Boating Tips

Boating Tips: Big Wheels Keep On Turning

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Trailer wheel bearings are just as important as all the other maintenance requirements for your boat. Without functioning wheel bearings, you won’t be taking your boat anywhere. Let’s follow a few easy steps to keep your wheel bearings in pristine condition.

Pull on your work overalls, follow the 10 easy steps below and the job will be complete in no time.


  1. Park your trailer on flat ground and put bricks in front of and behind the wheel. Jack the trailer up, always ensuring that the trailer is stable and will not fall off the jack.
  2. Once you have one wheel of the trailer jacked up, spin the wheel and listen for any rumbling, grating, whining or squeaking coming from the wheel. If any of these noises are present, it is necessary to change the wheel bearing. Remember that the wheel bearings are often in contact with corrosive salt and brack water which promotes their deterioration through loss of lubricant and corrosion.
  3. Loosen the wheel nuts and remove the wheel from the hub, checking the tyre and rim for wear. Doing regular checks of the tyres and rims is important.
  4. Put the removed tyre and rim aside and then remove the bearing cap with a flat-nosed screwdriver. Once the bearing cap is off (it can often be quite difficult to pry off) look inside at the bearings and check that they are correctly lubricated and are not showing signs of degradation. If there is rust present and the bearing sounded rough when the wheel was spun originally, it is advisable that a new bearing be fitted.
  5. Use a pair of long-nosed pliers to remove the cotter pin that threads through the nut and the axle. Straightening out the curved ends of the cotter pin will allow it to be easily removed. If the cotter pin is damaged or broken, replace it with a new one.

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