at all. Older trailers have bulbs that can burn out so if this is the case, you’ll want to replace them before you hit the road. You’ll also want to check your connection on your towing vehicle. Winter weather can cause your metal pins to corrode or malfunction. You can always purchase a connection cover at any auto parts store to keep your connection safe and dry all year long. 

Check your brakes

Most states require that you have brakes on at least one axle of your boat trailer. If your trailer weighs over 3,000 lbs, then using your vehicle’s brakes can cause your trailer to swerve leading to safety hazards on the road. You’ll want to check your brakes for any dirt and debris and clean them off.  Just like your vehicle’s brake pads, your trailer’s brake pads can get worn with use. Inspect these for wear and tear, and if they need to be replaced – you can take your trailer to your auto mechanic. 

Check your wheel bearings

Our winter weather can cause your wheel bearings to corrode or rust due to moisture. Corroding or rusting wheel bearings can prevent your wheels from turning properly and can result in accidents on the road. You’ll also want to grease your wheel bearings to reduce any friction, and if you find rust – have your mechanic check them to ensure they are good to do. For future use, you’ll want to install wheel bearing covers (if you don’t already have them) which will protect your wheel bearings from damage in any season. 

Other things to check

You’ll want to inspect your trailer for any other issues. We recommend checking your safety chain which should crisscross underneath your trailer tongue and attach to your vehicle for support in case your trailer comes unhitched. You’ll also want to check your bunk rollers to make sure they are in good condition and can support the hull of your boat. 

Once you’ve checked these maintenance items off your list, you are good to go and ready to get out on the lake for some summer fun.