As a boat owner, it is understandable that you would want to spend most of your time taking care of your vessel. However, you must not also neglect the trailer that you use for transporting it.
Although the trailer may not be as expensive as the boat itself, it is still an expensive investment. Treat it as such by getting the best paint for a boat trailer.
Can you just use any product for repainting a boat trailer? Although the trailer does not stay on or under the water, it still spends a significant amount of time in contact with it. That said, the paint you need to get for the trailer should be waterproof, or at the very least, has high water resistance.
In this article, you will learn all the things you need to know when purchasing a paint to use on your boat trailer. You will also receive a couple of reviews on some of the best products out there.
- Best Paint for Boat Trailer Reviews
- 1. Rust-Oleum 7715502 Stops Rust Paint
- 2. POR-15 45904 Top Coat Paint
- 3. Rust Bullet Industrial Rust Inhibitor Paint
- 4. Hammerite 5084889 Rust Metal Paint
- 5. Fibreglass Evercoat 889 Metal-2-Metal Filler
- 6. XIONLAB 2 In 1 Rust Converter Metal Primer
- 7. KBS Coatings 4302 Satin RustSeal
- 8. Magnet Paint UCP99-01 Chassis Saver Paint
- 9. AGS RUST SOLUTIONS Rust Paint
- 10. Rust Bullet BlackShell Rust Coating
- Who Is This For?
- Features to Consider When Buying Paint for Boat Trailer
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Paint for Boat Trailer
- Care and Maintenance
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Paint for Boat Trailer Reviews
1. Rust-Oleum 7715502 Stops Rust Paint
The Rust-Oleum brand is synonymous with quality, and it is one of the best boat trailer paint options currently available. I used it to paint my boat trailer, and after months of exposure to the environment, I am glad to say that it is still holding up excellently. The paint may have faded a bit, but I have not found any significant damage yet.
My boat trailer has experienced quite a lot of boat launchings in the time since I painted it, but it still does not have any visible rust spots or bubbling yet. It lives up to its name and I seriously believe that it added a couple more years to the trailer’s lifespan.
Another thing that I appreciate about painting a boat trailer with Rust-Oleum is that it provided the trailer with a nice and glossy finish. Not only did it make the trailer look many years younger, but the glossy finish also made it easy to clean mud and dirt off the surface.
Probably the feature that I liked the most about this paint is its wide coverage and how quickly it dries. I just needed to wait around 4 hours for the first coat of paint to dry so I can lay down the next. It was also nice that I only needed a quart of it to cover all the surfaces of the trailer.
However, even though this Rust-Oleum trailer paint was great, it does have a couple of flaws. The biggest issue that I had was how it needed quite a bit of stirring because most of the solids have settled at the bottom.
2. POR-15 45904 Top Coat Paint
One impressive fact about this paint is that it requires minimal surface preparation before application. You can apply it directly onto metal. Just make sure that the surface is completely clean. I used it on my boat trailer and it did not need to scuff up the surface too much. The paint still stuck.
Properly dried and cured, this best paint for steel trailer provides a hard, ceramic-like surface that is highly resistant to all kinds of physical damage. I used it on my boat trailer, and it had been in a couple of minor accidents since. However, even though the trailer got a couple of dents, the paint itself did not chip
Aside from physical damage, this paint also provides excellent rust protection. Even after a lot of boat launches, and one unfortunate accident with the trailer getting unhitched and falling into the river, there are still no rust spots on the surface.
Although it was a bit of a challenge laying it down, the actual process of painting my boat trailer did not take that long. I gave my trailer several coats of and it only took me one afternoon to finish.
The first coat needed less than an hour before it was dry to the touch and ready for the next one. It also only took three days before the paint was completely cured.
As mentioned earlier, it was a challenge to apply at first because it took a fair amount of mixing to get the paint to flow properly. The first couple of attempts of brushing this paint left streaks on the surface.
3. Rust Bullet Industrial Rust Inhibitor Paint
I used this paint on a decades-old boat trailer and I am quite impressed with the results it provided. What amazed me the most is its guaranteed ease of use and application. Unlike other rust-inhibitor paints that require the use of at least two products, you just need one can of it.
I am also satisfied with this paint as it does not need extensive surface prep. I noticed that even painting a galvanized boat trailer is easy. I just used a wire brush attachment for a grinder and I removed as much of the rust as I can then applied the paint. There were still a lot of rust patches on the trailer, but it was not a problem with it.
