Trailer Safety Checklist

The following items should be checked on the trailer and tow vehicle every time you tow a trailer even for short trips. (You may want to copy this list and keep it in the tow vehicle.)

On the tow vehicle, check:

  • Fluid levels: oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and radiator. Check engine belts and hoses. Fill up fuel.
  • Tire pressure: examine for cracks, bulges or signs of excessive wear. (For trucks with dual tires: strike the inside tire with a hammer. If the air pressure is okay, the hammer will bounce back.)
  • Hitch and receiver (no rust, loose bolts, or cracked welds; ball is correct size for trailer and is tight).
  • Electrical connectors and wiring on both vehicles (no loose connector or broken wires).
  • With the trailer hitched, test the brakes and trailer brake controller, and adjust trailer brakes for the load. Check running lights, turn indicators, and brake lights.

On the trailer, check:

  • Hitch and coupling (be sure coupler fastens securely over ball).
  • The battery cable of the trailer's breakaway system. Check safety chains, hooks, and points where they connect.
  • Tire pressure and condition of all tires.
  • Signal and brake lights, running lights, and emergency flashers
  • Trailer floor for soundness (no signs of rot); mats in place.
  • Interior for wasps or hornet nests. (These can appear in a day!)

Be sure you have:

  • Spare tires and tire-changing equipment for tow vehicle and trailer.
  • Registration for both tow vehicle and trailer, with current inspection stamp; insurance card.
  • Maps, directions, phone numbers if needed.
  • Coggins tests, health papers, and any transport papers required for horses.
  • Tool kit and first aid kits (horse and human).
  • Auto club membership, towing insurance, or other arrangements for emergency road service that covers trailer and tow vehicle. A credit card may be necessary for major repairs on the road. A cellular phone or CB radio is helpful in case of emergency.

Trailer Equipment List

The following items should always be carried in the trailer:

  • Spare Tire and jack for trailer and tow vehicle.
  • Jumper cables and tow chain.
  • Road flares or warning signal in case of breakdown.
  • Blocks (two) to put behind front and back tires when parked (the type of block that can serve as a ramp for changing a tire is especially useful).
  • Longe line, extra lead rope and halter, sheet or blanket, extra cotton and leg wraps, pins, masking tape.
  • Large container of water (can be used for drinking water, first aid, or some vehicle problems).
  • Small pail with sponge or cloth.
  • Water and feed buckets, hay net (fastened so it wonÕt swing or drop too low), with fresh hay for every trip.
  • Broom, shovel, rake, fork, muck basket, manure disposal bags. (Leave parking areas clean!)
  • First aid kits (horse and human).
  • Tool kit containing:
    • Flashlight and extra batteries.
    • Screwdrivers, pliers, hammer, wrenches, and so on.
    • Extra bulbs for trailer lights and extra 20-amp fuses.
    • Electrical tape.
    • Extra quart of oil for tow vehicle.
    • Crowbar (essential in case you need to remove center divider quickly).
    • Sturdy knife (to cut tie ropes in and emergency).
    • WD-40, grease, or lubricating oil.
    • Can of bee/wasp/hornet stun spray.
    • Work gloves and waterless hand cleaner.

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