Guest Author - Kim Wende
Shopping for a trailer can be so much fun, but it can also be frustrating. You will want to take into consideration the type of trailer you want. Will it be a tongue pull or gooseneck? Aluminum or steel? How many horses will you be hauling? Can your vehicle safely handle the trailer you choose?
You may only have one or two horses, but take into consideration that you may want to take along a friend or two if you go to a horse show or trail ride.
When looking for a used trailer there are several things you will want to look for otherwise you may spend a lot of money repairing a used trailer. Take someone with you that is knowledgeable about trailers to help you go over the trailer.
Make sure the trailer is the right size for your horse. Horses are claustrophobic and you don't want them to feel cramped or trapped. Make sure there is plenty of light and that there is good ventilation.
Things to look for when buying a used trailer:
*Look the body over for damage or rust. (You will not find rust on an aluminum trailer only steel trailers)
*Inspect the floor by removing the mats. If it is a steel trailer look for rust especially in the corners. Trailers with a wooden floor look at the boards are there any holes, cracked or rotted boards? Get in the trailer and jump up and down to see how secure the floor is. Keep in mind that a wood floor will not conduct heat like an aluminum floor will.
*Check the windows do they open easily? Are any of them cracked?
*Do the doors shut and open properly? You don't want to be going down the road and have a door pop open.
*Check the wiring for the lights to make sure they are not split or cracked. Make sure the lights all work (clearance, brake lights and blinkers) if it has an inside light check that as well. Make sure the plug that goes from the trailer to your vehicle is compatible.
*Look underneath trailer is there any major rust or corrosion that could be a safety issue?
*Are the mats in good shape? If not you will need to replace them in order to protect your horse from injuries.
*Does the hitch work properly? Are there any broken or missing pieces like safety chains or the cotter pin? Does the jack work properly?
*Check the tires are they in good shape with plenty of tread? Make sure the tires don't have any odd wear patterns or sidewall damage. Is there a spare tire? Are all of the tires the same or different brand?
*Ask for records of any maintenance that was done such as wheel bearings being repacked. If no records then listen for loud or funny noises when pulling the trailer.
*Check to make sure the brakes work. You can test the brakes by taking the trailer to a parking lot and brake hard to see if the trailer stops correctly as it should stay directly behind you.
*If it is a trailer that has living quarters it may have a water system be sure to check the electric pump, holding tank, and water heater. Make sure the batteries to power these systems work as they can be costly to replace. If it has an air conditioner make sure it is in good working condition and that it cools. Some trailers will have a heater which run from propane so make sure the line and appliances are leak free and that everything works properly.
*Last but, not least make sure you have the right size of ball on your vehicle. Don't try to pull the trailer with the wrong ball size as that could be a wreck waiting to happen.
Most trailers will come with a title unless it is shop made. There will be an added cost to you for the title transfer, sales tax and a license plate.
Don't buy the first trailer you come across as it would be best to check out as many trailers as you can before making the final decision. Don't let anyone talk you into buying a trailer as you may regret it. Another thing to take into consideration is that a metal trailer can be repaired with a regular welder where an aluminum trailer takes a mig welder, which is more expensive for repairs.