Things to check when buying used... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-17-2010, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Question Things to check when buying used...

Ok I found a really good article on all the things you should check before buying a used horse trailer. 6

BUUUT it doesn't really explain all of them in detail, so you kind of have to be knowledgeable about horse trailer servicing to understand some of these. So, I listed them all -- can anyone explain (photos or diagrams are appreciated!!) how to check for each of these? Well, or at least #1, 2, 3, 4, & 8? Some of the others are easy to figure out, but for those numbers, there is at least some part of each that I don't really know what exactly is "bad" or what I should really be watching for.

I unfortunately don't have anyone to bring with me that knows and there are no trailer dealers anywhere near most of the ones I am going to look at for sale, so any info to help me out is much appreciated. Thanks!!

1. Tires should be in good shape, with no sidewall damage, and no odd wear patterns in the tread. Make sure the tires have the proper weight rating for the size load you intend to carry. There must be a good condition spare tire as well.

2. Fresh grease should show in bearing caps, it should make no noises or creaks when rolling on cold wheels. You must check all the suspension components to make sure they are mechanically sound.

3. Working brakes are a very important component on any moving equipment, especially on a horse trailer! You should inspect all the brake lines and make sure there are no leaks. I highly recommend you take it for a test drive to an open paved parking area where you can brake hard and see if they will stop correctly.

4. Wiring and lights must work in order to take any trailer on the road, make sure that there is a compatible plug which will connect to your vehicle. Check to see that wire insulation is not cracked or split.

5. Look carefully at the Jack post and make sure that it works, and is not damaged in any way. The latching for the hitch, and related safety devices should all work smoothly, and have no missing or broken pieces,

including safety chains and any anti-sway equipment which may be included.

6. All of the doors must latch securely and work easily, make sure that the windows are not cracked, and they slide or crank open and closed easily.

7. Check that the trailer is the right size for your horses. Some are not robust enough to handle cross country trips, so make sure it is designed for the type of transporting that you intend to do.

8. You may have to crawl under and look beneath the horse trailer to see that there is no heavy corrosion underneath, or on any critical surfaces. Flooring is highly susceptible to corrosion and rotting from horse urine, and if the trailer was poorly maintained you can have costly repair problems with the flooring. Strong and solid flooring is critical for the safety of your horses when they are being transported.

9. There are basically 3 materials used for the flooring of horse trailers, and you need to inspect each for and wear and tear before buying. The first type you may run across has an aluminum floor with a rubber mat laid over it. The best way to inspect the flooring on any horse trailer is to lift the mat up as much as possible, and with a good light source, look for corrosion and other damage to the flooring, especially in the corners.

The second style widely used in horse trailers is a wood floor with a rubber mat placed on top. To inspect a wood horse trailer floor, lift up the rubber mat and check the boards for splitting, drying out, rotting and cracking using a bright light source.

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post #2 of 6 Old 08-17-2010, 06:20 PM
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1. if the tires have funny wear marks on them or the sidewalls are cracked and old looking, then there could be problems with the wheels or axels.
2 Fresh grease means someone is keeping the bearings in good condition so they won't dry out. Dry/bad bearings mean wheels can fall off or do damage to axels
3 Brakes should work and stop smoothly, not jerky or when you apply the brakes, the trailer should stop directly behind you, not off to the side. Some trailers don't have brakes, especially the smaller ones.
4 All the lights should work and the wires should be tucked up and not exposed to the weather. Hanging wires and the lights not working could mean there is a short, and you could hook up the trailer and short out the lights and possibly start a fire.
5 The jack post is the part that the trailer sits on when not hooked up to a truck. You usually wind it up or down to fit the ball on the tow vehicle. There is usually a wheel attacked to the bottom of the jack to make it easier to manuever the wheel to hook up the trailer. You want it easy to turn up and down, make sure its not bent forward or back, this usually means it has caught on a curb or something.
6 Depending on the size of the trailer, make sure all doors latch and close tightly. No bends in the doors, no crooked latches. If the trailer has windows, they should open and close easily.Air vents on top or side of trailers should open and close easily
7 Just make sure your horse will fit comfortable in the trailer. A draft horse/cross , or a big bulky horse will not usually fit in an older small two horse straight load trailer. Older trailers were made for smaller type horses and horses today are not little horses. You need to make sure its wide enough, tall enough and that your horse has room to brace in it.
8. You are looking for rust and holes in the metal. Under doors, under the trailer itself, on the roof. Be very careful of rust, once its there, you can't get rid of it. Sure you can paint it, but is will just keep eating away at the metal.
9 LIft up the mat and make sure whatever floor is underneath, usually wood is strong, and doesn't move when you walk on it. No holes, no breaks in the wood. A mat is great, but a wood floor that is bad can cave in under your horse, mat and all.
Hope this helps.
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-17-2010, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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It does...thank you!! anyone have any additional tips?
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-17-2010, 10:48 PM
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If it is an older style trailer with padding, pull the padding back if you can. Its a great place to hide rust.

We found this one out after buying what seemed like a perfect trailer only to find out that the inside was like riding in razor blades for horses...when they leaned on the padding, the rusty metal came through.
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-17-2010, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Oh wow yeah that's definitely a good tip!!
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post #6 of 6 Old 08-18-2010, 10:58 AM
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Also, make sure the battery is good in the trailer for the electric brakes (If it is equipped with them). Mine has a cable that runs from the small battery box on the trailer and clips to the truck **I don't know what it's called**, that if for some reason the trailer comes disconnected while pulling, the pin pulls from the box and the trailer brakes lock up. With the chains or cables that also connect to the hitch on the truck, it will stop your truck also and hopefully keep you from having major damage to either of them.

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