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Horse Trailer Maintenance

The lowdown on how best to look after your horse trailer to ensure a long, useful and safe life while helping preserve its re-sale value.

Before each journey:

  • Check the electrics – make sure that brake and indicator lights are working both on the horse trailer and your towing vehicle.
  • Check your hitching – ensure that the brake is off, the jockey wheel raised and the breakaway cable is securely attached.
  • Check your weights – make sure the combined weight of your horse(s) and horse trailer doesn’t exceed the safe towing limit  for your vehicle.
  • Check each tyre for pressure and signs of wear and that your spare tyre is fully inflated
  • Ensure the registration number fixed to your horse trailer matches that of the towing vehicle and is clearly visible.
  • Muck out the horse trailer after every journey, thoroughly clean the floor and allow it to dry before shutting ramps and doors.


Check the floor of your horse trailerGeneral maintenance:

  • If possible, park your horse trailer on hard standing and under cover.
  • Ensure the handbrake is left off while the horse trailer is parked to avoid the blocks sticking to the drums - wheel chocks may be used to prevent the trailer moving while parked.
  • Don’t store the horse trailer with damp bedding on board – ensure any left on is clean and dry to prevent rot.
  • Every so often power wash the horse trailer inside and out, but make sure it’s thoroughly dry before shutting doors and parking again. 
  • Regularly lift the rubber matting to check soundness of floor beneath, especially in horse trailers with timber floors.
  • Check tyres for wear and tear and ensure pressures are correct – and don’t forget to check the spare!
  • Check ramp and door hinges and fastenings are in working order.
  • Spray hinges and wires with WD40 to prevent rust forming.
  • Keep your vehicle’s towball well greased to avoid wear & tear.
  • Every 3 months, use white spirit to clean dirty grease from the hitch cup. Once dry, oil moving parts and re-apply clean grease inside the cup.
  • If parking for long periods, consider removing tyres, standing trailer on blocks and storing tyres undercover to help prevent perishing.

TIP: To check wooden horse trailer floors for signs of rot, use a sharp knife on the upper and underside of the floor – if the blade goes in easily, take the trailer to your nearest dealer for advice.


Annual maintenance tasks:

While it’s strongly advised that you have your horse trailer professionally serviced on an annual basis (search our directory for horse trailer maintenance specialists in your area), at the very least the following tasks need to be undertaken on an annual basis. Your horse trailer’s manufacturer’s handbook should provide further details of how to carry out each task:

  • Inject grease into the hitch overrun brake mechanism’s grease nipple using a grease gun (or every 2,000 to 3,000 miles if sooner).
  • Remove lamp covers to check for corrosion – a preventative squirt of WD40 will help protect them.
  • Invest in a Hella Kleenaplug (available from caravan dealers) to clean out your electrical plug and towing vehicle’s connection socket.
  • Adjust drum brakes (or every 2,000 to 3,000 miles if sooner).
  • Unless fitted with sealed-for-life wheel bearings, your horse trailer’s wheel bearings will need to be greased every two years.
  • Treat any wooden panels to prevent perishing. Wood treatment oil is better than varnishes or paints (which should NEVER be used), although the team received a tip-off that hydraulic oil works just as well - it was duly tested and found to bring the panels on an ageing HB510 up a treat!

Horse trailer maintenance video

Sound quality is not the best, but a good resource none the less.


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Last updated: 18/06/2010
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