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Horse Trailer Worries
By Maddy Butcher
I loaned my trailer to neighbors so they could cart their pigs to slaughter. They returned it with a flat but we didn’t realize it until I hitched up and loaded up two weeks later.
They graciously paid for a new tire (the flat could not be repaired).
Still, not having a spare bothered me. At great expense (about $160), I decided to buy one.
In the many years of trailering, I’d neve
r gotten a flat before this incident. And even then, nothing really bad happened.
But I didn’t want to be caught spareless again.
Little did I know how serendipitous my purchase would be.
Just 10 days after throwing the wheel into the bed of my truck, I got another flat. There was my shiny new spare just waiting to be used.
In this case, I was lucky:
-- I didn’t have a horse on board.
-- I was with a friend who just happened to have a floor jack handy. He got me on my way in five minutes. (Thanks, Rick!)
As I hauled the horse to New Hampshire, I felt fortunate but also determined to repair the tire as soon as possible.
I’ll never travel without a spare again!
Some other thoughts:
Your truck jack probably won’t work for your trailer. Best to purchase a $20 floor jack to do the job.
Those Trailer Aids (image at right) do a good job, too. And some say they’re much easier than jacks.
USRider is the AAA for horse folks. Many people love this organization. Their website has a ton of helpful information, especially concerning travel safely.
View Reader Comments:
I have a Trailer-Aid jack for changing tires on my horse trailer. I have used it four or five times. It makes changing tires so easy, and you don't have to take the horse off the trailer. Just make sure that you loosen the lug nuts slightly on the flat tire before using the jack, else the flat tire will spin when you try to loosen the lugs. Never travel without a good spare tire.
We Patricia's think alike!! Excellent advice, Ms. Jensen. I would add a few things: One is to be sure you have a lug wrench the right size. I had a blowout going down I-91 in Holyoke MA a few years ago. My trailer tires had LOOKED good (good tread, correctly inflated), but they were OLD, which is another thing to keep in mind about your rig. The tread exploded off (and they were NOT retreads!) on the right hind on my gooseneck. It peeled back the aluminum fender (god only knows what my poor horse thought with the sudden bomb noise), but the core tire still had air. I pulled ahead to where I wasn't beside the guardrail and grabbed my four-way socket and discovered it was the wrong size for my trailer lugs. But I had USRider membership (Triple A won't even come for a 1-ton, much less anyone hauling a trailer). They were SUPER to deal with. The guy who showed up had me pull off into a spacious Holiday Inn parking lot so we could be safe. I replaced all 5 tires the next week, since they were all the same vintage (about 10 years old).
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