Prepare for Trailer-Driving Season

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Our sister company, USRider, has some good advice to share about horse trailers as travel season begins:

1. Remove and inspect all wheels, hubs and brake drums.

2. Inspect suspension for wear.

3. Check tightness of hanger bolt, shackle bolt and U-bolt nuts per recommended torque values.

4. Check brake linings, brake drums and armature faces for excessive wear or scoring.

5. Check brake magnetic coil with an ohmmeter. The magnetic coil should check 3.2 ohms (+/- 0.3ohms). If shorted or out of tolerance, replace.

6. Lubricate all brake moving parts, using a high temperature brake lubricant.

7. Remove any rust from braking surface and armature surface of drums.

8. Inspect oil or grease seals for wear or nicks. Replace if necessary.

9. Inspect and grease wheel bearings.

In addition to these recommendations, 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. Get a high-quality air pressure gauge, and learn how to use it, so you can inspect tire pressure before each trip. (Trailer tires should be replaced if they're worn or damaged. Otherwise, replacement every three to five years is the rule of thumb.)

It is also important to service the wheel bearings every 12,000 miles, or annually, 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.

We also suggest you consult Dr. Grant Miller's February 2013 article, "Got A Disaster Plan Ready'" for more information on caring for your horses in the event of an emergency.

USRider (www.usrider.org or call 800-844-1409)?is part of the Equine Network, which includes Horse&Rider, EQUUS, Dressage Today, The Trail Rider, Spin to Win Rodeo, American Cowboy, Practical Horseman, and Horse Journal. The Equine Network also publishes a proprietary line of books and DVDs for sale through its store, HorseBooksEtc.com. The Equine Network is home to several websites including: EquiSearch.com, Equine.com, MyHorseDaily.com, DiscoverHorses.com, AmericanCowboy.com, and Horse-Journal.com.