Photo/New England Boating, Tom Richardson.

Photo/New England Boating, Tom Richardson.

A trailer-boater’s main priority is naturally his boat, which is why the trailer often gets the short end of the stick in terms of maintenance. For example, when was the last time you devoted much thought to your trailer’s wheel bearings?

On the road, periodically check
the bearings by feeling the wheel hubs when you stop…

Damaged bearings are a huge culprit when it comes to trailer breakdowns, but the problem is easily avoided. First, make sure your trailer hubs are equipped with bearing protectors, the kind with either grease fittings (eg, Bearing Buddies) or an oil bath.

At the beginning of each season, or before embarking on a long trip, add fresh grease to the bearings using a standard grease gun. If you trailer infrequently or over short distances, add grease halfway through the season. Every few seasons, it’s a good idea to have the bearings removed, inspected and packed with fresh grease.

On the road, periodically check the bearings by feeling the wheel hubs when you stop to fuel up or take a break. If the hub is too hot to keep your hand on, you need more grease or you need to replace the bearings—immediately. In fact, many prudent trailer-boaters carry an extra set of bearing with them, as well as a grease gun, in case of an on-road emergency.


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