Make sure the brakes and lights are working. Get underneath and take a look at the axles and the rear braces that hold the floor in. Horse urine is very caustic to metal. If the trailer wasn't washed out regular those braces could be badly rusted.
Make sure the axles are straight. A lot of places that horse trailers are taken are notorious axle benders.
Thanks for the Vidaloco! I too am looking for a used trailer (have to upgrade due to new horses) and was unsure of everything I needed to consider. I'm fortunate to have a handy Pa that gives mechanical things a once over before purchase, but 'I' would like to know what to look for. I'll be following this thread.
Well it depends on how used of a trailer your looking at. Main points are
tires= no crackes in the sidewalls (check inside wall also) even if tread is good cracks aren't You can blow a tire after it heats up....
lights = ask owner to hook up the trailer to see that all lights work, signals work...
Axels= yes check them for any bends
Shackles = these are movable supports between the springs on some older trailers They wear out also but they flex with the 2 axels
Frame = look for severe rust especailly along the floor braces and where the wall meets the floor.
Floor = wood = check for rotten spots especailly were the wood goes into the metal frame. Check the roof for pitting and the tube frameing. If the trailer is aluminum check for corrosion mainly in the floor area of horse area.
Brakes = again have owner hook up trailer to show you that the brakes work. IF no brakes on trailer walk away!
Also make sure the VIN tag is still attached to the trailer and that it matches the title.
If your vehicle is set up to tow ask the owner of you can take it for a spin to make sure that the trailer tracks straight and doesn't go all over the place empty...
Also www.horsetrailerworld.com has alot of great info in thier forum area and they also have a trailer for sale section.
To check a wood floor stab it in different areas witha screww driver to see if it is soft. You cannot always tell visually. Crawl under it and look for excessive rust on the frame. If you are not knowledgeable I would have a mechanic check it over for bearings, brakes, wiring and such
I would definitely get a mechanic to inspect any trailer you have visually "OK'd".
You can rule out some trailers based on your knowledge, but if you find a trailer you want at the right price it is always a good idea to get a mechanic to look at it. Also keep in mind that it is possible to repair a trailer, but it is costly, and you need to find someone willing to do it.
And really, really make sure the electrical is working. Electrical is a huge PITA to fix and even if you rewire the whole trailer you may still have problems (been there and done that).
Yes make sure the wiring is in order and if it has electric breaks that they are working. My trailer is supposed to be wired to run off of an outlet (it has an a/c) well they used the wrong wires and melted some of them. We can't get to the ones in the wall and so if those ever go bad I am in a heap of trouble. We have replaced everything that we can get to. Our friend wen to fix the brakes on our trailer and we found that the magnets on on wheel had come off and the breaks weren't even wired (the wires had broke). Anyway thank goodness for friends who work on trailers for a living. I would not have paid as much for my trailer if I had known but the lights were working when we bought it.
I was going to buy a used trailer on a buget of 2,000 last month. When I started looking around I was a bit concerned with what I was seeing and the ones I liked were 3,000 and more. I live in Florida and drove up to Macon Georgia and bought a brand new Carry On trailer. 2 horse slant, step up, with divider, front tack dressing room with 2 saddle racks and a window up front, dual axle brakes, saftey break feature, spare tire, only weighs 2200lb and best of all the tack room wall can open up and you can use the trailer for hauling other stuff as well! Brand new 3610.00! I love it! if you want pics or place I got it let me know!!