If you're like us, you know the out-of-the-world experience boating offers. To take the enjoyment to the next level, you plan to buy a boat or already own one. Congrats on this, be sure to have unlimited boating excursions.
But wait, do you have a boat trailer? Well, to haul your boat to the open ocean or to your local reservoir or lake, a quality boat trailer is invaluable. In fact, it's the most significant boating equipment you can ever buy.
With a boat trailer, you get the freedom to haul your vessel to explore new destinations. And don't forget to reduce the boat storage costs, additional security, and easier vessel maintenance.
While a boat trailer is momentous, not any trailer can be perfect for your vessel and needs. And with the wide range of materials, manufacturers, and features, choosing one can be overwhelming. Frankly, picking the best boat trailer can be a catch-22.
Are you wondering what to look for when buying a boat trailer? Worry no more; you landed on the right page. Here's a complete guide on choosing the right trailer for your boat.
Boat trailers are made from different materials, and all have their own benefits and drawbacks. The one to choose depends on your budget and the kind of water you cruise in. Typically, boat trailers are either galvanized steel, painted steel, or aluminum.
If you boat in freshwater, then painted steel trailers may be ideal for you. They are the most affordable and strongest trailers on the market. To match your style, you can paint the trailer to match the color design of your boat or even truck.
However, steel trailers have their downside too. The major drawback is these trailers easily corrode when exposed to saltwater. Also, this type of trailer will require more maintenance.
With time, saltwater wears down the paint and the overall quality of the trailer. This results in high replacement costs over time.
Galvanized steel trailers have a liquid zinc coating designed to keep corrosion and rust at bay. With this trailer, you can take your boat to both freshwater and saltwater settings.
Galvanized steel offers the strength and durability of painted steel. However, the zinc coating makes them resistant to corrosion and rusting. However, with time, the zinc coating can wear off, exposing the underneath steel to corrosion.
For durability, consider rinsing the galvanized steel trailer with fresh water after using it.
The downside of galvanized steel trailers is they are more expensive. Also, they come in gray color and might not be appealing to some boaters.
These trailers also heavily impact the towing weight of the boat. Subsequently, this can increase the fuel usage of your vehicle.
Aluminum trailers are a popular option among most boating enthusiasts. They are rust-resistant, lightweight, and easier to maneuver. Due to their lightweight reducing the towing weight, these trailers improve fuel economy.
Aluminum trailers offer a wide variety of designs and colors, making them ideal for most boat owners.
However, aluminum trailers are not strong as steel. Due to their lightweight, they can be easily damaged. Also, they will corrode over time but are impervious to rust.
Also, aluminum trailers are more expensive compared to steel trailers.
Before picking your boat trailer, evaluate the available material and how they impact the trailer and towing capacity. It's imperative to match your trailer to the boat and towing truck.
For instance, it may be your truck has a low towing capacity, or you'll carry cargo and passengers when headed on a boating trip. If so, consider an aluminum trailer for lesser overall weight.
When it comes to storing or hauling your boat securely and properly, you've got four options for boat trailers. Similar to trailer materials, the different types have their own benefits and drawbacks. Evaluate the options with a close eye to determine the one to suit your needs.
The common types of boat trailers include:
They are ideal for hauling smaller boats less than six meters in length. Also, they have a simple design making them suitable for a variety of towing needs. Due to their simple design and smaller size, bunk trailers are less expensive compared to other trailers.
Due to their simplicity of use and fewer moving parts, these trailers are almost maintenance-free. However, bunk trailers are submerged when loading or unloading the boat. This increases the risk of wear and tear to springs, hubs, brakes, and axles.
If you are planning to choose a bunk trailer, consider the loading and unloading of the boat and the circumstances. To load your boat on the bunk trailer, you'll need adequate room to submerge the trailer deep in the waters. Also, it becomes more challenging to unload the boat from the trailer, especially during low tides or on shallow ramps.
Do you go boating in water bodies with low tides or shallow ramps? If so, then roller trailers are the ideal option for you.
They feature multiple cylindrical plastic pieces to support the boat weight. Also, due to the design, rolle-style trailers don't need deep submersion, as in the case of bunk trailers. Thus, their hubs, brakes, spring, and axles are not exposed to water, reducing chances of wear and tear.
However, it's not all rosy with roller trailers too. You will need to dig deeper into your pockets to buy roller trailers due to the more running gear. Also, the more moving parts make their maintenance costly and difficult over time.
