A CNN report in June this year confirmed that ten racehorses died in a tractor-trailer crash on the New Jersey Turnpike. It was an accidental occurrence that left nine dead on the spot, while the tenth horse got euthanized at the scene.
Although such accidents are unforeseen, taking simple routine maintenance practices could be all that is needed to avoid the accidents. Maintenance practices not only reduce the potential of accidents occurring but also ensure the trailer lasts and serves longer.
Next time drivers here hit the road with loaded horse trailers, they all better follow these horse trailer maintenance tips.
Test the Braking System
Although drivers apply brakes on the vehicle pulling the trailer, they both brake as a single unit. The brake lights should indicate in even at the rear of the container. That way, motors trailing behind can quickly know when the driver slows down and avoid hitting the trailer from behind. Besides, faulty brakes on the pulling vehicle pose risks to the trailer and the horse as well.
Brake testing should be routine before each trip, and periodic inspection as per the manufacturer’s manual.
Check Tire Inflation
A puncture is not the worst thing that can happen to the trailer, but it will surely not function with flat wheels. Before departing for any trip, drivers should make sure the tires have the right pressure levels.
Both excess and low pressures pose risks. Check the recommended psi on the tire, and be sure to maintain them at that level.
Check the Floors
Trailer floors are mostly made of aluminum, and it is prone to corrosion, especially when exposed to urine and horse manure. The base could be of other material, and most of them are not reliable to last a lifetime. Aluminums floors should be periodically inspected for corrosion, while wooden floors need to get examined for possible breakage.
The support underneath also should be checked and kept in good condition. Cleaning these surfaces is one sure way to make them last longer.
Examine the Doors
Transporting horses on trailers with poorly locking doors is quite a risk for them. The container should always have appropriately locking doors. However, this is only achievable if the users remain keen on lubricating latches, and replacing faulty locks. The hinges should also be regularly checked, cleaned up, and lubricated with recommended lubricants.
Maintain the Entire Trailer Clean
Cleaning is one essential maintenance requirement for almost every other tool. Horses are bound to soil the compartments, so cleaning is inevitable. Besides, it would be unfair to expect racehorses to perform after transporting them to a race in a filthy trailer.
Cleaning both the inside and outside keeps the horse comfortable and lets the unit last longer.
Drivers will travel with more confidence and peace of mind when sure their trailers are in good condition. Horses can get delivered to their destinations on time as routine maintenance eliminates the need to stop midway and fix minor issues.
For those who wish to extend their horse-trailer lives, these tips will surely work out. Besides, it’s quite fulfilling to know they are mindful of other road users’ safety.