Shopping for a new or used boat trailer can be overwhelming. With so many things to consider, it might feel like you’re forgetting something. Make sure that you’re getting the right boat trailer for your needs by following these guidelines.
1. Pay attention to the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).
A trailer’s GVWR is the maximum weight that it is rated to carry. Your trailer needs to be strong enough to hold the weight of not only your boat, but also the weight of its engine, gear, and fuel. To be on the safe side, purchase a trailer that can hold at least 15% more weight than you estimate you’ll have.
2. The width of the trailer matters.
Whatever trailer you purchase, the size of the boat and the trailer needs to be considered. Your boat trailer should not only be wide enough to accommodate the boat, but should also have 10cm of extra space to allow enough room to secure the boat to the trailer.
3. Decide whether you want single or multiple axles.
A single axle trailer is best for someone who needs their trailer to maneuver easily around tight spaces like driveways or garages. They tend to cost less and require less maintenance than dual-axle trailers. While multi-axle trailers can be costlier, require more upkeep, and are harder to navigate, they do track better on the road and can be safer if a tire blows out.
4. Galvanized steel boat trailers are best for saltwater sailors.
While painted steel and aluminum trailers work fine for freshwater locations, these materials are more likely to have problems with rust and corrosion. Galvanized steel is much more resistant to corrosion, making it the ideal trailer for people taking their boats out on the ocean.
5. Lights suffer damage easily, so check that all wires are intact and functional.
All boat trailers are required to have brake lights and indicators. If you’re buying a used trailer, be sure to test all of the lights to make sure there aren’t any electrical problems. If possible, find a trailer with LED lighting, as LED lights are more durable and waterproof than incandescent lighting.
6. Know your state’s brake laws.
This is especially important if you are buying a trailer from an out-of-state dealer. Florida law requires any trailer weighing over 3,000lbs to be equipped with breaks on all wheels. This is also the safest method and most trailer dealers will agree and urge that multi-axle trailers have breaks installed on each axle, regardless of your state.
7. Inspect the condition of used and new boat trailers before buying.
Most importantly, review the condition of any trailer thoroughly before buying. For used trailers, buyers should check the wheel bearings for any rust and ability to spin freely. The tread on the tires should be at least 4mm deep, otherwise you will need to have them replaced. Inspect the wiring and any welded parts of the trailer frame to confirm everything is fully intact. If the trailer is missing any parts, do your research first on how easy or expensive they will be to replace.
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