If you have made it through the past few seasons without any problems with your boat trailer tires, consider yourself lucky. As a general rule, these very important items get no respect. Then, on a dark morning as you head to the ramp, one of them decides to let you and the trailer down, leaving you on the side of the road burning daylight while you try to change the tire and hoping you can get the lug nuts off, have air in the spare, and don’t get run over by a passing semi-truck.
Right now is a good time to go outside and check out the tires and make any repairs that are needed. I know it’s cold, but we do have some warmer days, and those are opportunities to do this job.
First, check the air pressure and make sure it is at the level recommended on the side of the tire. This is a check that should be done every time the trailer is moved. Don’t forget to check the spare.
Next, try to get the lug nuts off. If they haven’t been off for a couple of years and your boat only goes in saltwater, you may need an air gun to break them loose. Take them off one at a time, and then coat the threads with Anti-Seize Lubricant. I got mine at NAPA. This is something you should do every year.
The sun is not good for tires, and since most of us don’t have the ability to store our boats in a closed building, they spend their lives in the sun. Over the years this sunlight can cause the tires to deteriorate, and they could blow out when driven over hot roads during the summer. Look for cracks along the sidewalls and around the rims. Replace any tires you find damaged.
Finally, check the wheel bearings. If you have Bearing Buddies, use your grease gun and force out the old and force in the new grease. If you don’t have Bearing Buddies, you will have to remove the bearings and repack them.
By Eric Burnley