How to Replace Boat Trailer Rollers

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Trailer repairs are a part of boating and roller replacement is part of trailer repair. Less involved than putting on a new propeller and more involved than launching your boat, you can even replace a roller at a time after launching, as long as you have a few simple tools and the rollers with you. Instead of putting roller replacement off until you begin the winter storage process, you can make it just another repair during the season.

Launch the boat, tie the boat off to the dock or a handy tree, and move the trailer and vehicle away from the launching ramp. Before returning to the boat, begin replacing the rollers that need replacement, from the front of the trailer to the rear.

Use pliers to pull the cotter pin on one end of the roller shaft. Push the roller shaft out of the panel bracket in which it rode.

Spray the roller shaft and the panel bracket with a penetrating spray lubricant. Replace damaged roller shafts and cotter pins as well as the rollers, if necessary.

Slide the new roller shaft into the hole in panel bracket. Hold the new roller between the two sides of the panel bracket and push the roller shaft into the roller as far as possible. Tap the end of the roller shaft with a rubber mallet, if necessary.

Insert the cotter pin into the end of the roller shaft protruding through the panel bracket. Ensure the cotter pin is securely in place at the first or second "bulge" after the split. Repeat for each roller needing replacement.


  • Use a measuring tape to record the distance from the ground to each roller that will be replaced. This allows you to adjust the new rollers to the height of the old, if necessary, before you reload the boat and saves consternation during that process.

About the Author

Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.

Photo Credits

  • parking remorques à bateaux image by Unclesam from Fotolia.com