USRider Offers Trailer Preparation Tips for Travel Season

Before the start of the travel season, it is critically important for horse owners to perform basic, yet essential, maintenance on horse trailers. USRider, a national provider of roadside emergency assistance for horse owners, reminds equestrians to invest time doing routine preventive trailer maintenance, which will help trailers remain in optimal shape to provide safe travel for precious cargo during the season.

To help keep horses and their owners safe during the travel season, USRider shares some of those helpful tips from its Equine Travel Safety Area to consider:

  • Remove and inspect all wheels and hubs or brake drums prior to use each travel season.
  • Inspect trailer suspension for wear.
  • Check tightness of hanger bolt, shackle bolt and U-bolt nuts per recommended torque values.
  • Check brake linings, brake drums, and armature faces for excessive wear or scoring; Replace if necessary.
  • Check brake magnetic coil with an ohmmeter. The magnetic coil should check 3.2 ohms (+/- 0.3ohms). If shorted or out of tolerance, replace.
  • Lubricate all brake moving parts, using a high temperature brake lubricant.
  • Remove any rust from braking surface and armature surface of drums.
  • Inspect oil or grease seals for wear or nicks. Replace if necessary.
  • Inspect and grease wheel bearings.

In addition to these recommendations, owners are advisedto check all trailer tires, (including spares) for signs of dry rot, correct air pressure, faulty air valves, uneven tire wear, overall tire wear, and damage. Investing in a high-quality air pressure gauge, learn how to use it, and inspect tire pressure before each trip. Always replace tires if worn or damaged. In addition, tires should be replaced every three to five years regardless of mileage. When replacing tires, always replace the valve stems.

USRider recommends that only high quality tires specifically designed and rated for trailers be used - never use retread or automobile tires on a horse trailer. According to General manager Bill Riss, "Quality tires are like fine leather shoes, they only hurt once--when you pay for them."

It is also important to service the wheel bearings annually, or every 12,000 miles, regardless of mileage, due to moisture build-up. Keep a spare set of wheel bearings in your trailer in case of premature failure. Be sure to inspect trailer wiring and lighting; inspect door latches and grease the doors; inspect the floor (be sure to remove any rubber mats so the entire floor can be examined); and inspect and lubricate mechanical moving parts, such as the hitch and suspension parts. If the trailer has been sitting for a while, check for wasp nests, spider webs and any other creatures.

Riss also reminds equestrians to check the contents of their equine and human first-aid kits. "Any depleted and out-of-date items should be replaced," he said.

Horse owners are also advised to use ICE (In Case of Emergency) in their cell phones. This important initiative was designed to aid emergency responders in identifying victims and determining who needs to be notified. Implementing ICE is easy. Program your emergency contact information into your cellular phone and designate it with the acronym ICE. Horse owners should also ensure that their emergency contact information is stored in their tow vehicle. 

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