I've recently been through an expensive and step learning curve following a wheel bearing failure on the M3, coupled later with a seized drawbar. Total costs for parts and recovery was around £800, plus many hours of blood, sweat, swearing and lost boating hours!
Basically, one wheel bearing failed on the M3 last year. My RAC membership included recovery of the trailer. However, this only covered the trailer if the fault was with the tow vehicle, not the trailer! This taught me to read the small print in more detail.
The rollers in the tapered bearing were ground to dust, the wheel rim too hot to touch and smoking. Total cost for this experience was approximately £300 for recovery and parts (bearing, hub and brakes).
My next experience was when I noticed that the brakes on my tow vehicle juddered slightly. The front discs and pads needed to be replaced at a low mileage due to excessive wear caused by the fact that the brakes on my trailer were not working because the drawbar had seized. I replaced the drawbar, two damping couplers, brakes (again) and brake cables at a cost of £300. The tow vehicle repairs cost £200.
Total cost for all repairs to a new trailer over 18 months is £800!!!!!
The trailer manufacturer was not sympathetic at all! His comment was "what do you expect when you launch the boat in water". The RIB manufacturer helped me obtain parts but refused to contribute to my costs.
- I replace my wheel bearings annually
- I check my wheel bearing mid-season - How to check wheel bearing
- I use waterproof grease (the green Lucas stuff)
- I've fitted bearing savers (these had to be turned down to fit my hubs)
- I check the temperature of my hubs when arriving at the slipway (if they feel hot, then this is a very strong indication of a problem) and before launch (to ensure they have cooled too avoid drawing air into the hub)
- Check and grease my drawbar regularly
- I use a slipway that avoids submerging the drawbar, even if this means paying to use a slipway!
- Change to a breakdown recovery service that covers trailer faults, not just "recovery of trailer" as they mean two different things. Check the small print in detail, but don't just skim it or rely on what the telephone sales person tells you.
- I always used to rinse the trailer with fresh water on my return home. In addition, I know flush the brakes and drawbar. If possible, I'll do this after launch and after recovery before returning home.
My advice - Simple, learn from my costly experiences!
Finally, this year I'm trying out dry boat storage
at Southampton Dry Stack. Initial impressions are very positive. This avoids the need to get the trailer wet at all, is very convenient, but you pay for convenience! I'll let you know how it works out.