Used Boat Trailers Checklist
Like used vehicles you need to carefully check out any used boat trailers carefully. Here are some main checkpoints, and make sure that trailer is hooked up to a vehicle for all of these functional checks, don’t just look at a static boat-trailer and kick the tires, this could prove expensive indeed for you.
1. Is it road registered and how long is left before you have to pay. You should check the trailer carefully in case you are up for repairs after inspections. If it isn’t registered take very careful attention to the following points as you will have to pass inspections.
2. Does the boat you are going to carry on the trailer suit the size and roller arrangements, if not it could mean expensive modifications, every model boat is marginally different so choose a trailer with some adjustable roller and supports.
3. Check the frame carefully for corrosion, and if its been recently been repainted to cover anything then use a small magnet to check the frame and also a small pointed screwdriver. I suspect anything freshly painted.
4. Wheel bearings are a common failure point, and jacking up one side and spinning the wheel and listening for noise or seizing is a good move. If one is suspect then all are suspect. Look for movement in the wheels.
5. Check the brakes, do they function correctly.
6. Check the tires, are they in good condition or is there substantial tread wear? Also make sure they are not recaps as many commonly use. Don’t forget to check the spare is in good condition. Another thing to check before you drive away is that tire inflation pressures are correct.
7. Check the electrical wiring and connectors condition, opening a light fitting and looking at wire ends will show you how good it is. Check the wire ends and if it's not clean copper but is a blackened and crumbly condition this indicates that wiring is failing and trailer requires rewiring, another add on cost.
8. Check the function of all electrical lighting on your used boat trailer, number plate lights, tail lights, brake lights and of course the indicators.
9. If there is a manual or electric winch check the operation of it, run out a full trailer length of cable and reel it in, so many times they are inoperative when tested.
10. Check the tow ball fitting and safety chain are in good condition. Check inside the ball, as often they can be worn or corroded if no lubrication has ever been used on your boat-trailer