What are the five worst trailering mistakes people make? A few weeks ago we talked about proper launching at the ramp, so today, let’s review a few big blunders which you’ll want to avoid at all cost.
1. Failing to insert the safety pin in the hitch. It seems like this isn’t 100-percent necessary, especially on short runs. But trust me—if you go over a bump just right, that hitch can and will pop open. Make inserting the safety pin job number one, before you get ready to hit the road.
2. Launching the moment you arrive at the ramp. Even if you’re ready from the second you pull into the parking lot, sit tight and relax for a moment or two. Your wheel bearings may be warm from all that road-work, and if you dunk them immediately, the hot air in the hubs will literally suck at the cool water, drawing it in through the seals. On top of that, if you’re using incandescent bulbs, your lights need time to cool off or you might pop a bulb when you back into the water.
3. Jacking a trailer from the frame. Trailer jacks should always be placed under the axel, which is designed to bear the full weight of your rig. Place the jack under the frame, and there’s a good chance you’ll bend it slightly. Then, you’ll wonder why you eat through tires at lightning speed.
4. Backing off the end of the boat ramp… and then pulling back up with the boat still in place. We’ve all backed off the end of a ramp before, and this doesn’t have to be a big deal—if you remove the boat, before pulling the trailer back up. That eliminates the load, and takes the stress off the trailer. But if you go off the deep end and then shift into forward and pull back up while thousands of pounds are bearing down on that trailer, there’s a good chance you’ll do some serious damage.
5. Taking the inside lane, on turns. Again, this is something we’ve all done before. Out of habit we stay in the inside lane on a turn, and then we clip the curb with a trailer tire. It might not be a big deal, or it might cause a blow-out or worse. Whenever you have a boat in tow, force yourself to stay in the outside lane whenever you’re making a turn.