Maintaining your Horsebox or Trailer

It is November now and I am thinking about essential horsebox and trailer maintenance. Are you? Breaking down with horses on board is distressing. Safely maintaining your vehicle and making it road worthy is therefore very important.

Do not just park up and forget about your vehicle. Check things now. Make sure everything is in order.
Of course you thoroughly check your vehicle every time you use it. And you clean it out after use.
But notwithstanding this, a more extensive check like a service is necessary. It can be annually or bi annually depending on the amount you use your vehicle. Horse boxes will have annual MOT testing or plating certificate inspection.

Check Points

  • Make sure your lorry or trailer has at least an annual service, including a thorough check on the brakes and cables. For lorries this will include fluid changes. Always use a reputable registered company or an approved dealer.
  • Power-wash the outside and underside of your vehicle, especially after use, to get rid of any excess mud.
  • Check your flooring, ramps, divider/s etc for signs of rot. Check the hinges, springs and latches to make sure they are both secure and in good working order. Replace any parts that are rotten, broken or missing.
  • Make sure your transport is taxed and insured suitable for use, as required.
  • Check that the lights and indicators are working correctly and that the casings are not cracked or broken.
  • Check wheel nuts and for lorries check oil levels, radiator water levels and adblu levels (if required). Regular starting and running of the engine to keep the batteries charged up and parts from seizing is advised. Hook up for your lorry may be necessary and make sure this is working correctly and the electrics are not damaged.
  • Check flooring regularly for signs of any rotting or decay. Especially wooden floors – reports of floors collapsing while horses are being transported are not uncommon and can result in serious injury!
  • Don’t forget…

  • Remove floor matting or bedding, power-wash inside, sweep out thoroughly and allow drying thoroughly before replacing.
  • Regularly and methodically check the tyres for signs of wear. Bulges, splits, cracks etc. Check tyre tread and pressure. Replace any tyres on the legal limit. Do not forget to check the spare tyre/s as well.
  • For lorries that have a living, clean inside thoroughly. Including fridges, ovens etc. Disinfect toilets and showers. Empty tanks. Cushions and fabrics can be checked for any mending that is required.
  • For trailers – ensure the towing hitch is the correct height for the trailer. Check that the trailer can be towed level, to prevent uneven tyre wear. Lubricate the tow hitch well and check it has no missing parts. Check the jockey wheel is in good repair. Lubricate the clamp. Check the pin and chains are not broken.
  • Always carry a charged mobile phone. Even on short journeys. Carry the emergency helpline number for your breakdown/recovery company, vet and insurance company. Keep this in the glove box of your towing vehicle or in the cab of your lorry.

    During winter check your box or trailer regularly. Especially if you are not planning to be out as much. The weather can affect your vehicle if you store it outside. Consider tyre covers, trailer top or tow hitch covers for example. Do not store under trees. Try to avoid damage from branches when windy. Barn stored is the ideal situation where possible. You will have years of good service and use from your vehicle if you maintain it well and regularly.

Comments 1

  1. I liked that you had mentioned checking the floor of the trailer if it’s wood to catch any decay or rotting before it becomes a problem. My neighbor had recently purchased a used horse trailer and he’s been asking me to help him get some small problems fixed before he can transport his horses. I’ll be making sure that the flooring isn’t having any issues, I hadn’t been aware that so much could go into the maintenance of a trailer, I think he might just have to reach out to a professional to handle some of the more complex repairs needed.

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