When the wheels come off

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Last month we looked at the importance of maintaining your trailer’s wheel bearings in part 1 of this series which covered the ‘how to’. This month, we cover the ‘Why’ aspect.

Fellow boaters; heed the advice we are giving you with regards to maintaining your trailer’s wheel bearings. If you don’t, at least take my advice to purchase comfortable chairs and a camping table for when you’re on the side of the road waiting for help to arrive! It’s a fact of life that more boaters have trailer problems than anyone else, and here are the reasons why; trailers simply get us to the destination.

They become as important as Buzz Aldrin’s first words on the moon. Trailers aren’t the prized possession in the purchase of a boat so it’s only natural, psychologically, that we don’t look after it as much as we should. The other reason is because boaters don’t seem to fully understand the arduous conditions we put our trailers through (or more specifically, the wheel bearings). So, as a first from any magazine that I can find, we’re going to show you exactly what happens to bearings with the effects of water.

Unfortunately, we could only do so much when it comes to testing. Naturally, no one was keen to offer their trailer and boat when the conversation got to “we want to ruin some bearings and tow them around until they fail”. And, that’s forgetting the road hazard it encompassed. So, we’ve kept it simple; but naturally, this test doesn’t take into account a couple of other components that our wheel bearings endure.

Trailer experts, Burquip, have some great knowledge in this field. They sent us the bearings to do these tests on but also warned of the other challenges. A wheel bearing heats up, so after towing to the slipway and putting your boat into the water, the rapid cooling of the hub and components actually sucks water into the hub – and it’s pretty much locked in. With the water is salt and sand grit – which only causes more destruction as the bearing begins turning for the return ride home…

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