Service Tips Avoid Jet Ski Breakdowns…
Related: Trailering Tips
Why do you need in season PWC trailer maintenance tips? Because perhaps the most often neglected part of your personal watercraft equipment is your trailer. It’s all too easy to hook it up at the beginning of the season for PWC adventures and never look back.
Fortunately, most of us get away with this inattention for a while. But it’s bound to catch up sooner or later. Either with a roadside breakdown or the premature deterioration that can cause long-term damage down the road.
Both scenarios are less of a concern with a fully aluminum jet ski trailer like that made by Triton. Problems are also usually avoidable with a little regular TLC. And with some regular preventative maintenance, including a walk around checklist. Best of all, it’s never too late to get started.
PWC Trailer Maintenance Tips #1 – Check Your Wheel Bearings
If you’ve already been using your jet ski trailer without incident, there are five components you need to check. Do so immediately and regularly, including at the start of each season. One is your wheel bearings. Low grease, road dirt and moisture can wreak havoc on them. And remember, your hubs are in the water frequently.
So if you have EZ Lube Hubs (as most trailers now do), but haven’t added grease since last season, do so right away. Same goes if you’re constantly towing big distances and doing lots of launching on Sea Doo tours. If you don’t have EZ lube hubs (or other equivalent), then get your bearings repacked instead.
Tip #2 – Inspect Your Tires
The second component that needs checking right away is your jet ski trailer tires. This is especially essential if you haven’t looked at them until now. Or if they are older. Or if you’ve stored your trailer outside without protecting them. Check for tread wear, sidewall cracks and bulges (both sides) that could lead to a flat or blow out.
If all is good, then make a habit of checking the tire pressure regularly to the manufacturer’s recommended specs. And don’t forget to include your spare! At the same time, double check that all the wheel nuts are present and tight.
PWC Trailer Maintenance Tips #3 – Scrutinize Your Lights
Component number three to check is your trailer lights, both running and signal. Although faulty lights aren’t likely to leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere, they can be very dangerous while driving. They’re also highly likely to attract unwanted police attention.
At the same time, inspect the wire and electrical connector that plugs into your tow vehicle. It’s also a good idea to periodically apply a dab of dielectric grease to the prongs of the male connector.
Tip #4 – Eyeball Your Hitch
The fourth component to check is the hitch set up. This includes tow vehicle hitch ball and trailer hitch coupler & safety chains. Make sure nothing is loose, broken or otherwise out of whack. At the same time, spread a dab of grease on the surface of the hitch ball and make sure your trailer is towing level, not tilted up or down from the ball.
PWC Trailer Maintenance Tips #5 – Lube & Protect
Finally, take a can of spray lube to all contact points, including moving parts, bunk hinges, and tongue jack if your jet ski trailer is so equipped. If your trailer has any grease nipples, give them a shot from a grease gun.
Tip #6 – Keep It Clean
As with your tow vehicle, after every trip it’s a good idea to pressure wash the full exterior of your PWC trailer, including the wheels and underside. Especially after use in salt water. When you have time, get a good corrosion protection product and coat all components susceptible to corrosion from exposure to road grim or exposure to the elements.
PWC Trailer Maintenance Tips #7 – Seasonal Tasks
All of the preceding tips should be part of your regular preventative maintenance program. It starts with a new trailer and continues every season thereafter. But they say that the best preventative maintenance is proper preparation for storing your trailer over the winter. This includes such tasks as cleaning your trailer and greasing your bearings. Additionally, you should lube all moving parts, apply corrosion protection and store your personal watercraft trailer properly.
Before use, start by checking the five components listed in the main body of this article.
For many of us, trailering to the water is now a fact of summer life. That makes your PWC trailer just as important as your jet ski. So it’s really important to look after your trailer with my PWC trailer maintenance tips as if your ability to go riding depends on it, because it does!
Credit: Thanks to Paul McNichol, owner of Alumite Enterprises, distributor of Triton Trailers, for contributing to this article.
The tips and advice in this article are the opinions of the author, may not work in every situation and are intended only for the convenience and interest of the reader, who has the personal responsibility to confirm the validity, accuracy and relevancy of this information prior to putting it to their own use.