Caravan bearings and boat trailer bearings are a combative issue especially when they fail. Seeing a wheel off a caravan on my way home has triggered this article.

I would appreciate it if you could share this with your mates as many folks forget to do bearing checks.

Failed bearings can cause a wheel to come off and roll into inbound traffic with truly nasty outcomes.

What are the signs of a failing bearing?

Carbon black is produced when the casting or lining of the bearing are worn. Carbon black mixes with grease and looks like squid ink, black as. This bearing requires immediate replacement and is in imminent danger of complete failure.

Carbon black cannot be inspected using Bearing Buddy or standard dust caps. These products must be removed to inspect grease.

Couplemate rubber grommet insert dust caps allow visual

Inspection without removing the dust cap.

2t Australian Grommet Dust Cap

Another sign of a failing bearing is brown grease caused by water ingress. Water will enter the bearing cavity when a hot hub is immersed in cool water. The contracting air within the hub sucks water into the hub.

Water ingress is impossible to eliminate, but it can be controlled if boaters wait at the ramp and complete safety inspection before dunking hot hubs into cold water.

Note: Bearing Buddies do not stop bearing failure.

Here is a little-known tip

When replacing bearings give your axle profile a good clean. If you see a brown or coloured mark where your bearing sits, then it is time to replace your axle.

This bearing journal is worn beyond further use, Replacing bearings on this journal will only increase the cycle of bearing replacement.

A good axle will produce great mileage.

Installing bad quality bearings causes wear and tear on your axle. When replacing Chinese bearings with Japanese bearing for the first time, make a note or take a photo of your clean bearing journal. Save the photo using the date of the photo.

Bearings causing heat

Danger, danger…………….

When towing, I religiously touch the outer hub of my wheel to check for heat. Hubs must not be too hot to touch; otherwise, you will soon lose a wheel.

Heat is caused by wear and tear of your bearings or a loose axle profile causing your bearings to spin and create heat.

No amount of adjustment is going to stop your bearings overheating if your axle is cooked.

Caravan Bearings and Boat Trailer Bearings