I am also happy to say that this boat trailer paint for saltwater stops rust dead in its tracks. As mentioned earlier, I had to use this paint on a couple of rusted spots on my boat trailer, and it seemed like the rust just suddenly disappeared.
Aside from stopping the rust from spreading, this paint also provides a hard and durable topcoat. The finish left by this paint almost feels like ceramic. It is hard and highly resistant to abrasion and chemical damage.
Now, there is one thing that I hated about this paint and it is its smell. Of course, I wore a mask when I painted my boat, but this paint smelled so foul that it went through the mask. I suggest that you wear double masks if you will be using it, just to be on the safe side.
4. Hammerite 5084889 Rust Metal Paint
This kind of paint is one that you should use if you do not have that much free time for painting projects. This product has three types of paint in one – the primer, undercoat, and topcoat. When you use it, it is like you are laying down all three layers with just one brush stroke.
Another thing that I genuinely love about this product is that it does not need surface preparation at all. I used it on an old boat trailer of mine, and the only thing that I did before painting was pressure wash the entire thing and let it dry. It did not just adhere immediately on the surface, but it also went on the rusted parts without a problem.
Another reason why this paint is such a time-saver is its quick drying time. I only needed to wait around thirty minutes or so before I applied the second coat of paint on my boat trailer. The first coat was already dry to the touch by then.
As I said earlier, you can use this paint to go over rusted areas. That’s because this product contains effective rust inhibitors that remove the oxidation from the surface and prevent it from spreading. A couple of months have already passed since I painted my boat trailer and it still has not shown any rust at all.
Now, here is the kicker, because this paint dries so fast, you will need to use cheap brushes and work as fast as you can. Once this paint dries on the bristles, it is difficult to remove. You will need a special solvent to remove it and it is very expensive and not worth the hassle.
5. Fibreglass Evercoat 889 Metal-2-Metal Filler
This product is technically not a paint, but more of an epoxy metal filler. I used it on an old boat trailer, which was full of small dents. I did not want to use the regular plastic fillers as they do not last long, unlike this one. It is an aluminum-reinforced filler that is as tough as metal once dried, making it the perfect fix.
Aside from being highly durable, another thing about this product that I liked is how you can drill it without compressing the filler. It was a welcome benefit because I needed to drill into the filler and it did not crack nor gunk up the drill bit.
I can also say that it is the ideal filler for boat trailers because it is completely waterproof once cured. It works well for boat trailers because they do get submerged in water often. In fact, I also used it to do some body repairs on my boat, and it is still holding strong several months later.
Another nice thing about this product is that it can completely bond onto bare metal without any surface preparation. I even used it on top of a horribly rusted patch of metal, and not only did it hold, but it also stopped the rust from spreading any further.
Here’s a word of warning, though; do not treat it like you would plastic filler. Apply the absolute minimum of this product because it is difficult to sand down and feather.
6. XIONLAB 2 In 1 Rust Converter Metal Primer
I once needed to work on a rusted-out boat trailer, and I had to go through a lot of strenuous processes before I could even start painting. However, with this product, I only needed to clean the trailer then start spraying it on the surface. I did not even need to wait for the trailer to dry.
The thing that is amazing about this product is that it is a complete rust treatment system in one can. You no longer need to use a separate rust converter. You can just apply this paint and you’ve basically done all the steps needed. Aside from removing any trace of rust, it also allows you to lay down a coat of primer.
This product does not only remove rust but also prevents it from forming on the treated areas. It has been several months since I used this primer on my boat trailer and after dozens of boat launches, I have yet to find any rust spots or bubbling on the paint.
The best thing about this all-in-one product is that it can accept all kinds of topcoats. Even though this primer is water-based, you can use oil-based topcoats or any other paint that you want to use. I used an enamel gloss paint on my trailer and it went on like a dream. I did not encounter any peeling nor thin spots.
I really don’t have any serious gripes about this product, but I do wonder sometimes if the primer did convert the rust underneath it. When I used regular rust converters, I could see the rust turn into phosphate. With this product, though, I have no other choice but to take the manufacturer’s word for it.
7. KBS Coatings 4302 Satin RustSeal
I was thoroughly impressed with this paint when I used it on my trailer. Not only did it get rid of the rust spots but it also gets stronger when exposed to moisture. This product is moisture-cured, so you do not need to worry about it getting wet. I have launched boats a couple of dozen times and my boat trailer still looks like it was newly painted.
