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How to Get Horse Trailer Service When You Need Repairs

As with any road vehicle, your horse trailer is going to need regular maintenance and occasional repair service to keep it performing at its best.  Many horse trailer owners are unsure how to properly care for their trailer, so we’ve created this guide to help with some common concerns.

Always refer to the owner’s manual for specific information about your trailer model.  Any repairs should always be completed by a qualified technician to make sure the job is done well and in a safe manner.

Why We Recommend Using a Qualified Technician for All Service Repairs

If you are a handy person, it may be tempting to work on a horse trailer yourself at home.  However, we strongly recommend that you let a qualified technician perform any repair or update work on your trailer.

First of all, a professional will make sure that the work is done correctly without any damage to your trailer.  Second, many jobs on a horse trailer involve a risk of “crushing” injuries since the trailer needs to be jacked up off the ground.

Brad Heath, owner of Double D Trailers, receives weekly emails from clients asking for instructions on how to perform trailer repairs or updates.  He explained, “If you have to ‘ask’, that’s a 100% sign that you should not be attempting to perform the work on your own.”

For example, even a very simple job like adding an extra tie loop should be performed by a repair shop.  Otherwise, you could run the risk of drilling into the side wall of the trailer and missing the structural upright.  No one wants a bunch of extra holes in the side of their trailer.

“Electrical, brake, bearing, tire service, roof repairs, and most general maintenance should always, always be performed by a qualified repair person,” Brad continued.  “If you aren’t a qualified repair person, don’t attempt it.”

Basic Maintenance Schedule for your Horse Trailer

It is your responsibility, however, to keep track of when regular maintenance or repair work is needed on your horse trailer.  Here is a basic guide:

 


Before Each Use

Item

Maintenance

Breakaway Brakes

Check operation

Breakaway Battery

Fully charged, connections clean

Brakes

Check operation

Hitch Ball and Coupler

Inspect for cracks, pits, and flats.  *Replace if necessary with ball & coupler having the same trailer GVW Rating. 

Lubricate.

Check locking device & *replace when worn.

Safety Chains and Hooks

Inspect for wear and damage

Tires

Check tire pressure.  Inflate to PSI listed on the VIN tag.

Inspect for damage and wear.

Wheel Lugs

Check for tightness.

Inspect Entire Trailer

Inspect structure for damage, cracks and wear.  *Repair or replace worn, damaged or broken parts.

Every 6 Months or 6,000 Miles

Item

Maintenance

Tires

*Rotate and inspect for wear and damage.  Replace if worn or damaged.

Jack

*Pump grease into zerk.

Wheel Bearings

*Pump grease into zerks. 

*Inspect for side-to-side looseness.

Every 12 Months or 12,000 Miles

Item

Maintenance

Trailer Structure, Axles, and Axle Attachment Bolts or Welds

*Inspect welds, bolts, and rivets.  Have worn, damaged, or broken parts repaired by a qualified technician.

Wheel Rims

*Inspect for cracks and damage.  Replace if bent, cracked, or damaged.

Brakes

*Inspect (refer to the axle manufacturers manual.)

Brake Controller

*Check operation (refer to brake controller manufacturers manual.)

*Work should be done by a qualified technician.

 

Some older trailer manuals will also suggest that you adjust your brakes every 200 miles.  The brake system used in current Double D Trailers is self-adjusting and does not need any regular maintenance.

The majority of owners will be fine taking their trailer in once a year for an inspection by a qualified technician.  However, if you do a LOT of traveling, you may wish to keep a written mile log to better track maintenance needs.

General Maintenance You Can Do At Home

As we’ve mentioned, the majority of your horse trailer maintenance needs to be done at a repair shop.  Still, there are some simple things you can do from home that will help keep your trailer performing at its best.

  • Wash your trailer’s exterior and wax it once a year.
  • Keep the interior floor clean and dry.  If you have mats, make sure you remove the mats regularly to clean and dry the floor beneath.
  • Check trailer brake lights, turn signals, and night lights to make sure they are in working order.
  • Check and maintain good tire pressure.
  • Keep your tires covered or indoors to protect from the sunlight.
  • Store the trailer indoors or with a cover to protect from the sunlight.            

How to Deal with a Flat Tire on Your Horse Trailer

sheared study horse trailer tireIf you are presented with a flat tire while you are traveling and a spare tire needs to be installed, then changing your own tire is a reasonable task.  Make sure you know what are you are doing and have the proper tools like a jack and a torque wrench.

If you don’t have a torque wrench (and most people don’t), you’ll only be guessing at the exact torque of the nuts on your tire studs.  In this case, it may be a better idea to have a tire service come out and change the tire for you.  This will ensure you have the correct poundage and torque of the nut on the axle stud.

If a tire service isn’t available, you would need to tighten the nuts to within your physical ability and then have them checked by a professional tire shop as soon as possible.  If the nuts have a low torque (they aren’t on tight enough), then you risk the nuts backing off while you are on the road.  This could result in wallowing out of the holes on the rim, shearing the studs, and ultimately losing the tire and wheel while you are driving. (See photo of a sheared stud to the right.)

In short, an improperly applied tire could be very dangerous for you and other motorists on the road.  Besides losing control of your own rig after a tire failure, the loose tire could go through the windshield of a nearby car resulting in injury or even death.

Do yourself a favor and just let the professionals handle this task for you!

How to Get Horse Trailer Service:  Finding a Technician

Double D Trailers may be able to help you find a qualified technician to help with any issues you experience.  If your trailer is under warranty, we can even arrange for the repair and cover the costs involved.

Most warranty covered trailer repair problems are very minor and we may send out a mobile RV Repair Service for ‘on site’ repair.  Campers and RVs share many of the same maintenance challenges as horse trailers.  They both deal with things like hinges, roof sealants, wiring, axles, and tire maintenance so they are a great option if you are looking for a repair vendor.  They have both the knowledge and the tools necessary for almost all repairs.

If you are having a tire issue, a local tire shop is our recommendation.  For a structural issue, we suggest an auto body repair or weld/fabrication shop.  “We’ve never had an issue in any state (or country for that matter) finding a repair shop,” Brad explained.   “We find the repair service that specializes in repairs only (not sales) perform the best work.”

Occasionally, we will send someone from our own factory to do repair work on your trailer.  For example, we delivered a new living quarters horse trailer to a couple named Harry and Cathy in Washington state.  The trailer was equipped with a stainless steel mirror on the front of the gooseneck.  Although they loved the feature, Harry noticed a very small dent when the sunlight hit it ‘just right.’

After being contacted, we provided two repair options.  1) Harry and Cathy could use a local repair shop.  Or, 2) they could wait for one of our factory techs to make the trip to Washington to insure the job was done properly.  They opted to wait patiently and we did the repair right at their barn.

When looking for a qualified technician (either with or without our assistance), search for keywords like “mobile RV repair service” or “vehicle hitch installation” on Google.  Brad shared, “With social media and the Internet, a bad reputation doesn’t have anywhere to hide these days!  Google reviews are invaluable.”

Any repairs covered under your Double D Trailers warranty should be reported back to us and we will often reach out to a shop directly to arrange a repair.

Contact Double D Trailers with Your Repair Questions

If you have any specific questions about warranties, repairs, or maintenance on your Double D Trailer, please don’t hesitate to contact Brad with your questions.

 


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