Here in Maryland at the Burdette Brothers showroom, it's currently lightly snowing. We are expected to get heavy snow tonight into tomorrow morning, which brings up a few things we'd like to discuss. First off, with this weather we realize that little accidents can happen. In fact, we see a lot of fender benders and minor dents, etc. from slippery road conditions. Of course we would wish this on no one, and hope that everyone stays safe out there!! But, we realize that things sometimes happen and if it does, we are here! Our collision & repairs center works tirelessly to repair your damaged vehicle. Our trailer repairs department can also help fix up any trailer problem you might have from electrical to small dents. Let our body shops help!! For more information, you can visit our website: www.burdettebrothers.com.
In the meantime, for those of you who don't like braving the winter roads and prefer to stay in, we have an article for you on tips to maintain your trailer so that when spring comes around, you will be ready to go! Enjoy!
How to Maintain a Horse Trailer
Published by eBay
How to Maintain a Horse Trailer
For those who want travel to various horse shows around the country or even to the local horse riding trails, a horse trailer can prove invaluable. Proper care of a horse trailer, both during show season and the long winter months, can keep a trailer in working condition for many years. This, in turn, saves horse owners time and money, allowing them to focus on the fun and competition of horse riding, as well as spending more time with their horses. Cleaning a horse trailer on a regular basis cuts down on unpleasant smells, including the odour of urine and horse manure as well.
When maintaining a horse trailer, shoppers should develop a schedule of when to perform certain trailer maintenance steps. While performing maintenance on a horse trailer, they should likewise make sure to inspect and maintain all of the most important trailer areas. Proper storage techniques, especially in the winter, help keep a trailer free from rust, mould, and dirt. Horse trailer owners can find a wide variety of horse trailers and horse trailer equipment at local stores or even on eBay.
Types of Horse Trailers
Before owners perform any maintenance on their horse trailer,, they should become familiar with their specific horse trailer type. The table below details the most common trailer types, including rear-loading and head-to-head trailers.
Horse Trailer Types
Rear-Loading Horse Trailer
Traditional horse trailer type; holds multiple horses divided by a partition; horses face forward in this trailer type
Head-to-Head Horse Trailer
Another common style; horses face toward each other; number of horses range from two to six; usually side-loading trailers
Slant-Load Horse Trailer
Slightly larger trailer for less horse space; travel is generally easier on horses; tighter fit for horses
Stock Horse Trailer
No partitions between horses; split into two large box stalls; horses run the risk of hurting each other
If horse owners need additional storage space in a horse trailer purchased, they should keep this in mind while shopping. Some trailers even come with a built-in tack room, but this feature adds to overall trailer length.
How to Maintain a Horse Trailer
Properly maintaining a horse trailer involves inspecting the areas of a trailer for damage or cleanliness. When finding problem areas, trailer owners should get them fixed as soon as possible. This allows for immediate trailer use when needed. Before inspecting and cleaning a trailer, owners should put on some old work clothes, as this process can become messy. Wash the trailer, inside and out, including underneath, before the inspection and deep cleaning process starts.
Wheels and Tyres
Start with the wheels by checking them for signs of damage. Check the tyres at this time as well. Owners should look for bulges, cracks, punctures, or other signs of damage or wear. Shoppers should check tyre tread as they inspect the rest of the tyre and make sure that the air pressure is adequate.
Undercarriage and Flooring
Using a long, sharp screwdriver and a flashlight, probe the metal parts of the undercarriage, looking primarily for cracks and rust, especially around the joints and rear cross members of the trailer. The flooring likewise needs checking. Replace rotted floorboards as soon as possible.
Suspension and Wiring
Check the suspension and wiring when under the trailer, looking for any broken, cracked, or frayed components. While checking the suspension, make sure to tuck all wiring out of the way. This can prevent it from becoming snagged when driving. Replace components as necessary.
Horse Trailer Body
Walking around the outside of the trailer, look for any signs of damage, such as rust, especially along the seams and on the trailer tongue. Check the paint job at this time to see if the trailer needs repainting. On the inside of the trailer, check the walls for damage and soundness. This can even include bracing against the walls of the trailer and seeing if they "give" any. If the walls move too much, they may need reinforcing or replacing.