I almost gave up on restoring my old boat trailer because there were so many rusted areas, but then I stumbled upon several customer reviews about it and how easily it goes over rusted metal. I tried it and I was quite impressed at how effectively it bonded on all surfaces of my boat trailer.
As mentioned earlier, this product cures faster when exposed to moisture. Seeing as my boat trailer gets plenty of exposure to water, I can say that the finish did get stronger. In certain parts, it felt like the finish was powder-coated.
Another thing that impressed me about this product was how easy it was to apply. Maybe it is mainly because I live in a place with a temperate climate, but the paint flowed easily. I only used a couple of disposable paint brushes to cover the entire frame of my boat trailer and this paint went on smoothly.
However, even though the paint was somewhat self-level, it did miss a couple of dimples in the metal frame, which resulted in a couple of paint bubbles. I had to repaint those areas, but not before I applied epoxy filler over the recessed areas.
8. Magnet Paint UCP99-01 Chassis Saver Paint
Although this paint is mainly for vehicle chassis, it worked well as a boat trailer paint. Once allowed to dry and cure properly, it is almost indestructible. Unless you deliberately hit the finish with a hammer with full force, you would not even leave a mark on the surface.
Not only does this paint resist physical impacts well, but it basically ignores caustic chemicals. There have been several times when I accidentally spilled fuel all over the boat trailer when I was filling up the tank of my boat. All I needed to do was wipe away the fuel and I was done. The boat trailer paint was not affected at all.
This paint is also completely weatherproof, which is great for boat trailers as they are rarely in garages. My boat trailer is always out on my driveway and I never once covered it with a tarp, but the paint still looks respectable.
The best thing about this paint, in my opinion, is how easy it was to use. This product is usable straight out of the can. There is no need for extensive surface preparation – no need for hardeners, activators, or even primers. Just use a wire brush to remove as much of the rust on the surface then clean it up as much as you can.
I cannot find anything serious to fault this product with. However, I noticed that it does emit quite a lot of fumes. I can still smell the paint even through my mask. I advise that you use it outside or at least make sure there is proper ventilation where you are painting.
9. AGS RUST SOLUTIONS Rust Paint
This product works great as a boat trailer paint. I used it to restore a buddy of mine’s old trailer, and we were surprised at how easy it was to use. The only surface preparation we did was wire-brushed as much of the loose rust off, pressure-washed the trailer, and then proceeded to paint. It only took both of us one afternoon to finish the job.
As mentioned earlier, this paint did not need much in terms of surface preparation. What is even better is that you do not even need to use a rust converter. This paint already has it. It means you can just paint over the rusted parts and call it a day.
Once completely dried and cured, this paint will give your boat trailer a completely weatherproof finish. Although it is not completely waterproof, it provides enough water resistance to withstand a short dip in the water, which is usually the case with boat trailers anyway.
The best thing about this product is that once you paint it on, you can stop worrying about the metal underneath rusting ever again. AGS specifically formulated this paint to not just get rid of rust but also prevent it from coming back.
This would have gotten higher marks if the fumes were not as strong as they are. Even with a mask on, I can still smell the chemicals coming from the can. I advise you to use it outside, or at least in a well-ventilated area.
10. Rust Bullet BlackShell Rust Coating
I am glad to say that this paint is an all-in-one product. You will be getting a nice-looking finish even without using a primer. You do not even need to use a rust converter. You can paint over rusted parts and you can expect this product to hold strongly.
As mentioned earlier, this paint can work well on its own. No need for a primer as it will adhere to bare metal, which, in turn, can also eliminate the need for an undercoat. It was a real time and money saver, which I genuinely appreciated because I did not have that big of a budget for painting my boat trailer.
Another thing that I am so satisfied with regarding this product is its high-gloss finish. Aside from making my decades-old trailer look new, the gloss finish also made it easier to clean. I would usually just use a garden hose and it would be enough to get rid of all the gunk stuck on the frame.
This paint is also completely weatherproof, which is a nice feature because I have never placed my boat trailer inside the garage. Even though the boat does have its own cover, the trailer is always exposed to the elements, but such is not a problem with this paint.
I did have a bit of an issue with this paint drying up too fast, though. Although I appreciate it being a quick-drying paint, the problem is that it starts to dry while still on the brush. I probably went through 8 to 10 brushes when I painted my old boat trailer.
