Fix It Up or Give It Up?

Trail Rider - - HITCH UP & GO - BY TOM SCHEVE AND NEVA KITTRELL SCHEVE ~ PHO­TOS BY CATE LAMM

AThe time will likely come when you’ll need to take a hard look at your trailer to de­ter­mine whether you should fix it up or give it up. In mak­ing that de­ci­sion, ask your­self, do your trailer’s de­sign, size, and fea­tures still work for you? There’s no sense in fix­ing up your trailer if you and your horse have out­grown its use­ful­ness. If that’s the case, then you should let it go, and in­vest your “fix it up” money into some­thing bet­ter suited for your cur­rent and fu­ture needs.

How­ever, if your trailer still works well for you, then the next step is to dis­cern whether it’s bet­ter fi­nan­cially to fix it up or give it up. Here’s how.

Use this ex­pert guide to de­cide whether your ag­ing trailer is worth fix­ing up or whether it’s time to sell.

Are Re­pairs Worth It?

Be­fore you fix up your trailer, de­ter­mine whether your fi­nan­cial in­vest­ment into the re­pairs will ex­ceed your trailer’s value (what you can sell it for) af­ter the re­pairs are done. Then de­ter­mine its cur­rent value in “as is” con­di­tion.

Next, de­ter­mine your trailer’s qual­ity and con­di­tion, and what it would cost to make it safe and road wor­thy. Fi­nally, check to see whether the trailer com­pany is still in busi­ness, in case you need re­place­ment parts.

Here’s a check­list to help you de­ter­mine whether it’s worth it to fix up your trailer. De­ter­mine your trailer’s value. De­ter­mine your trailer’s value in “as is” con­di­tion and in “like new” con­di­tion. To do so, en­ter your trailer brand, model, and year into your pre­ferred In­ter­net search en­gine to find like trail­ers for sale. (One good re­source for used trail­ers is The Trail Rider’s sis­ter web­site, Equine.com.) By pe­rus­ing th­ese list­ings, you’ll get an idea of the ask­ing price in an ar­ray of trailer con­di­tions. Jot down your trailer’s value the way it is and what it could be if you fix it up. Get a fix-it-up es­ti­mate. Go to the near­est body shop, and get an es­ti­mate of all the work that needs to be per­formed on your trailer and all the work you would like to have done. Make sure this es­ti­mate in­cludes parts and la­bor. Do the math. If the re­pair es­ti­mate is in line with your trailer’s value, then it would be worth your while to re­pair it. For ex­am­ple, if your trailer is worth $2,500 as is, but it’s sell­ing for $5,000 in top con­di­tion, then you could spend up to $2,500 and still pro­tect your in­vest­ment.

Trailer-Re­pair Check­list

Be­fore you take your trailer to a body shop, make a list of its prob­lem ar­eas. Make this list even if the re­pairs will be done by a knowl­edge­able fam­ily mem­ber or friend.

Since a trailer is ba­si­cally a box on wheels, you should be able to see al­most ev­ery­thing that needs at­ten­tion and re­pair. The things you can’t see are the brakes, axles, and bear­ings. Leave th­ese in­spec­tions to a pro­fes­sional.

Fol­low­ing is a list of things to check be­fore you head to the body shop. Once there, have the per­son do­ing the es­ti­mate check the bear­ings, brakes, axles, floor boards, floor sup­ports, frame, cou­pler, and lights. Tires. Tread wear and/or age will de­ter­mine whether the tires should be re­placed. There’s no ex­pi­ra­tion date on a tire, but there’s a man­u­fac­turer’s build date in the code, so you can de­ter­mine how old they are. If the tires are more than six years old, dis­card them, even if they have good tread left. In older tires, the rub­ber has chem­i­cally weak­ened and could come apart in tran­sit. Check rims for weak­ness and rust. Axles. If you’ve kept your tires prop­erly in­flated ev­ery time you’ve used your trailer, then you’ll be able to use them to de­ter­mine axle in­tegrity. Run your hand over the tires to see if there’s un­even wear on the tread. If one side of the tire is wear­ing more than the other, your

When de­cid­ing whether to keep your ag­ing trailer, first ask your­self, do the de­sign, size, and fea­tures still work for you? There’s no sense in fix­ing up your trailer if you and your horse have out­grown its use­ful­ness.

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