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