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TRAILER SAFETY CHECKLIST

Spring is almost here, and with it comes good weather.
Here are some tips from
Horse Safety Specialist, Michelle Staples,
to get you out on the road.

We're all anxious to be playing with our horses, whether on the trail or competing in shows. Now is the time to make sure your trailer will be ready when you need it.

If you're like most of us, your trailer has been sitting idle over the winter. Harsh weather takes its toll on mechanical equipment, so it is wise to go over your trailer with a "fine-toothed comb" before hitting the roads. Writing down a plan and sticking to it is the safest way to make sure all problems are fixed; all areas of concern addressed.

Start by taking some pictures of the trailer from the front, sides and back. Print them up on plain paper so you can write over them. List the main areas you need to check on the back of one sheet, and then start a visual check of the trailer. These areas are: tires and wheels, floor and body, brakes, hitch, wiring, suspension, safety equipment including first aid kit.

CHECKLIST:

TIRES AND WHEELS

  • Are tires in good condition? Look for bulges, slices, bare spots, worn tread.
  • Are tires the right size for the load?
  • Rotate the tires, including balancing and properly inflating them.
  • Clean and repack wheel bearings and replace seals.
  • Are the wheel lugs tight? Are they all there?
FLOOR AND BODY
  • Check for floor for soft spots, rotting, splintering. This includes the ramp if you have one.
  • Replace damaged floor boards and treat floor with a preservative.
  • If you are using mats, do they fit snugly? Are they worn and need replacing?
  • Check metal for rust.
  • Check fiberglass for damage.
  • Check the registration to be sure it's up-to-date. Make sure the license plate is positioned so there are no sharp edges exposed.
  • Check and oil all hinges, dividers, doors, locks, and windows.
  • Check all gaskets and molding to ensure good fit of windows.
BRAKES AND HITCH
  • Clean and oil the jack stand.
  • Grease the ball and the coupler.
  • Inspect and service the brake drums and wheels.
  • Check fluid levels and lines to hydraulic brakes.
  • Do a loaded and unloaded drive test to check for even stopping.
  • Inspect emergency trailer brake battery.
  • Check levelness of hitched trailer.
WIRING AND SUSPENSION
  • Do all the lights work?
  • Is the wiring intact, clean and secured?
  • Grease the springs, shackles if appropriate.
  • Check shock absorbers and bushings.
  • Tighten up the axle bolts.
SAFETY EQUIPMENT
  • Is your first aid kit complete?
  • Is your truck and trailer safety kit complete?
  • Do you have extra halters and lead ropes?
By spending the time to prepare for the road, you help to ensure the safety of your precious cargo, yourself and your fellow travelers. Happy trails!