Hey everyone … Larry here …
In my previous post, I talked a little bit about some of the questions you should ask yourself before heading out on a trip with your horse and your trailer. I also talked about the various things you should look for on the outside of your horse trailer before heading down the road with your horse.
Now what about your Wheels and Tires!
It could be assumed that your wheels, tires and axles are all properly matched to each other, but it sure wouldn’t hurt to check. The wheel and the axle must have enough capacity to carry the load of the tire, trailer, and the weight of your horse or horses. If these elements don’t match properly, the load you’re carrying may exceed the capacity of your axle, or if the tire doesn’t properly fit the wheel, you might be creating the potential for a serious accident.
You also need to check the lug nuts or bolts of the wheel to make sure the wheels won’t separate from the axle. The wheels’ lug nuts and bolts have to be torqued before the first use of the season, and every time a wheel is removed. You should also check the torque at the 25-mile range, just to make sure things are holding well. Check it again at the first rest stop, and then regularly. Your axles are carrying a lot of weight, so you need to check the lug nuts and bolts to ensure road safety.
You should also remove the wheel hub so you can inspect the bearings and the brake drums. The bearings probably have to be cleaned and maybe replaced, and no matter what, they’ll need lubrication. Some axles have an easy-to-use lubrication method allowing you to lubricate the bearings without removing the axle hubs. Just know that the bearings have to be checked at least once a year.
More trailer tires wear out because of rot than thin treads. Trailer tires can also dry out and crack, so take a close look at the rubber. A long trip on brittle tires is not a good way to travel! The other critical factor to check is your tires’ pressure, and making sure the tires have equal pressure. If the tires don’t match, you might wind up with a trailer that’s swaying as you drive, and you’ll create uneven tire wear. You also want to make sure the tires are appropriately rated for carrying the intended load. Remember also that the tire capacity and rating on the side wall of the tire may not be correct for a tire used on a trailer. Here is a helpful guideline: if you have LT and ST tires, the capacity rating that’s molded into the tire is correct; if you’re using passenger car tires, divide the capacity molded into the tire by 1.10.
One last thing:
always check your tire inflation pressure when the tires are cold, before they have been used on the road. Then, inflation pressure should be checked weekly so you can benefit from the best possible tire life and tread wear.