Saturday, September 19, 2020

Trailer Maintenance: Mandatory Fun

All sparkly and clean coming out of the truck wash.

A big part of having a trailer, is trailer maintenance.  It’s not the most fun thing in the world, but it’s a requirement to ensure the safety of the horses.  It’s something that can easily be put off, and shouldn’t be.  Aside from just taking care of your trailer in general (cleaning/greasing), annual maintenance should be a priority.  Not only does it service the parts that needs continuing regular maintenance (brakes/bearings) but it also serves as a thorough inspection of the trailer.  It’s possible for the techs working on it to spot an issue before it gets worse.

Before I left for my work trip I had the annual maintenance done on mine.  The brakes/axles were inspected, bearings packed/greased, and it got a once over.  

I don’t expect any issues out of my current trailer, but you never know.  I have had great luck with Sundowner.  My previous trailer was a Sundowner too and it was a GREAT trailer.  My current trailer is living up to that reputation as well.  I bought my new trailer new in 2017.  Part of why I did this is because I will know its history from the start.  I will know it was taken care of a serviced on a regular schedule.

I also greased all the locks, latches, and springs.  

Some  hinges have grease ports, some don't.

You can use the grease ports on the jack, or you can take the top off and hand grease it.

Using white lithium grease for the hinges that don't have grease ports.

Be careful not to over grease, it can actually just attract more dirt and cause issues.

The two types of grease I used.  If you have a trailer now, you better know what Moly Grease is because you had better be greasing your hitch/coupling at regular intervals.  I always have Moly Grease on hand in the truck/trailer.

The Other half did me a huge favor and power washed the inside of it.  Some truck washes will do it for you if it's empty of all shavings, etc... But some won't.  Blue Beacon here will not.  

I took everything out of my tack room and organized it.  Pulled the mats and scrubbed them, and vacuumed.  The trailer usually gets this type of spa treatment on regular intervals but this time was also in preparation for me to be gone for a few months on a work trip.

This was when I come back it’s ready to go.  My truck is being started regularly too, even though it’s not being drive.  When I get back I’ll still get an oil change and then we’ll be ready to hit the road for some adventures.

Doing what you can on your own will also help you familiarize yourself with how things work and give you the ability to recognize if something isn’t right, just like with horses.  So, being afraid to do some maintenance is bad.  I've sadly seen people who even think it's cute to have someone else to haul their horses around and say how it's that person's "job" and they will be willfully ignorant about the process.  Ok, well maybe it is their "job", but that is still no excuse not to familiarize yourself with equipment that involves YOUR horses.  

Checking fluids, etc on The Beast.  KNOW WHAT IS NORMAL.

Even if your friend/trainer usually hauls you because you don't have a trailer, you really should learn what you can.  What if there is an emergency and that person is unavailable for some reason?  You HAVE to be able to help yourself.  Doing small things like this is where it starts.  Know your equipment's normal.  Even if it is your friend or trainer's equipment, if your horse is in it frequently, make yourself useful.  Know how to change a flat on a trailer, know how to break lugs, know how to tighten lugs in the proper pattern, know the normal squeaks, clicks, bounces, etc... with the truck and trailer.  Know what the normal running temp is on your truck when you're hauling.  Know how to adjust the brake controller, remember to check your fluids regularly.  Know what oil you use in your truck.  Things like this can help you spot a potential issue before it becomes a catastrophe.  I get it, some things just cannot be avoided, but some absolutely can.  Being uneducated isn't cute, it's not funny, it's dangerous.

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