What to look for when looking for a trailer
I've been looking around for my first trailer (exciting!) lately, and finding out a lot about them in general.
But what sorts of questions should I be asking of the sellers?
I know what I want pretty specifically (2-horse bumper pull, straight load w/ramp, no mangers but walk-under with the escape doors instead, enclosed trailer (windows), new or used for under $6,500.
It's hard to find them since that seems to be what EVERYONE is looking for these days, but I've found a couple of prospects, just wanting to learn more about the frame, undercarriage, axels, etc. that make the trailer sound.
Also, how long is the average trailer's "life span" (assuming it was well taken care of)? I'm talking in NE Ohio where where have winters so the trailers will be seeing snow and some road salt ;-)
My trailer was $8000. It has a 5 year warranty on the paint and lifetime on they yolk or frame I believe. Its a Cotner. It is hard to find a really nice one under $6000 or so. I was looking for years. Its a 2006 I think. It has minimal use, great floors and comes with all the mats ect. I usually wax mine up before winter and park it in the yard. It you take care of it and keep it clean salt shouldnt be a big issue. I looked into trailer covers, but I do fine without one. This is something I wouldnt buy off line without first seeing, and getting inspected. Floors are the most important to look at. They rot but can easily be replaced. Cotner gives used trailers a makeover and basically rebuilds them. Not sure how much, but probably less then a new one. Other places around you might do that.
I expect my trainer to last 10 years atleast. I like the fiberglass roof (thats were i see alot of rust on used ones.) I refuse to get a stock trailer, they are more exposed to the elements inside, and are more prone to rotting floors.
Cotner makes a nice trailer. Their factory is fairly close to where I used to live in Bucks Cty, PA and I visited their place numerous times.
What I look for is general condition in terms of appearance. If the trailer looks good, ie, floor is solid, wiring is in good shape, no visible rust, tires are good (be sure they are trailer tires, not passenger tires), and is the right size for my purpose then I'll continue my inspection, if not, I'll pass on it. After that, I climb under the trailer and check for rust, then I'll jack the trailer up to check the springs, and wheel bearings. If all that passes my inspection, I'll ask to drive it to be sure it tracks right and that the brakes work. Once that is finished, I'll try to negotiate the price.
Thanks everyone! iridehorses, what exactly do you look for (what's good, what's bad) when you look at the springs and wheel bearings? I'm just trying to learn to be a good inspector of trailers, and don't know much except the basics about them now!
I'm going to go check one out today but it's a 1990 so kinda old...I'll take some pics to bring back onto this thread for critique. Thanks for the help everyone!! :-)
I've fooled with cars, trucks, and motorcycles my whole life. I would suggest taking someone with you who knows how to check those things for you.
As for an older trailer .... I love the older ones. If they've been maintained, the age means nothing to me and they can be a great bargain. Just be sure the inside dimensions are proper for your horse and take the trailer for a ride to see how it tracks.
I would take it to a garage to be inspected or have the seller drop it off and you pay, because you could miss something.
Cotner is about 20 minutes from my house. I just drove by this morning. It seems alot of places that make trailers arent selling them like they used to. I drove by this morning and I saw a pretty full lot. I know they arent doing well because they're not open saturdays anymore and only half day on friday. Right now is a great time to get a deal on an 09 model. You have a great deal more negotiating power because of the economy as well.
You also have to think down the road. I have an average horse trailer, because I have two short qhs but my friend has a 16+hh ottb. She barely fits in there, and I dont think Id tow her again because shes likely to hit her head. An average horse trailer is usually smaller than one built specifically for heavier or taller horses. If the trailer is at someones barn I would ask them to put a horse in it, see how much room there is.
I would certainly have a professional look over anything older than 10 years. I've seen a lot of trailers spend most of their life axle deep in muddy fields rusting away.
Ok so I got back from the place today and below are some photos I took of the trailer...I'm going to pass on this one, a little too much rust for my liking!
My friend has the same trailer, same age too, but hers is much much nicer! It's in far better condition because they really took care of it and it was also stored inside before they got it so it's been protected from the nasty saltiness of the NE Ohio winters! ;-) She's selling hers eventually but not until she gets another one first, so I may buy it off her someday depending on when and how much she wants for it.
But in the meantime, it doesn't hurt to look around and learn all about trailers to make sure I'm getting a solid, fair deal and one that will last for me. :-)
Here's some of the floors too, when we pulled the rubber mats up...and then a couple other misc. ones too. That last one I took by actually sticking my camera underneath the trailer and using the flash, just looking for rust in the undercarriage.
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