Are Jet Ski Trailers Universal?


Jet ski parked at the beach in Cape Town, South Africa

Most of the time, the trailer that you choose will hold your jet ski. In those instances that the watercraft will not fit, it is because you have a longer or heavier machine. Before you purchase a trailer, it is crucial to find one that suits your needs.

Are jet ski trailers universal?

Most jet ski trailers have adjustable bunks making them very universal between stand-up or any sit-down watercraft. There are instances that trailers may not work and that comes into play when you have a larger heavier jet ski. This problem is more common with double trailers with low capacity.

To answer the question, for an average owner, there is a big chance that the trailer you choose will be able to tow your jet ski. When searching for a trailer, you will find many different options available. This can be stressful for some because you want a product that ensures confidence when you are towing with your current jet ski and future jet skis.

The best advice would be to call a local dealer and get their opinion. They will be able to guarantee that you get the best fit for you. Keep in mind that there are some trailers that you should stay away from always. These typically come from depot stores and require assembly. Also, they are usually too small to transport any personal watercraft (PWCs).

We did say that most trailers will fit most jet skis, but a vital consideration is what trailers will be compatible with your vehicle. It is important to take a look at your vehicle’s towing capabilities. Along with that, it is important to take into other considerations such as the actual tow weight and finding the proper tow hitch. Trailer brakes on your jet ski trailer can increase your vehicle’s towing capacity. We will get more into that later.

TypeChoicesPriceBest For
FramesAluminumHighestAll-around and low maintenance
 SteelLowestBudget and freshwater
 Galvanized SteelMiddleSaltwater
BunkCarpetLowerBudget
 RollersHigherEasy loading/unloading
AxelsSingleLowerManeuverability
 DoubleHigherHigher Weight Rating
SuspensionLeaf SpringLowerBudget
 Torsion BeamHigherSmooth towing

For now, we have collected the possible features available on the market and the pros and cons of each. Below is a more in-depth look at each that will help guide you into finding the proper trailer for your needs.

Standard Features to Look For in a Jet Ski Trailer

Frames

These come in three varieties: Aluminum, steel, and galvanized steel. First, you should ask yourself, “What type of water will this be put in?” If your answer is saltwater, we recommended galvanized steel. The ensuing question to answer is, “What are my towing abilities?” If you are close to the limits of your vehicle, then go for aluminum as they are lighter weight.

The most available option is steel. It typically comes in painted or powder coated and is suitable for those on a budget or if you ride in freshwater. It will require you to keep up with cleaning to avoid any rust formation. Steel would be the best choice for you if you are a freshwater user and don’t mind the extra weight.

A more upscale version of the steel frame is galvanized steel. Since the steel is coated with zinc instead of paint, it will not rust. A galvanized steel frame may lose shine as it gets used, so your trailer may not be as flashy, but you will have a trailer that does not need maintenance.

The most preferred option is aluminum. This is due to their longevity and lightweight properties. However, this does come with a slightly higher price tag. Like galvanized steel, they are a good option for saltwater because aluminum is less susceptible to corrosion. In the end, an aluminum trailer will hold its value the best.

It is a good idea to purchase stainless steel hardware for your trailer. This will keep the rust water from the small space water will inevitably get into. The last thing you want is rusty nuts and bolts.

Jet Ski Trailer Bunks

This is the part that the jet ski will sit upon. They are usually crafted of carpet or rollers and meant to support the machines hull during transportation.

Carpet is the cheaper option but will most likely need more repairs as the wood underneath can rot. With carpet, there is also the potential for the hull to get scuff markets while loading and unloading.

My preference is carpet as it can hold the jet ski a bit better than the rollers.

If you choose a trailer with a roller, it will make loading and unloading a lot easier. The only drawback is that they are more expensive to purchase and can be a hefty cost if they need maintenance. Always double-check the jet ski is secured tight and properly when using rollers. The last thing you want is a jet ski sliding off while traveling on the highway.

Jet Ski Trailer Axels

If you are looking for the smoothest and safest ride, then go for a tandem axle setup. They can hold more weight but will cost more. Make sure to keep the load is level and weight is distributed evenly so the tires do not wear unevenly. A tandem set up will hold its value better, just in case you might sell in the future.

A solo axle trailer is the most common, and will be more comfortable to maneuver around and park. They are a great option if you only have one jet ski and do not plan on upgrading. If your jet ski is a lighter model on the market, this should be an easy choice to go with.

Tires for Jet Ski Trailers

Choosing tires is a simple decision. Get some that will match your craft and the load weight. Don’t get skimpy small tires and wheels. Cheap tires don’t last long. It really sucks to get a flat on a trailer. Always carry a spare tire just in case.

Jet Ski Trailer Suspension Options

Since machines are now heavier than before, every trailer will have a suspension system to support your PWC. A popular suspension type is leaf spring. This system allows for each spring to operate independently, which distributes the wear on the tires evenly. While being cheaper, they may require more upkeep than a torsion beam suspension.

A more superior and more expensive alternative is the torsion beam suspension. Four rubber cables situated inside the axle housing manage suspension and shock absorption. This system offers a smoother ride in comparison to a leaf spring. It also comes with the added benefit of being less likely to corrode. This is because there is no metal on metal contacts. Unfortunately, there is one downfall. In the unlikely chance that the system breaks, the whole system needs to be replaced.

Considerations to be Had When Buying a Jet Ski Trailer

Vehicle’s Towing Capacity

While the trailer may be universal to the jet ski, the vehicle towing may have some limitations. Use the owner’s manual to find the towing capacity before making a purchase.

It may come as a surprise that vehicles can not tow as much weight as thought. Many small cars are rated below 1,000 pounds, and some may not even have the ability to pull anything. Your large SUV may look like it can tow anything, but double-check the owner’s manual. You may need to install an upgraded tow package to have the ability to tow a heavier load especially with two newer machines.

A trailer with brakes can extend your vehicles towing capacity. Always check your manual before purchasing a trailer.

Determining the Actual Tow Weight

Finding the actual weight that you will be towing is not as simple as finding the jet ski weight. There are dozens of items that will add additional weight. If you are close to the max weight, be sure to include everything you can think of.

Some items that we have found add significant weight include

  • Gas: This adds 6 pounds for every gallon. Make sure to include gas in the PWC and extra in cans.
  • Life jackets and wet suits
  • Tools
  • Oil
  • Safety equipment
  • Small cooler

Tow Hitch

Getting a trailer hitch that can support the weight is essential as well. The easiest way to ensure that there will not be any complications is to go overboard. If you know that a class II is enough, go for a class III. Not only will this guarantee safe transportation, but it also allows for future upgrades.

Single or Double Jet Ski Trailer

You may be planning for the future and want to purchase a double trailer. Smart, but not if you plan on traveling at high speeds. The uneven weight distribution on the trailer traveling at high speeds can create dangerous conditions. It is recommended to purchase a single if you only have one jet ski.

One option on some jet ski trailers if you want to purchase a double with only one jet ski is to mount the jet ski in the middle. This will distribute the jet ski weight evenly and allow you to have one jet ski for now giving you the opportunity to upgrade in the future without having to purchase another trailer.

Jet Ski Trailer Lights

Always have extras on hand. They will break or go out often. It is recommended to get LEDs instead of incandescent as they last longer and are better while being submerged in the water.

It is also important to have the tools and knowledge on how to change the light. When choosing a trailer, make sure that you can easily access the lights.

Eric

I have been an avid boater / jet ski fanatic since I was a kid.

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