Now that the ice is FINALLY off the lakes, it is now officially boating season! Before you grab your sunscreen and fishing gear, first you must make sure your vehicle is prepared for towing that heavy boat. The toll of towing a boat on your vehicle can be lessened by following a few simple tips.
Check all fluids
Before you hit the road, be sure to check all of your vehicle’s fluids. Remember, gas and oil are not the only important fluids in your vehicle. A few of the important fluids to be checked are the: transmission fluid, windshield wiper fluid, and radiator fluid. Your local Jiffy Lube will be able to check and fill any fluids your vehicle may require.
It is also important to check the lubrication on your transfer case and differentials. These are important gear boxes which deal with your vehicle’s four-wheel drive. These are areas frequently strained by towing heavy machinery. A service technician will be able to check and replace any lubricating fluid your vehicle may need.
Tire pressure and rotation
It is important to check the tires on your vehicle as well as the tires on your trailer prior to departure. You should check the air pressure of the tires in order to ensure they are all the same. If the tires are not the same pressure, the weight will be unevenly distributed. Uneven tire pressure when you are towing a boat may put you at risk of losing control. When you are checking the tires, you should also check wear of the tires in order to decide if tire rotation is necessary.
Test trailer lights
Testing trailer lights is an important step to perform prior to departure. The brake lights on the trailer must be working in order to drive safely and legally to your destination. Oftentimes, when these lights are not tested, accidents occur.
When you are towing a trailer, always remember to use your emergency brake when your vehicle is parked on an incline, especially when loading/unloading your boat from the trailer. This is a simple concept that can save you a lot of time, money, and headaches. (Imagine forgetting that emergency brake and having your truck roll into the lake!) Always error on the side of caution when towing heavy, expensive machinery.