Tips and maintenance
Significantly prolong the life of your boat and trailer by following our helpful boat care tips after each trip – into fresh or sea water – below:
After every trip
- Flush the engine each time it's used in salt water. Use "earmuffs" over the water intake and a fresh water hose. Tilt engine and rinse underneath to prevent salt build-up. Spray with DWF inside and outside (available from Magson Marine).
- Fill gas tank on the way back. A full tank resists water build-up from condensation.
- Wash entire boat and trailer using soap and water. Use car wash soap or marine wash. Do not use bleach, sunlight liquid or SoftScrub, except in emergencies. Polish the affected area after using these harsh products.
- Dry all the metal, glass and flat surfaces. Standing water will leave mineral deposits and stain surfaces.
- Cover boat to protect it from sun and rain. Use a blanket over windscreens to avoid scratching. Leave transom plugs out when boat is stored.
Wax the boat every few months to protect the finish from stains and UV damage. A good coating of wax makes regular clean-up much easier. Starbrite Boat Polish with Teflon, Maguire's Flagship Wax and P11 polish are generally regarded as the best boat waxes. Use P11 or autosil metal on rails and (an extremely light coating) on molded non-skid.
Use Quicksilver corrosion on switches, wiring terminals and electrical plugs.
Upholstery cleaner is an excellent general purpose cleaner for seats, cockpit, cabin, etc. available from Magson Marine.
- Wash your trailer after each use, especially if it was in saltwater. Do this every time! Rinse every part of the trailer with fresh water, especially the suspension and behind the wheels. Flush out the brakes if your trailer is equipped with a flush kit. Saltwater is very corrosive. The sure things in life are: death, taxes and trailer corrosion. Rinsing will greatly prolong your trailer's life.
- Protect your trailer hardware with WD40 or DWF spray (available at Magson Marine). Spray the nuts, bolts, leaf-springs, winch gears and all other hardware items. Do not spray the brakes.
- Use tie down straps. These inexpensive ratchet-type straps help secure your boat easier to the trailer. Every boat should be secured with several straps. Tie down the transom and the bow (even if your winch strap is already connected). Your winch strap is not a tie down strap. Do not use turn buckles.
- Grease bearings. Do this every couple of weeks. A good grease to use will be Quicksilver 2-4-C. It's important that the grease doesn't degrade in water. Remove the hub cover. Feel the hubs for excess heat when traveling. They should not feel any hotter than a cup of coffee. Use Bearing buddies or similar bearing-saving devices. Milky grease is a sign that it has been compromised by water. If this happens, repack all bearings. Repack wheel bearings every six months as part of scheduled maintenance when the trailer is used regularly. If not used on a regular basis, check before every use. All the above are available from Magson Marine.
- Lubricate the wheel nuts so that you will be able to loosen them to change tyres. This is especially important if you are fixing a flat by the side of the road. Lug nuts tend to rust easily. Use 2-4-C grease, DWF or WD40, penetrating oil or silicone spray.
- Check tyre pressure. Trailer tyres are different from car / truck tyres. Check the tyre sidewall for correct pressure.
- Check the lights. Have someone depress the brake pedal and use the turn signal while you stand behind the vehicle and ensure the correct lights illuminate.
- Check fasteners and all trailer hardware to make sure they're tight (including trailer hitch).
- Use safety chains correctly. Make sure it is secured before connecting the trailer.
- Do not put too much weight on the trailer. Gear can add a lot of weight – even if your boat can handle all of the gear, look at the weight rating on your trailer and do not exceed the maximum weight.
- If you are storing your boat be sure to block and cover your trailer tyres. Remember rubber degrades when exposed to sunlight and also rots when exposed to the ground. You may wish to shade your tyres. Moving your trailer periodically or jacking your trailer off the ground will help reduce dry rotting of your tyres.
- As you do with your car, carry emergency equipment for your trailer. Make a trailer emergency kit that contains a spare wheel and tyre, lug wrench, wheel chocks, bearing grease, extra hub assembly with bearings, extra line (for the winch and tie-down straps) and replacement light bulb.