Horse Trailer Drivers Urged to Use Air Pressure Monitor

Flat tires are the leading cause of disablements involving horse trailers. USRider is involved in a research project with Dr. Tomas Gimenez to test the benefits (if any) of using air vs. nitrogen to inflate tow vehicle and horse trailer tires. An electronic air-pressure monitoring system is being used to assist with the research. During the research, Dr. Gimenez and USRider have noted significant safety benefits resulting from using this system.

"At USRider, we are all about safety when it comes to trailering horses. After five years of doing what no other company has ever done - providing emergency roadside to traveling equestrians - we strongly believe installing an air-pressure monitoring system is one of the most proactive steps one can take to prevent a blowout," said Mark Cole, managing member for USRider.

While blowouts often occur without warning, they typically result from the under-inflation of tires, which causes excessive heat build-up. This is especially evident during the summer driving season when roads are hot. Under-inflated tires run hotter than tires that are properly inflated. The use of a monitoring system can significantly lower the incidence of a blowout. Some commonly used systems include PressurePro, SmarTire and Tire Sentry.

"From the standpoint of preventing a breakdown due to tire failure while trailering horses, this is one of the best products we have seen in a long time. The system works by constantly monitoring pressure through wireless transmitters located on each valve stem. A drop or increase in pressure of 10 percent or more will sound an alarm in the cab. This gives the driver the opportunity to take appropriate action before the tire goes completely flat or blows out," said Cole.

"Right now, many people are driving dual-wheeled vehicles with a flat inside rear tire. While the inside tire may look inflated, it's actually being supported by the outside tire, which is doing all of the work and can overheat and fail. This situation is easily detected by one of these systems," said Dr. Gimenez.

For horse trailers, horse owners should follow the inflation recommendation listed on the sidewall of the tire. For tow vehicles, it is recommended to follow the inflation guidelines for that vehicle - please consult your owner's manual or see the inflation placard on the vehicle.

It is recommended that horse owners check the air pressure of all tires, including spares, at least monthly. Additionally, it is recommended that tire pressure be checked before traveling, when the tires are cold.

USRider also recommends that only tires specifically designed and rated for trailers be used - never use automobile tires on a horse trailer.

"Numerous air-pressure monitoring systems are available. We recommend systems that monitor air pressure constantly (when the vehicle is parked and not in use) and do not require dismounting of tires to install," said Cole. Additionally, USRider recommends monitoring spare tires.

For additional safety tips, visit the Equine Travel Safety Area on the USRider website at www.usrider.org.  

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