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Horse Trailer Safety and Tune-Up Tips

Published: 4/11/2013
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Editor's Note:
Spring means getting the cobwebs out of training AND trailering. Read related blog post.
Elm City Trailer's Bobby Fantarella has these suggestions for making sure the riding season is full of good, SAFE times. Some of these tips are Do It Yourself. Others need a mechanic.

Thanks, Bobby!

Most manufacturers recommend service every 12,000 miles or every 12 months. Since most people will never put 12,000 miles on it, annual service is cheap insurance. 
Basic service consists of:
  • pulling the wheels
  • re-packing the bearings with fresh grease
  • putting new seals back.
One crucial thing people seem to forget is to check the air pressure in all the tires. Low pressure can cause sway, poor tire wear, etc.
ALSO, when putting proper air pressure in tires, DON’T forget to check the spare, too.

  • Check that all running lights, blinkers, and brake lights are working.
  • Check the ‘break-away’ battery. That little guy engages your brakes if your trailer ever became separated from the tow vehicle.
**** To check to see if the 'break-away' battery is still working:   While the trailer is properly hooked up, pull the safety key out. Then try to move the vehicle a few feet. If you can feel the brakes working, your fine. If you don’t feel any breaking, chances are your battery is shot or you have other wiring problems.
As for the flooring:
  • At least 3-4 times a year you should pull the mats out of the trailer.
  •  Wash the floor and the bottom of the mats.
  • While the mats are out, inspect the floor. Even aluminum floors can have problems if urine is left to sit between the mats and the floor.
  • If everything is ok, wait until both the mats and the floor are completely dry before putting them back in the trailer.


  • Lubricate your hitch, hinges on doors, ramps, etc.  (WD-40, PB Blaster, spray grease, etc.)
  • Just give your trailer a good ‘once over’ checking for any problems. Window trim, screens hanging out, etc.
Take care of you trailer, and it will take care of you, along with its precious cargo!

Read about preparing for a long haul.

View Reader Comments:

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4/11/2013 Ann
Thanks for this reminder. I know I should "check things over" in the spring, but now I can be more specific in knowing just what to check.
4/12/2013 Millie
Thanks for the information as I am a new at the horse trailer upkeep and found this information very helpful. I have found that an ounce of prevention can save a lot of time and money! Thanks again
4/13/2013 Missy
Thanks, Maddy. My trailer doesn't get much use but that doesn't mean I need to ignore upkeep.
3/27/2015 Barb Lincoln
And be sure to check for any bee or wasp nests in corners, metal dividers etc

"My horses are my friends, not my slaves" - Dr. Reiner Klimke