Using the term hydraulic trailers when talking about boat trailers can mean one of two different types of trailers. There are trailers that are designed for use in a boatyard or marina that use hydraulics to raise and lower the trailers and to also position the arms that cradle the hull and the keel of the boat for optimal stability when moved across even rough or uneven surfaces in the yard. The other option is hydraulic road trailers that are designed for boat transport at high speeds and on paved and packed types of surfaces.
While these are two different designs and styles of trailers, and they are not interchangeable, particularly the yard trailers cannot be used for road transport of boats, there are some similarities in maintenance.
As with any type of equipment, maintaining hydraulic trailers helps to maximize the life of the trailer, helps to prevent wear and tear damage, and can also provide early detection if there are problems with the trailer.
The hydraulic system on a boat trailer can be relatively simple or more complex. The larger trailers designed for bigger boats have to have advanced hydraulics to safely lift or lower the trailer and the boat and to also position the arms.
Hydraulic systems can develop leaks, including in hoses, couplings and in the ports where the hoses connect with the hydraulic cylinders. Always check the system for any signs of leaks, cracks in hoses, rust or damage to the ports, hydraulic seals or to the cylinders and rods.
Brakes and Wheels
Before using hydraulic trailers, always check to make sure all of the tires are fully inflated and that the wheel bearings are in good condition. For trailers with frequent use, including road or yard trailers, annual repacking of the bearings ensures proper lubrication to allow the wheels to turn easily and reduce the risk of a bearing failure.