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Tips for Maintaining Your Horse Trailer


horse trailer 3About to make your first trip in a while? You want to make sure that your trailer is ready for your horse before you begin to pack up or suffer a tragic mishap on the road. Here is a list of things to look out for before you get started on your journey.

1. Wash your trailer from top to bottom, inside and out. Weaknesses and flaws in structure can be hiding beneath mud and dust. By giving your trailer a good washing you'll expose them and be able to get them taken care of.

2. Check all your wheels, and grab a flashlight, crawl under the trailer and check the undercarriage with a long screw driver. Look for cracks and rusting at the joints and cross members where urine and feces can collect and wear away the metal. Give the floorboards a good probing as well to see if any need replacing. Rotting boards will feel like cork board and should be replaced.

3. Go over the suspension and wiring, using your flashlight to make sure they're well illuminated. Make note of anything that looks cracked or broken; readjust any wiring that is hanging down as it can snag and snap on the road. Any frayed and broken wires will need to be replaced.

4. Check your tires for wear and tear, weather exposed weak spots, tears, bulges, cracks or punctures. Make sure your treads are still in good condition, and use a tire gauge to check for proper tire pressure. If you don't know the pressure your tires should have it will be printed on the sidewall; remember to conduct the same tests with your spare tire.

5.  Crawl back out and walk around your trailer. Look for any signs of rust along the seams between the tongue and the body. Steel trailers have constant problems with rust and will need to be sanded and repainted every few years to keep ahead of the problem. Note: even aluminum trailers have some steel construction. IMPORTANT! Excessive rusting can be a sign of a structural separation which, if kicked or slammed by your horse, can lead to a horrible death for your animal. Get these taken care of quickly!

6. Check the doors and hinges; make sure everything works smoothly, without grinding or squealing. Step back and look at your trailer. It should look square, without anything out of alignment. Are your roof supports in good shape? Do latches, chest bars, butt chains, and pins fit smoothly? Are vents and windows working properly? Run your hands over the floor boards and walls and check for splinters, screws, rivets, wires or other things your horse could injure himself on.

7. Brace your hands against the inside walls of the trailer and push with all your might. There should be NO GIVE. If there is, have your trailer looked at. Make sure your ramp, if you have one, can support your horses weight and has a non-slip surface.

8. Hitch up to your truck and make sure everything moves smoothly and is rust free. Carefully go over all the hitching components and make sure there are no fissures that could be signs of metal fatigue.

9. Hook up all your electricals and check all your lights. Have someone stand behind you so that they can tell you which lights aren't working.

10. Check your bearings. Either back your trailer up onto a block or jack it up and spin the wheel listening closely. It should spin freely without grinding or thumping sounds that could indicate the need for new bearings. Give your tires a pull and see if you can move them. Any give means the bearings are loose or worn and need to be replaced.


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