Tutorial: How To Replace Boat Trailer Rollers

How To Replace Boat Trailer Rollers

Trailer repairs are a key part of boating and boat roller replacement is part of trailer repairs. Replacing your rollers is less involved than putting on a new propeller but more involved than simply launching your boat.

You can even replace your rollers right after launching, as long as you have a few simple tools and your replacement rollers on you. Replacing your rollers should not be put off until the off season, as we all know you simply wont get around to replacing them and when summer arrives again you’ll be kicking your self you didn’t replace your rollers earlier. 

Tools you will need:


  1. Launch the boat and tie the boat off to the dock or onto the beach close by, and move your boat trailer and vehicle away from the launching ramp. Before you return to your boat, identify and begin replacing the rollers that need replacement, starting from the front of the trailer working your way to the rear.
  2. Using your pliers to pull the cotter pin on one end of the roller spindle. Remove the roller pin out of the panel bracket in which it was supported.
  3. Spray the roller spindle and the panel bracket with the penetrating spray lubricant and replace the damaged boat rollers, spindles and cotter pins where necessary.
  4. Slide your replacement roller shaft into the hole in the panel bracket. Hold the new roller between the two sides of the panel bracket and push the roller spindle into the roller as far as possible. You can tap the end of the roller shaft with a rubber mallet, if necessary to secure the roller.
  5. Lastly, 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.
  6. Repeat this process for each boat roller needing replacement or attention.

Hints and Tips:

  • HDPE Polyethylene boat trailer rollers are commonly used for aluminium boats and trailers.
  • Polyurethane, being a softer roller is more commonly used for fiberglass boats and hulls.
  • Rubber boat trailer rollers are generally machined using poor quality materials, and frequently split, crack and have flat spots on them making it more difficult for your boat to launch and retrieve. for the best performing rollers be sure you use HDPE Polyethylene plastic.
  • Make sure you install the correct size boat roller onto your trailer. Installing the incorrect boat roller may cause potential damage to your boat and trailer.
  • Different types of boat rollers perform different tasks. Be sure you understand the differences between a Self Centering RollerDog Bone Roller, Cotton Reel Roller, Concave Roller, Wobble Rollers, Bow Roller or any other boat roller you wish to install.
  • Ensure sure your boat roller brackets are in good working conditions.

Products Related To This Article: