Boat-buying season is coming up! If you’re a first-time boat owner, you’ll probably be buying a trailer boat. Here are 5 things I learned about boat trailers that the dealer never told me…but you really ought to know. Trust me!

They’re not meant to discourage you from buying that shiny boat sitting on that shiny trailer. They’re meant to give you a “heads up” on a few things that will probably come back to bite you if you’re not keeping an eye out… 

And be sure to check out our matching post: “5 Things I Learned About Boats”

No. 1 – Trailer Tires have a Shelf Life

Trailer tire destruction
Boat trailer tires need to be replaced every 4-5 years, regardless of the number of miles you’ve put on them.

The rubber in trailer tires becomes more brittle over time, even if stored out of direct sunlight. If your trailer sits in one location without moving for a long period of time, bad things can happen. Tire sidewalls can take a set where the sidewalls bulge out, and tires can develop flat spots.

These are possible points of failure when you hit the road, and the risk increases if you wind up on the freeway.

The tire shown above (from a major manufacturer) was 4-years old, with minimal miles. We weren’t able to get out much over a period of 2 years, but the tires were kept at 45-50 lbs pressure the entire time, and the trailer was kept inside the garage between trips. When we finally took the boat out, the right tire failed after 10 miles on the freeway at 55 mph.

Probably the worst thing you can do is let your trailer sit in one place for a long time, with the tires taking the full weight of the boat. Here are a couple of things you can do to minimize the risk:

  1. Take the boat out at least once a month. This will change the load spot on the tires, and flex the sidewalls evenly. Yet another good reason to get out on the water!
  2. Put the trailer up on jack stands when you know the boat isn’t going to used for a while. This keeps the tires off the ground so they can’t develop flat spots.