Archive for May, 2010
By Libby Keenan
With special thanks to Marilyn Fahringer for the following tips!
Springtime Trailer Check
Now should be the time to have your trailer checked over before the show/clinic season starts. Hopefully you “winterized” your trailer last fall, ie: pulling all the mats out & sweeping, washing the floors ( & walls) all down. If the trailer is stored outside, cover the tires from the sun as sunlight rots the rubber. We would hang the mats after washing them, over the center divider or stand on end during the winter to make sure the floor boards stayed dry. Also important is to spray all the hinges (etc) with WD40 or another kind of lubricate grease.
Your trailer will probably need to be “certified” by a licensed mechanic. They will check all the lights, brakes, tires, etc. for safety requirements (mandated by your province, state or county) , and issue a new certification sticker. Remember too that the tow vehicle ALSO must be certified. For those who do not do this procedure the following should be looked at ( make sure that you are under the classification- IF stopped – and you are NOT in compliance a fine will ensue).
These are some of the things you should check on your trailer so that when you are heading off to a clinic or show your trailer will be in top notch shape!
Lights: hook up to your tow vehicle and makes sure all the stop, running & brake lights are working.
Brakes: pull the trailer to make sure the brakes are stopping properly & if you have a brake control (which all tow vehicles SHOULD be using) make sure the setting is okay and that the brakes do not all of a sudden grab & the tires lock up. This is especially hard on your horse if this happens & makes for a pretty uncomfortable ride for them.
Check & oil all hinges: Check for any sharp corners inside etc.
Check the floor boards: dry rot can makes the floor very hazardous ( we would always put a coat of Thompsons water seal on our floorboards in the spring & let dry well before putting the mats back down this saves the flooring as urine cannot soak into the boards be SURE to pull mats & wash floors down after every use during the summer).
Check tire pressures and tread: if your tires are 4 years old or older you should have a reputable tire dealer look them over to make sure they have not “rotted” & are wearing properly. Most dealers will gladly check tires for no charge. They can make sure the tires are inflated properly & in good condition. If you need to buy tires make sure they are TRAILER tires & not just car/truck tires. Trailer tires are usually load rated higher & have greater sidewall ratings. Again, talk to a knowledgeable trailer /tire person. It’s always a good idea to carry a PROPER spare for your trailer – inspect it as well to make sure it is inflated properly it too should NOT be left out in the sun and if mounted on the side of the trailer. It should have a tire cover on it. In your trailer dressing room or truck, carry a proper wheel wrench in case of a flat.
Wash & wax: We would always give the trailer a wash job and (yes!!) waxed it. I know- sounds nuts BUT , it was always easier to wash the bugs off the nosecone after use, if, (at least) the front had been waxed. In addition, if & when you sell or trade it in, helps keep the trailers value.
Inspect the hitch & lube it.
Check the tow chains and electrical plug.
Kit check: Check your first aid kits ( human & horse) to make sure bandages, ointments, aspirin, banamine (or peptobismol & turkey baster) for possible colic (etc) are not stale-dated. Replace anything that had been used out of it. Check your “kit bag”: pins, needle & thread etc. Make sure you have emergency phone numbers in a clear ziplock hanging or taped in a conspicuous place with any medication/allergy information that you have, and make sure someone knows where this information is in case of an emergency. If you have a cell phone- put in any “ICE” #’s (“ice” is “in case of emergency” #’s). Any emergency persons will know if an emergency happens, they will look at the cell phone & have the contact persons info at hand.
Having all these things done early in the springtime gives you peace of mind when heading down the road . Things do (& can go wrong) but are much less likely too if you spend a little time in the spring (& fall) – Know your equipment.
Happy hauling!!!! Marilyn Fahringer of Fahr Acres Farm