Inspect a Boat Trailer

Here's a checklist to go through to ensure your boat trailer is ready for transport and before your next outing.


  1. Check the lighting. Put your flashers on, do they work? Put the vehicle in reverse and have someone else check to see if the reverse lights are working.
  2. Check the tag. Is your license plate up to date?
  3. Check the lug nuts. Are they tight?
  4. Do a boat trailer tire inspection. How’s the tread? Some people prefer to balance their trailer tires for a smoother ride although it’s not required. Check for dry rot if your tires are old. Check the air pressure with a gauge. Read your sidewall for you air pressure requirements.
  5. Look at the wheel bearings. When was the last time they were greased? The last thing you need on a road trip is to burn up the wheel bearings.
  6. Check bolts for tightness. The bolts on the leaf springs are notorious for coming loose. Ideally, they should have locking nuts on them to prevent this.
  7. Make sure your safety chain is in proper order and always hook it up!
  8. Look at the running boards that the boat sits on. How’s the carpet. This is best looked at while the boat’s off the trailer.
  9. Check for rust on steel trailers. Corrosion can also be a problem on aluminum trailers that visit salt water frequently.
  10. Check the fender condition. This keeps you from slinging rock onto the boat’s paint job.


  • Galvanized trailers resist rust better than painted steel.
  • Saltwater will deteriorate your trailer no matter what it's made of.
  • In Aluminum trailers look for "pitting" corrosion cause by saltwater.
  • Also check for corrosion where different metals touch (i.e. a steel bolt in an aluminum beam).
  • Make sure your winch strap is not cut or frayed.
  • Always latch the coupler!
  • Make sure the pin is in your receiver hitch.

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