The mud is gone, temps are rising and springtime riding and horse show season is finally upon us! Are your trailer and tow vehicle tires ready for safe trailering?
A leading cause of horse trailer accidents is the blow out of a tire, particularly a STEERING TIRE on the TOW VEHICLE!
In addition to having your annual inspection and required maintenance performed by a recognized trailer service professional, these few tips can help keep you and your horse safe this season:
- Did you know that tires have a birthday? And that that date is molded into their sidewall?
Look at your tires (all eight of them, plus spares!) and find four numbers in an oval… The first two numbers are the WEEK that the tire was made, and the last two are the YEAR.
The numbers in this picture show a tire that was made the 14th week of 2013. This tire will reach the end of its safe horse trailering service life at the end of March in 2018.
Your tow vehicle and horse trailer tires should be replaced, regardless of condition or miles traveled, when they are FIVE YEARS OLD! And that is from the date they were made, not from the date you put them on – many tires sit for a long time before being sold or mounted, but their SAFE service lifespan clock is already ticking!
- Make sure all of your tires are in good condition and without any defect, and that they are properly inflated. The proper PSI for tires for horse trailers is much higher than those for automobile tires! Don’t guess – read the proper inflation information printed on your trailer tires!
- Make sure your horse trailer tires are ‘ST’ tires and NOT ‘LT’ tires! Tires meant for light trucks are NOT suitable for use on horse trailers! Horse trailers have an entirely different type of suspension than automobiles and require tires that can handle the pounding… Also, trailer wheels and tires travel very differently than those on automobiles, so tire side walls are under much greater stress, especially when cornering.
- Horse trailer tires should, at a minimum, be Load Range D or E and should be rated for the loaded weight of your trailer.
Finally, did you also know that trailer tires are only rated to a speed of 65mph? We’re not sure who would ever think they should be driving a horse trailer that fast, but no speeding!
Safe spring travels to you and your horses!