Four Tips for Buying a
Used Boat Trailer
Is this used
boat trailer a good deal?
As the boating season ends in the northern climates,
some boaters may be looking to find a trailer to store the boat for the winter.
If you’re looking to buy a used
boat trailer now or planning on buying a boat that comes with a used
trailer, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has four buying
a measuring tape: With older trailers, the capacity plate or sticker may
be long gone or too hard to read after being outside in the weather for years.
But if you’d like to know a rough idea of a spring-axle trailer’s capacity,
simply measure the diameter of the axle. An outer diameter (OD) axle tube size
of 1.75” is typically rated for about one ton; 2.375” for 3,500 lbs.; and 3”
for 5,200-7,000 lbs. – remember to subtract the weight of the trailer from the
out of state: Trailers
aren’t built the same because states’ trailering regulations aren’t the same.
While most states require brakes for trailers rated to carry than more than
3,000 lbs., some states require brakes on trailers as light as 1,500 lbs.,
while a few others let you coast up to 4,500 pounds – although that’s not
recommended. It can be expensive to retrofit brakes, and some states such as
Florida require brakes on each axle. State-specific trailer registration
information can be found at drivinglaws.aaa.com.
tire diameter matters: After an hour at highway speeds, a 13-inch
tire will have spun 10,000 revolutions more than a 15-inch tire, which means
more heat, bearing wear and increased chance of problems. Having a fully
serviced spare tire ready to go – and the tools to install it – will solve many
of the most common reasons for a trailer breakdown. If all else fails, having
an annual BoatUS membership with Unlimited Trailer Assist roadside
assistance to safely tow both your boat trailer and tow vehicle up to a 100
miles will make a bad roadside breakdown suddenly get much better.
out for paperwork snafus: Not having ownership documents can sink a
sale faster than you can say, “Did you put the plug in?” If the trailer is
missing the vehicle identification number (VIN), it cannot be legibly read or
doesn’t match ownership paperwork, you may run into an issue with the DMV and
have to apply for a replacement. It’s better to have the seller handle this
before the sale.
For a full
look at this topic, see “Buying a Used Trailer?” at BoatUS.com/buyusedtrailer.
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