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Boat Talk: Flushing Out the Flush Kit

Wheel and Brakes on Boat Trailer

There's a strange irony that the way to get water out of a boat trailer braking system is to use water, but that's exactly the way drum brakes get a longer life. Trailer flush components are standard on a number of 2011 models, and trailer flush kits are available at most marine stores for about $50. They are simple to use; just attach a garden hose to a nozzle on the trailer and turn the water on. Dirt, sand, and the always-feared saltwater are removed within minutes.

One trick used by a number of BoatUS members is to move the trailer forward a few feet while the flush kit is in use. This ensures the brakes are thoroughly rinsed. Drum brake design is such that it holds water, hence the need for a thorough flushing.

There has been a continuing discussion online and at boat ramps about installing a flush kit on a trailer with disc brakes. Many say it can't hurt and are happy to wash down the trailer after loading a boat in saltwater. Still, others contend the disc brake need only be rinsed with a garden hose in hand, rather than with a flush kit.

For general maintenance, it is a good idea to take a look at the waterlines when the brakes are being flushed to ensure there is no leaking.


Pat Piper

Contributor, BoatUS Magazine

Pat Piper has written for many magazines including BoatUS Magazine, Chesapeake Bay Magazine, and Diabetes Health and has written/ghostwritten eight books. He's currently an executive editor for Westwood One Radio.