USRider Offers Seasonal Tips for Trailer Preparation

During down-seasons, it’s important for horse owners to maintain their trailers. USRider, the national provider of roadside emergency assistance for horse owners, reminds equestrians to spend some time doing preventive trailer maintenance, not only in case an emergency arises but to ensure that their trailers will be in optimal shape for the upcoming riding season.

A recent research project co-sponsored by USRider illustrated the importance of maintaining horse trailers. “The data showed that a leading cause of trailer wrecks is lack of proper maintenance,” said Cole.

Some of the horse trailer maintenance tips include:

1. Remove and inspect all wheels and hubs or brake drums.

2. Inspect suspension for wear.

3. Check tightness of hanger bolt, shackle bolt and U-bolt nuts per recommended torque values.

4. Check brake linings, brake drums and armature faces for excessive wear or scoring.

5. Check brake magnets with an ohmmeter. The magnets should check 3.2 ohms. If shorted or worn excessively, replace.

6. Lubricate all brake moving parts, using a high temperature brake lubricant.

7. Remove any rust from braking surface and armature surface of drums.

8. Inspect oil or grease seals for wear or nicks. Replace if necessary.

9. Inspect and grease wheel bearings.

In addition to these recommendations, USRider advises horse owners to check all trailer tires, (including spares) for signs of dry rot, correct air pressure, faulty air valves, uneven tire wear, overall tire wear and damage. USRider recommends investing in a high-quality air pressure gauge and to inspect tire pressure before each trip. Always replace tires if worn or damaged. In addition, tires should be replaced every three to five years regardless of mileage. When replacing tires, always replace the valve stems. USRider recommends that only tires specifically designed and rated for trailers be used – never use automobile tires on a horse trailer.

It is also important to service the wheel bearings annually, or every 12,000 miles, regardless of mileage due to moisture build-up. Be sure to inspect trailer wiring and lighting; inspect door latches and grease the doors; inspect the floor (be sure to remove any rubber mats so the entire floor can be examined); and inspect and lubricate mechanical moving parts, such as the hitch and suspension parts. If the trailer has been sitting for a while, check for wasp nests, spider webs and any other creatures.

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