Who Is This For?
If you are a boat owner, then you most likely have your own trailer for hauling your vessel over dry land. Also, if you are like most boat owners, then you probably often neglect to take care of your trailer.
If the years have not been kind to your boat trailer, then note that with a bit of elbow grease and the best paint for a boat trailer that you can find, you will be able to breathe new life into it. This means that anyone who has a boat trailer can greatly benefit from this paint.
Features to Consider When Buying Paint for Boat Trailer
So do you want to start shopping for the most functional paint for your boat trailer? Then here are some of the features and qualities you should check out:
You will be putting your boat trailer through some serious abuse so make sure that the paint is up to the challenge. Ideally, the finish should be hard (to withstand impacts) and chemical resistant. The reason is that you will accidentally spill a bit of fuel on it, guaranteed.
A good boat trailer paint should not be easy to scratch or chip. It must also be a bit flexible so it can move when the frame expands and contracts depending on the weather.
Drying and Curing Time
The boat trailer paint you get should be dry to the touch in just an hour or so. It will let you paint another coat over the previous one much quicker. It also means that you will not be spending an entire day just waiting for the paint to dry.
Curing time should also be quick, around a day or two, so you can load up your boat on it and hit the water at the soonest possible time.
Ease of Use
If you will be painting an old boat trailer, you need to get a paint that can also deal with the rust patches. Ideally, it should have rust converters and inhibitors built into the formulation. This way, you will only need one product.
Waterproofing or Water-Resistance
A boat trailer paint need not be waterproof. It is mainly because you do not submerge it underwater for more than a couple of minutes when launching a boat. However, it would be great if the paint you use is at least highly water-resistant to prevent it from rusting so easily.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Paint for Boat Trailer
- Most of them are easy to use – Some do not even need that much surface preparation.
- They provide a highly durable protective shell – This shell is capable of resisting physical impacts and chemical damage.
- Most of them have built-in rust removal and prevention.
Quite hard to make presentable – It is okay, though, as boat trailers are not used for their looks anyway.
Care and Maintenance
The great thing about boat trailer paint is once dry and cured properly, you can expect it to be pretty much low-maintenance. Just hose the surface down when it gets a bit muddy and maybe even power wash it every month or so.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Paint Boat Trailer Rims?
It is easier to paint boat trailer rims if you remove the tire first. However, you can still do it even with the tires wrapped around the rim. First, remove the wheel from the trailer then clean the rim using soap and water. This can remove most of the grease and dirt from the surface.
Once the wheels are clean, scuff up the entire surface using some coarse sandpaper, this will give the paint more surface area to hold onto. Once you finish scuffing up the surface, clean it once again with soap and water to remove the dust.
To prevent the tires from getting paint on them, use some masking tape and newspaper to cover them. You can also use thin cardboard sheets, like old index cards, inserted in between the rim and the tires.
Using a spray can, paint across the rim. Start pressing the nozzle outside the rim and releasing it when you are clear on the other side. It can prevent paint droplets from forming on top of the rim. Wait until the first coat is dry before applying the next coat.
If you want the paint to stick onto the surface uniformly, use a primer as a base coat before using the actual paint. Before the paint completely dries, remove the index cards. Removing them when the paint is already dry may cause you to peel off some of the finish.
How do you Paint a Rusty Boat Trailer?
The most important thing that you need to remember is that you must not use regular metal paint for this project. If possible, use rust-converting paint. It will remove a couple of extra steps from the process.
Once you have your paint, get a couple of wire brushes, or better yet, get an angle grinder and use a wire brush attachment. Brush off as much of the surface rust as you can from the entire surface of the trailer. After that, use a pressurized washer to clean the surface of the trailer.
Using a regular paintbrush, proceed to lay down the first coat of the rust-treating paint. You don’t need to use rust converters if you already have all-in-one paint.
Keep in mind that boat trailer paints tend to dry quickly, so you buy at least six or so brushes as you will be going through them quickly. Let it cure for around 1-2 days before loading up the trailer.
Even though boat owners do not give their trailers quite as much care and attention as the boat itself, it is still important to keep it in good shape. Note that the trailer will be carrying your very expensive boat on it.
Using the best paint for a boat trailer will not only make your trailer presentable but also protect it from further deterioration, so choose wisely.