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Is your trailer really ready?: How to keep your horse trailer in good working order

Article donated by the mane points horse resource center.

General condition: Check for rust. Make sure there are no leaks on the roof, broken windows, or damaged or missing parts. Keep your trailer clean inside and outside.

Trailer frame: Your trailer should pull straight, and the frame should not be cracked or damaged.

Wheel Bearings: Bearings must be kept lubricated with grease and adjusted periodically. Your wheel bearings should be serviced every year to maintain top quality and safety.

Lights: Every time you hook up to your trailer, the lights should be checked to see if they are working. Repair any lights that aren't.

Tailgate and dividers: Check the wood for any damage. Check hinges, springs, latches and rings.

Trailer jack: Your trailer jack makes it easy to lift and lower your trailer. This jack should be given extra attention. Lubricate all moving parts with a grease gun. When the trailer is unused, crank the jack up and down occasionally. When the trailer is hooked up to the tow vehicle, be sure to crank the jack all the way. This prevents the jack from being damaged.

Break-away system: This system stops your trailer if it should pull loose from the tow vehicle. Check that all wires are hooked up, and make sure the battery is fully charged. Check the switch, making sure all parts are together.

Lubrication: Lubricate all hinges, latches and trailer hitch parts every other month.

Brakes: The working condition of your brakes should be checked every time you use your trailer. The brake shoes, drums, electrical system and hardware should be checked when your wheel bearings are repacked.

Safety chains: Make sure these chains are the correct length, and that the hooks are not damaged. All links should be in good condition. Cross chains when they are attached to the tow vehicle.

Matting and padding: Look for tears in the matting or padding. If broken wires are found in the floor matting, replace them. The matting on the tailgate and ramps should be securely fastened to avoid slipping. Remove mats to check wood flooring for signs of rotting.

Trailer axles: If you notice a tire wearing out faster than another, the axles should be checked. This could indicate the axle may be bent. Check the axle mounting hardware and springs for damage.

Hitch: Check the trailer hitch at every hook-up. Keep the hitch lubricated with oil, and check for broken or missing parts. Make sure the hitch closes. Watch for rusting if the trailer is used frequently.

Tires: Your tires should be in good condition, not worn or dry rotted. The correct air pressure should be in your tires at all times; if tour tires wear unevenly, they should be replaced. Have correct tire size and load rating for your trailer.

Read the next horse transportation article on Inspecting a trailer before travel.
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