3 common towing problems and how to solve them
Being able to take your boat on the road is one of the highlights of owning a watercraft. Enjoying different scenery, spending time with family and catching new fish are just some of the added benefits of towing your boat to unfamiliar waters.
This being said, properly setting up a boat trailer can be tricky. Knowledge about legalities, weight and procedures is necessary for avoiding serious accidents. Boat towing is taken extremely seriously across Australia, so becoming familiar with the rules and regulations before taking off is important for staying safe and avoiding fines.
While there are a number of different scenarios that can arise while preparing your boat trailer, we have found some of the most common towing problems can be resolved with common tools and knowledge.
1. Problem: Tyre wear
In the excitement of packing up for your next adventure, trailer tyres are often overlooked. When these essential components are not continuously checked for general wear and tear, it can lead to a dangerous blowout situation on the road. Pressure is another serious component; under-inflated tyres are the leading cause of trailer-tyre failure, according to Boating Mag. They are unable to bear the trailer and boat weight, overheat easily and can fall apart on the road.
Solution: Proper Pressure
Maintaining the correct tyre pressure on both your trailer and tow vehicle helps the wheels wear evenly. Boat-trailer tyres require between 50 and 65 psi of pressure, Boat Mag reports. Check the sidewall on the tyre for the maximum pressure it can handle to make sure you're achieving the correct psi. Maintaining this pressure is important to towing safety as it determines the load the tyre can safely carry.
Always check your tyres for cracks and reliable treading, and consider making sure your tow vehicle's tyres have a higher pressure on the rear tyres.
2. Problem: Monitoring your trailer
Drivers in NSW are legally required to monitor the condition of the breakaway battery on their boat trailer. Most other states also require a breakaway system to be in place. Monitoring this crucial system may seem difficult if you're trying to focus on the road.
Solution: Bluetooth CTEK Battery Sense Monitor
This tool monitors the condition of the trailer's battery and can notify you if the battery charge falls to a critical level, all through a helpful app. Making sure your breakaway battery is charged ensures you can brake safely with a trailer attached.
3. Problem: Finding your balance
Trailer sway can quickly escalate into dangerous, uncontrollable whipping. This is usually caused by an improper dispersion of weight on your boat trailer. Knowing your weights and the different kinds of trailers that can accommodate your towing needs is essential for avoiding this common problem.
Solution: Know your weights
For any cargo, Carry-on Trailer explains that you must load your trailer with 60% of the weight in the front half. With boats, this goes a step further. The tongue weight, which is the downward force that the tongue of the trailer exerts on the hitch, should always be 10-15% of the total boat-and-trailer package, according to Boats.com. It's also a good idea to make sure the gear put into the boat is placed forward of the axle to add more weight to the back of the car.
When these weights are disproportionate or the tow vehicle is overloaded, your trailer is more likely to swing on the road. Ensuring that the axle is positioned correctly and having enough weight on the towball will make your boat trailer tow better.