9 Things To Know When Buying A Boat Trailer
You might want to know several things before buying a boat trailer. Similar to any other investment, you want to ensure you purchase the right option for you. With so many options, we understand that buying a boat trailer can be overwhelming. It is easy to feel you have forgotten a key consideration!
Luckily, we are here to provide insight with a list of basic guidelines to ensure you find the best boat trailer to meet your towing needs!
A key thing to note is the width of the trailer. It might seem obvious, but the size of your boat and the size of the trailer need to fit to have a comfortable tow. Therefore, not only should your trailer be wide enough to carry your boat comfortably, but it also needs to have an extra 10cm of space on the sides to allow room for securing your boat to the trailer.
What’s the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)?
How much does your boat weigh? We don’t just mean the weight of your boat in isolation. Take into consideration the weight of your boat’s engine, gear, and fuel. Each trailer’s design enables it to carry a maximum weight (the GVWR). You don’t want to accidentally purchase a trailer that isn’t rated high enough to pull your set-up. A concrete general rule is to choose a trailer that can carry at least 15% more weight than you estimate your boat, engine, gear, and fuel totals.
Single or Multiple Axles?
There are benefits and downsides to both multi-axle and single axle trailers. A single axle trailer is ideal for someone who needs their trailer to easily move around tight spaces – for example, your driveway or garage. Costing less and requiring less maintenance, a single axle trailer might be the right option for you. However, if you are traveling long distances, a multi-axle trailer pulls better for long distances and is safer if one of your tires blows out. The downside to multi-axle trailers is that they can be more expensive, require more maintenance, and are harder to maneuver. Think about your towing needs to determine what option is best for you!
What Are Your State’s Brake Laws?
Yes, this is a thing. It is essential to consider this if you purchase a trailer out of state. For example, Florida law requires that any trailer weighing over 3,000lbs needs to have brakes on all wheels. Most trailer dealers agree and encourage multi-axle trailers to have brakes installed on each axle, regardless of your state’s brake laws. Having brakes on all wheels increases your safety and the safety of those around you while traveling.
Cheaper Isn’t Always Better
While it is tempting to purchase the seemingly best deal that comes your way, make sure you have done all your research before buying the cheapest option. You especially want to ensure you have done your research if you consider a used trailer option. The goal is to find a trailer that will safely and comfortably meet your needs now and for years to come. In addition, your trailer needs to take you and your boat safely to and from the water.
The Type of Tires Matter
There are key differences between trailer tires and passenger vehicle tires. One of the main differences is that trailer tires have thicker sidewalls. Thicker sidewalls enable the tires to reduce sway and better carry the total weight of the boat’s load. Ensure the trailer you purchase has the correct type of tires, or you’ll be adding that investment to your list.
Always Inspect the Condition
Regardless of whether you’re on the lookout for a new or used boat trailer, it is essential to inspect its complete condition before buying. When buying a used trailer, always check the wheel bearings. You don’t want to see any rust and want them to spin freely. Check the tires to make sure there is good tread life left. A good rule of thumb is the tread on the tires should be at least 4mm deep. Anything less than that, and you’ll be looking at paying to replace them.
Inspect any welded parts of the trailer’s frame to ensure no rust or holes. Review the wiring to ensure no loose, frayed, or hanging wires. If you notice the trailer is missing key parts or has key parts that need replacing, take time to research how expensive or easy it will be to replace these items.
Are You a Saltwater Sailor?
If you prefer to do most of your sailing in the open salty air, then a galvanized steel boat trailer will be the best option for you. Painted steel and aluminum trailers work perfectly for freshwater boating; however, these materials will have more issues with corrosion and rust. On the other hand, Galvanized steel is more resistant to corrosion, allowing it to withstand salty water for years to come.
Do the Lights Work?
All boat trailers must have working brake lights and turn-signal indicators regardless of your state. Prior to buying a used trailer, test to make sure all of the lights work well. If a light is not working, check that it is simply burnt out and not an electrical problem. Ideally, find a trailer that has LED lighting. LED lights are more durable and waterproof, making them superior to incandescent lighting for your boat trailer.
While making a large purchase such as a boat trailer can be daunting, we hope these guidelines have helped give you some valuable knowledge! At Rocket Marine Inc.™, we believe in supplying the highest quality trailers to meet you and your boat’s needs. Maybe you’ve recently purchased a trailer and found it needs parts or repair? With over 20 years of high-quality experience in trailer maintenance, our staff can help with that. We also provide a large inventory of parts to complete your own repairs.
Give us the pleasure of helping you get safely out on the water!