Maintenance tips for Your Trailer Brakes

8 April 2016
 Categories: , Blog


Corrosion is a common issue with boat trailers. Trailer brakes are not spared of this menace. Brakes on boat trailers usually get immersed in water when loading and off-loading a boat, subjecting them to rust problems. For best performance, all the components of a trailer need to be working properly. As with the towing vehicle, the brakes on your boat trailer require maintenance service because brake failure can lead to accidents involving towed trailers.

Here are a couple of tips to help keep your trailer brakes working safely and reliably for longer despite the threat of rust.

Brake fluid

Brake fluid performs the important function of transferring the force exerted when the driver steps on the brake pedal onto the wheels. In addition, it serves as a lubricant that reduces friction that may be caused by movable parts. Over time, brake fluid deteriorates and it will need to be replaced to prevent brake failure.

The main source of contamination for brake fluid used in trailer boats is water. As brake fluid is hygroscopic, the water content in the fluid will increase during the service life of the trailer, reducing the performance of its brakes. Make sure you change brake fluid as recommended by your trailer manufacturer and also keep it at a safe level.

Master cylinder 

Another problem that you might face with your trailer brakes after it is has been subjected to de-icing chemicals for a long time is a rusty master cylinder. If the issue is severe, the trailer tyres will drag, especially when the trailer is not loaded, as is normally the case when a trailer is parked for a long time.

When you try to move the trailer, you wheels will get locked up. The piston will be entrapped in the wheel cylinders, making the brake shoes to expand against the wheel hub. You should regularly polish the sleeve on your master cylinder to provide the piston a low wear surface.

Brake pads

The brake pads in your boat trailer are regular-wear parts, and they usually include linings indicating when you need to have them replaced. When you take your trailer a for brake pad replacement, your mechanic will also be sure to replace other components such as springs, bushings and pins that work together with the pad. This way, you won't risk swerving off the road when you are forced to make an emergency stop on the road.