Tips For Buying a Boat Trailer

After you've bought your water rig, follow these tips in securing a trailer for it.

Some boats come with a trailer. If the package you're looking at doesn't, avoid trying to get by with the cheapest on the lot. You might make a big mistake.

The single most important factor is the weight of the boat. When choosing a trailer, find one that is rated for a bigger boat-and-motor combination than what you intend to haul. The boat's weight should be in the middle range of what the trailer is rated for. It will work better and be safer, especially on the road.

Look for a trailer with larger diameter tires and wheels. A larger diameter tire rotates fewer times per mile, which produces less heat and less wear on the tread and wheel bearings.

Choose the trailer based on where you intend to use it. If the trip is likely to be on uneven ground, check the trailer for clearance. Drive-on trailers let you load and offload the trailer with more speed, which can make a difference on a crowded ramp.

Check that trailer lighting is sealed from weather, water and road debris. Extra rust protection will prolong the investment whether the boat will be used in the saltwater or on a farm pond.

And make sure the trailer has a spare tire. A flat tire can take the wind out of a fishing trip in a big hurry. Buy a spare if the trailer doesn't come with one. And make sure it's aired up before each trip.

If you decide to buy a used trailer, check for corrosion and rust, as well as stress cracks in the frame. Check the tires, too, and have them replaced if the rubber is broken or the tread is low. It's a good idea to have the wheel bearings checked before you take the rig on its first road trip.

The proper trailer is a convenient way to store a boat, and it allows you to try new areas by transporting your boat down the road. Buy the right one and you won't have to think about it again for a long time.

-- Gary Lewis is the author of several books and videos on sportfishing and hunting.

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