Looking to purchase a used horse trailer? Afraid that you might be taken “for a ride”?
Here are a few tips on what to look for when purchasing your next trailer to ensure you truly are getting more for your buck!
A word of advice…If you're purchasing from an individual be careful of the old “it’s only been hauled to church & back”.
Do your research & homework first! Ask for recent pictures, not from when they purchased it 6 years ago.
- Does it have a clean title? NO lien holder! You don’t want to be liable for previous owners debt! If your driving quite a ways to look at this thing have them email you a font and back copy first. If they refuse, that is a big red flag!
- What is the overall condition? Rate it in your head between 1-10 for general appearance. If it looks like it’s been jerked through a knothole in the pictures then it probably has been! The lower the “number” the increased likely hood that the trailer has not been properly maintained. Go with your gut!
- How is the Floor? If it’s aluminum does it have any pitting or holes? Pull up ALL the mats & check. Does the floor give when you walk across it? If wood, make sure there are no badly warped, broken or missing boards. Crawl underneath & check the cross members too!
- How are the Axles? If your not an expert on axle articulation (Lord knows I leave that up to my shop!) then let the tires be your guide. If tires on the same axle are wearing odd all the way around there is a good chance you’ve got a bent axle.
- Tires? Just because they are round & rubber doesn’t mean they will last you to the end of the seller’s driveway. If the owner brag’s that it’s got an original rubber, and it’s 6 years old then that is code that you’ll need new tires! BTW: check the VIN plate to verify proper tire size!
- Roof: Check for any leaks! ESPECIALLY in the dressing room or living quarters. Staining around A/C units, windows, or where the nose attaches to the trailer. That silicone caulking on the roof will eventually crack and begin to peel with age. Hale damage? If it’s just cosmetic and there are no leaks then your fine. Keep in mind it will hurt resale.
- Hinges: Make sure they are all free moving, no missing bolts, or cracks in welds. If greaseable hinges then score for you!!!
- Doors & drop windows: Are they solid? Sound silly? Some manufacturers use PLYWOOD as a filler because it’s cheaper. AKA the doors ROT! You’ll find this on economically priced “all aluminum” trailers.
- Dividers: Are the sound? Shut & open easily, are not bent, have no unsafe sharp edges.
- Structure: Look down the side of the trailer, does it have a bow in it? If it is not straight then you might be looking at a wrecked trailer. Are all walls solid? Can you bang on them with your fist and not hear a “waffling” noise? Where the neck attaches to the nose, check here for any “pulling”. Make sure there are no broken welds, loose bolts or “light” between the arch! Especially if you’re considering a bigger, aka longer trailer. The bigger it is the more reinforcement it needs!
There is so much more…but those are a few basic things to look for. Always remember there is a big difference in price vs. cost. Don’t purchase a disposable trailer!