“Most of the newer trailers, gooseneck or bumper-pull, have all gone to the 2 5⁄16" ball, where older trailers might have a two-inch coupler. The 2 5⁄16 is a little safer because it has a heavier weight rating. The two-inch balls are fine for a two-horse bumper pull,” DiBella said.
Also inspect safety chains, making sure they’re heavy duty and attached safely. Check the battery that powers the breakaway brakes, as well.
“If you get stopped for a road check, they will pull the pin and ask you to move the trailer forward to see if the brakes engage. And if they don’t they’ll put you out of service, even if you have a horse on the trailer,” said DiBella.
You can pull the pin and test it yourself, or use a voltmeter to test the charge.
The Overall Picture
Ask the seller how often the trailer was serviced. If it’s been sitting in the driveway for years, it might have more problems than a trailer that’s been maintained yearly. An inspection by a professional mechanic could answer a lot of questions.
“Most of the time, well-maintained used trailers are in good shape, especially if they’re under 10 years old,” Yered said. “Most brands are pretty good. But every trailer brand,
I don’t care which it is, has its own inherent little quirks and problems. Price doesn’t determine whether a trailer is better than another one. The best trailer is the one that works for you, whether it be blue, purple, yellow or aluminum. The right trailer is the safe trailer that your pocketbook will bear.”
If you enjoyed this article and would like to read more like it, consider subscribing. "Take The Guesswork Out Of Buying A Used Trailer" ran in the December 17, 2010 issue. Check out the table of contents to see what great stories are in the magazine this week.
This is the eighth article in our continuing series on Towing and Trailer Safety. Do you have any questions about trailering or anything you’d like to see in this series? Please e-mail [email protected] She would love to hear your thoughts and looks forward to your contributions!