If you own a large boat that needs deeper water to launch effectively without damaging, then you need a float-on trailer. They are ideal for pontoon saltwater and other large boats. Also, they are easy to use when loading and launching your vessel for safe boating.
When launching the boat into the water, all you need to do is reverse the trailer till it's submerged and then detach the trailer.
When picking a boat trailer, price is one of the utmost considerations to take into account. Your budget will ultimately determine the boat trailer you will buy. Also, you narrow down the multiple options on your list to make choosing a trailer easier.
When coming up with a budget, consider the initial cost of the trailer and extra costs such as maintenance. Bunk trailers are less expensive to purchase and maintain compared to other trailers. Also, larger trails featuring double-axles are more expensive.
Consider your overall budget and how it influences your trailer purchase. If buying both a boat and trailer, don't separate your trailer and boat budgets; they are dependent. If on budget, go for a less expensive model without many additions that will suit your needs.
Before choosing a boat trailer, determine the type and number of brakes you need. For a small vessel, a single axle without brakes may be ideal. However, for medium-sized vessels, the trailer must have a braking capacity to make hauling safer.
Suppose you are buying a trailer with multiple axles; it's a good idea to have a set of brakes on each axle.
Boat trailers can have two types of brakes; surge and electric. Electric trailer brakes enable the trailer to brake before the towing vehicle, and they are easy to maintain. However, these brakes are less reliable in salty water conditions.
If you take your boat to saltwater settings frequently, then consider surge brakes.
When buying a boat trailer, don't forget to measure your boat size. Make sure your boat isn't longer than the trailer hauling it.
Measure your boat from stern to bow, using a tape measure, to have its accurate measurements. While measuring your boat length is easy, determining its weight can be challenging. It's crucial that when determining the weight, factor in the gear, outboard motor, and fuel.
A trailer has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), specifying the total weight it can carry safely. When determining GVWR, include extras to the boat's dry weight to be on the safe side.
Your towing vehicle also influences what boat trailer to purchase. Every vehicle has a specified towing capacity which is the weight it can haul.
To determine your vehicle's towing capacity, check for a sticker inside the door. If you find none, you'll need to calculate the towing capacity. When calculating a vehicle's towing capacity, don't forget to include the cargo weight, passengers, and dry weight of the boat and trailer.
For instance, consider the overall weight if you'll be going with your entire family for a boating trip. This includes the weight of your cargo and family members, which influences the vehicle's towing capacity.
When checking your vehicle's towing capacity online, remember your vehicle's history influences it. For instance, damage caused by certain collisions can reduce the overall towing capacity.
After you already know the towing capacity of your vehicle, it's time to consider the boat and trailer weight. If the total weight to be towed is close to the towing capacity of your vehicle, consider using a different towing vehicle. For safety, make sure to add about 15% of the trailer and boat weight when calculating the overall towing weight.
Boat trailers come with either spring or torsion suspension. Each of these types can offer various benefits depending on the situation they are used. While both of them are reliable, your choice depends on preference and specific needs.
They are made of thick rubber cords embedded in the tubing of the axle. The rubber cords compress as both wheels move, providing even wheel suspension for a smooth ride for the boat passengers in towing truck.
Torsion axles come with few moving parts, thus lowing their maintenance costs. However, in case a repair is required, torsion axles will cost more. Also, they don't distribute impact evenly, implying if you hit a small obstacle, all the impact goes to the same place.
Spring suspensions are preferred due to their overall lower costs. They are dependable due to steady ride and even tire wear, especially when used on trailers with multiple axles.
Also, they are better at absorbing and distributing shock evenly, giving a smooth ride.
For any boat trailer, routine maintenance is key to extending its lifetime. However, some boat trailers will have a more intensive maintenance routine compared to others.
After your boating expeditions, it's always advisable to spray the trailer with fresh water to remove any dirt, grime, or salts. Also, consider scrubbing the trailer with soapy water to wash debris that won't clean off with the simple spray. If using your boat in saltwater, cleaning it frequently is crucial, especially on the moving gear.
You should also apply dielectric grease periodically to prevent corrosion and rusting. Also, don't forget to grease the roller and shafts. All the moving parts require regular greasing to maintain them in a mint condition and properly functioning.
In addition, don't forget to keep an eye on rust spots and scratches that can deteriorate over time. Consider cold galvanized spray or marine spray paint to avoid issues from escalating.
Owning a boat can bring pride and enjoyment to people who love boating. However, for a sense of freedom to explore new waters, a boat trailer is invaluable. Buying a boat trailer will be a huge investment, and you must get it right the first time.
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