This post was last updated on April 8th, 2014 at 05:28 pm
Why It’s a Good Idea To Monitor Your Bearings
If you have ever been stranded on the side of the road with blown out boat trailer wheel bearings, then you already know how important this is. It usually only takes one time of a major bearing incident and you will learn forever that your bearings in your trailer are extremely important to take care of.
Often times a blown bearing will end up costing a lot more than the cost of new bearings. You could have major damage that can really become expensive! There are several major parts of a trailer that a blown bearing can cost you, I have seen on several occasions a bearing go out at high speed and cause the axle of the trailer to become unusable. To put on a new axle is a major problem and expense is a nightmare, and can easily be avoided if you pay attention. A bearing blowout can cause your entire wheel to fly off easily causing a major accident! Pay attention to your bearings and it could not only save you major money, but also your life.
Signs That You Might Have a Bearing Issue With Your Boat Trailer
- Loose Wheel: If you check your wheel and feel slack, you will need to address your bearings very soon. The easy way to test this is to push on the top part of the wheel and watch for slack. If the trailer swings from side to side your bearings have become loose and you will need to repack them. This is a sure sign that there is a problem and your bearings will blow out if something is not done. If you happen to carry a grease gun, this would be a good time to add grease and start driving toward a place where you can safely inspect your bearings.
- Trailer Moving Side To Side While you are Driving: This is a sign that your bearings are loose. You will need to pull over and check the tightness using the above method. There are also other causes of the trailer swinging side to side such as an improperly weighted load. If you have all the weight in the back of your trailer, will cause not enough weight on the tongue.You need the load in your trailer even, or with most of the weight in the front portion.
Tips To Help Keep You on the Road
- Bring a grease gun with you: They also make small pouches of bearing grease, these can be purchased at many auto stores for a few dollars. I always keep a stash of this in my boat.
- Keep an extra set of bearings on hand: Bearings are cheap, you can get a whole set for around $20 including 2 bearings, an inner seal and 2 races.
- Learn how to install bearings: This is a simple process unless you have caused damage to other parts of your trailer. Catch the boat trailer bearing issue early, and this is an easy repair.
How to Install/Repack Bearings in Your Boat Trailer
- Place a jack under your axle and prop up your trailer.
- Remove the cotter pin that holds the spindle nut in place
- Unscrew the spindle nut using a large set of pliers or channel locks
- Remove all broken parts
- Re-install bearings and races(as shown in Diagram)
- Make sure to heavily pack grease into all parts of the bearings
By checking and maintaining your boat trailer wheel bearings you could save yourself a lot of headache. A broken bearing on the highway is the last thing you want to ever deal with.