TRAILER FLATS: ARE YOU PREPARED?

trailer-flats
By: Capt. Steven Alqueza

The day on the water had been good. I loaded the boat on the trailer, bragged with a few friends and prepared for the trip back to the house. Wouldn’t you know, while driving home I watched the trailer tire go flat right before my eyes!

Being prepared for such an issue can mean waiting for AAA or other roadside service organization or changing tire yourself. Having the right tools and equipment will make your tire change quick, easy and safe.

First, ensure you’re safely off the road, turn on your hazard lights and set your emergency parking brake. Once you’ve evaluated the situation, it’s time to get your tools and equipment out. These are the basic items every angler should be carrying:

1. A heavy-duty plastic/canvas tarp to place in the area of the flat tire. (Working on a dry surface is nicer than in a puddle of water or mud.)

2. A few scrap pieces of wood. They can support the jack. They can also be used as a spacer between the jack and the trailer itself.

3. A four-way lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts. (I find the four- way wrench is easier to spin than a single L/J wrench.) If the nuts are hard to take off, spray with INOX (pronounced in-ox) MX-3 lubricant.

4. A floor jack. There is no safer way then a floor jack IMO. I use a 2 1/2- ton hydraulic floor jack. Find the best hard

5. Spare tire.

Once the wheel is high enough off the ground, once you’ve done that..finish removing the lug nuts and remove the tire. Replace the flat tire with your spare tire. Once you’ve done that, it’s just reversing your steps.

This is probably a good time to inspect other parts of the trailer. Inspect the wheel’s hub, brake callipers and bearings. A little preventive maintenance can go a long way. While the tires are off, go ahead and spray the hub with INOX. I also keep a grease gun available with INOX MX-8 grease for the bearings. Touch the hubs when you get to your destination before you launch; if they feel warm, they more than likely are good. But if they are hot or burn at the touch, something bad is going on and will need attention ASAP. Every three months, I spray INOX MX-4 on all my leaf springs, wench, wheels/hubs and axles for lasting corrosion protection.

After I finished changing my tire, I passed a friend not more than 10 miles down the road pulled over with a flat trailer tire. I pulled over to assist him, and like a NASCAR pit crew, we had the tire off and replaced within 15 minutes.

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