Doors and Ramp
Owners should check the doors of the trailer to make sure that they still work properly. This includes inspecting the hinges, which should work without excessive squeaking. If they squeak too much, they might need oiling. Check the ramps for damage and soundness. This is especially true of wood, which can become rotted with age.
Develop a Maintenance Schedule
Taking proper care of a horse trailer can extend the product's lifecycle by many years. Following a routine maintenance schedule allows owners to monitor potential problems and act quickly when a part fails or needs replacement. Think of a horse trailer as a car, which needs regular care and upkeep. Always consult the owner's manual for recommended, routine maintenance schedules. Using the manual, horse trailer owners can begin to create their preventive maintenance checklist.
Before a Trip
Before taking a horse trailer out on the road, make sure to connect everything securely. Secure the hitch ball tightly on the ball mount. And remember to make sure the ball size matches the trailer's towing-coupler socket. Ball size can be found printed on the ball and coupler. Completely close the coupler and make sure it is properly attached to the ball.
Next, follow these important steps to prepare for a trip: First, plug in the electric cord. Then hook up the breakaway tether. Third, hook the trailer's safety chains to the tow vehicle after crossing them and finally, fully retract the trailer's jack and remove the wheel chocks.
Another important safety tip includes checking tyre pressure using a tyre gauge. Also remember to check the spare tyre. Underinflated tyres can run hot, possibly leading to tyre failure. Follow the manufacturer's recommended tyre pressure. Never overinflate. Also check tyres before heading out on the road for nails, wear, or bulging.
Next, after hooking up the trailer, check the vehicle lights. A family member or friend can help check the parking and brake lights, as well as turn signals. Also, walk around the vehicle looking for any signs of trouble. And after loading a horse or horses, conduct a quick safety check. Ensure all ramps, doors, ramps, dividers, and butt and chest bars are closed properly. Finally, check that any wires under the trailer remain intact and no debris is present.
After a Trip
After returning from a trip, clean out any excess moisture from the trailer to prevent mould or rot from forming. Clean out bedding and mats, rinsing them free of debris. Wash the trailer's floor by hosing it down with water. Make sure to dry out the mats thoroughly. Also make sure to unplug the trailer's cord, keeping it dry and off the ground; use a lubricating spray or grease to lubricate the coupler; store the horse trailer by jacking it up so the nose rests a few degrees higher than the back; and after the floor and mats have dried, close the windows and vents.
It is also a great idea to keep an odometer log and update it after each trip. Just look at the car's odometer since horse trailers do not have odometers. This log helps trailer owners to perform regular maintenance at the specified mileage.
Set up regular maintenance schedules for every three months or at least twice per year. Make sure to regularly check the brakes, inspect the floor, and grease the hitch ball at each maintenance interval. Also consider taking the trailer to a mechanic for an annual check-up. This could actually save money in the long run if a mechanic spots problems early, resulting in a less expensive repair. Make sure to wash and wax the horse trailer at least twice per year and grease the door hinges at least once per year. Finally, replace the tyres every five or six years.
Horse Trailer Storage
Storing the trailer properly, especially during the winter, significantly increases its operational life cycle. Make sure to store the horse trailer in an enclosed area, or even elevated on plywood, to limit the damage moisture can cause. Plywood keeps the undercarriage safe from rust caused by ground moisture.
Before storing, remove items like blankets, horse tack, and anything else not necessary to keep in the trailer. Then completely clean the trailer using hot water. If using a cleaner, make sure it does not harm the trailer materials. Consider using a mild antibacterial detergent. Make sure to remove all dirt, hay, or crime before storing the trailer for the season.
Next, turn off all electrical devices to save batteries and protect against fire hazards. Drain water tanks and any hoses. And then, close all windows, curtains, doors, and vents to prevent insect damage and potential moisture build-up during the winter months. Finally, also remember to check on the stored trailer periodically to make sure all is well.