what to check out on used trailer? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 11-11-2013, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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what to check out on used trailer?

We've been looking for a good deal on a trailer and I think we finally found what we're looking for: an '04 Trails West Adventure MX 2H bp slant load, looks to be in beautiful condition. It looks hardly used in the photos. (I'm not going to post the ad for location privacy reasons.) I would love advice on what we should be looking at specifically when we go to see the trailer. This is our first trailer shopping experience, so I would love advice on what we should look for when we go to see the trailer. Thanks! :)
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post #2 of 21 Old 11-11-2013, 06:35 PM
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I have never bought a used trailer, but I have a very used trailer. The biggest thing I would absolutely check is the floor. Crawl under the trailer with a flashlight and look for any weak spots in the frame. Rust is to be expected but not complete deterioration of the frame and major joints. Pull mats out and look at the floor from the top. Bad wood can be replaced, as long as the frame is in good condition. Same thing with tires, tires can be replaced, barrings packed, brakes, lights all that can be fixed easily. But if the frame itself is in bad shape pass on it. Paint can cover up rust, so you may not see rusty spots but you can look for any sharp points or odd looking spots. Good luck hope your trailer shopping goes well.
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post #3 of 21 Old 11-11-2013, 06:40 PM
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As above ^^^^ and check the wiring, does it all work? Rewiring something after it as been monkeyed with is a nightmare and costly.
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post #4 of 21 Old 11-11-2013, 06:41 PM
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X2 all the above. Check all the electrical as well - fixable , but if you're not handy and can do it yourself, possibly expensive for you to pay someone to do.

Tires should be an important part of the value - you can easily spend $500-$1000 putting a set of rubber on so if it's in need of tires that should factor into the asking price.

Brakes, well...essential, but aside from testing them (ask for a drag test and make sure all 4 will lock in gravel under maximum manual braking) there's not much more you can do - a proper inspection requires pulling the drums.

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post #5 of 21 Old 11-11-2013, 11:25 PM
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The bearing need to be checked at the same time the brakes are done if it has brakes. A trailer is most inclined to rust where the wood floor sits on the metal frame.
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post #6 of 21 Old 11-11-2013, 11:35 PM
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In addition to what has been said above, try for a test drive to ensure it pulls straight and handles well.

Good luck with it.
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post #7 of 21 Old 11-11-2013, 11:54 PM
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I don't think I can ad anything else to what has already been said, cept in my experience whenever we bought used/older trailers/vehicles/equipment, take a heavy duty magnet with you, if it sticks its good, if it doesn't stick then there might be deterioration that they tried to cover up (example, my hubby went and looked a older truck and the magnet wouldn't stick to the side of the truck, they had used bondo on it and painted over it to hide the fact it had some serious rust issues)

Good luck with trailer shopping :)
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post #8 of 21 Old 11-12-2013, 07:21 AM
Green Broke
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Everyone pretty much covered the basics... so I will add these to the list that will make your life simpler..

Make sure that things that open, open and things that close, close... windows, doors, ramps....being this is a slant, hopefully the trailer has windows with screen and grills, windows lock open for ventilation going down the road but with screens for eye protection and bars so no heads sticking out while traveling (a HUGE no-no)

If the trailer is ramped, open and close it several times and make sure it is easy to close as those ramp springs are a pain and costly... check for rot of wood covered mat ramp and the ramp itself is sound and free of rust.

If this trailer has dividers that are moveable...it moves, if it can be completely removed it can be removed...
Slant trailers should have dividers. Those dividers also need to easily lock in place, open or closed. A butt bar or chain so when you open the trailer the horse doesn't step out on you.

Make sure the trailer frame where the hitch connects is not damaged, has welds not cracked, safety chains are in good shape and both are there. Trailer has some kind of braking system, probably electric brakes....battery in good shape and the wires going to it.
Not every trailer has a emergency disconnect, yours should though because of the age...make sure it is there.
Brakes, find out how many tires actually have "brakes" for stopping. Some manufacturers only do 2 wheels, some do all 4... also depends upon your states laws and what is allowed.

This is a HUGE one....
Make sure your horse will fit in the length/width of the stall... not every horse fits on a slant load truthfully. Long bodies, broad build... you can't always close the dividers.

Most of all make sure it has a clean and clear title...in hand! Not waiting for something that at this age should of been paid off long ago..
Without the proper paperwork on a trailer of this age {title, bank letter of loan paid} it would raise red flags to me that this could be difficult to register.

If all checks out...bring home the new trailer and happy safe trailering both near and far.
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post #9 of 21 Old 11-12-2013, 07:51 AM
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Any trailer over 3000# loaded must have brakes in most provinces and states..so that covers pretty much any horse trailers, probably even singles. There are exceptions, but manufacturers aren't going to make "special" models that exclude brakes over 3K as it would limit their sale in only a handful of vicinities.

Any quality tandem axle trailer will have brakes on both axles - if you find one that has brakes on only 1 of 2 axles it would scream "the manufacturer cheaped out" to me, so I'd be going over the trailer really carefully elsewhere to see what else they may have cheaped out on.

-- In the great white north - Canada!
Every ride is a lesson, for you AND your horse - Newbies read this thread!
Thinking of buying an older trailer? Go in eyes wide open!
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post #10 of 21 Old 11-16-2013, 04:29 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Thanks for all the advice! Unfortunately the 2H got sold before we saw it, so we're back to square one...now we're hoping for a 3H so we can take a friend. I like the Adventure 3Hs with all stock sides...hoping one will come our way soon.
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