AAftermarket accessories are all those handy items you buy for your trailer after you drive it off the lot. They range from lights and locks to floor mats and hay nets. Here, I’ll give you a rundown of a few aftermarket accessories on the market today, including my tips and product recommendations.
Description: Your trailer’s breakaway system is designed to stop your trailer via electric brakes in case your trailer and tow vehicle become disconnected. It’s powered by the breakaway battery. Expert tip: One of the biggest steps forward in safety in the last few years is a breakaway battery with a reliable charger. As soon as your tow vehicle and trailer are connected, the breakaway battery starts charging. Older models just came with a battery, which quickly loses its charge. Recommended: Engager Breakaway Battery Kit; Pro Series Push to Test Breakaway Kit with Premium Integrated Charger; Tekonsha Push to Test Breakaway Kit with Premium Integrated Charger, all available from eTrailer.com.
Description: Coupler locks thwart trailer thieves by making it impossible for them to attach a vehicle to your trailer to drive it off. The lock fits into the hitch and is secured with the turn of a key. Expert tips: Coupler locks are available for tag-along (bumper-pull), gooseneck, and fifth-wheel hitches. Choose a steel model that has the locking interface in an accessible position for locking and unlocking ease. Also find one you can easily lubricate with graphite or white grease to keep it from rusting. Look for a high-quality lock, and make sure it has two keys. Recommended: Blaylock EZ Lock Trailer Coupler Lock; Blaylock EZ Lock Gooseneck Coupler Lock; Master Lock Trailer Coupler Lock, all from eTrailer.com; Gus Hill Industries; Heartland Lock, LLC.
Description: A drive-on jack is one that you can drive one tire onto while you change a damaged tire. This type of jack can be made from plastic, wood, aluminum, or steel. It should be at least five inches high and have a ramp. Expert tips: Use this simple tool if you’re replacing one tire at a time. When you shop for a drive-on jack, pay attention to its weight ratings — you’ll need something in
Here’s the rundown on eight essential aftermarket trailer accessories.
the 10,000 pound to 15,000 pound weight range. Keep in mind that the entire half of your trailer will be resting on the jack. Enlist a helper, so one person can place the jack while the other drives onto it. Recommended: Blaylock EZ Jack and Wheel Chock, available from eTrailer.com; The Original Jiffy-Jack (Steel); Trailer-Aid, both available from Trail Pals Horse Trailer Accessory Store.
Description: Hay nets hold forage for your horse to eat inside and outside of your trailer while you’re traveling. Expert tips: Veterinarians recommend that your horse has access to forage while traveling to reduce his stress and help keep his digestive system functioning smoothly. Keeping your horse’s gut moving can lessen his risk for colic. Look for a hay net with small to medium openings, which slows down his eating to mimic a natural grazing pace. Recommended: Hay Chix; NAG Bags; The NibbleNet from Thin Air Canvas, Inc.; Professional’s Choice; SmartPak Equine, LLC; State Line Tack.
Description: There are numerous products that help you hitch up your trailer to your tow vehicle. Hitch cameras (which allow you to see the hitch as you align the ball with the coupler) fall in this category, as do products that ease the wiring connection from your tow vehicle to your trailer and those that offer other alignment help. Expert tip: When shopping for a hitch camera, look for one that’s battery-powered or that plugs into your tow vehicle’s 12volt power supply, for ease of installation. Recommended: iBall Wireless Trailer Hitch Camera, available from Outdoors Insight, Inc.; EZ Connector; Quick Coupler by Trailer Gear, Inc.; Swift Hitch Wireless Portable Back Up System, available from the Equine Network Store.
Description: Reflective strips, decals, and signs on your trailer increase your visibility to passing motorists and let them know you’re hauling live cargo. Expert tips: Reflective decals enhance your trailer’s visibility day and night. You can’t use too many reflective decals on your trailer. Think feet of decals. You want to be seen in all lighting conditions, even when your brakes and lights aren’t working due to electrical failure or pulled-out wires. The words “Caution Horses” let others know you’re hauling live horses.
Recommended: 3M Diamond Reflective Conspicuity Tapes, available from Uline; CAUTION HORSES Safety Products; Equine Network Store.
Description: Trailer-stall floor mats and flooring are designed to provide your horse with traction and cushioning. Mats also dampen some trailer vibration and help make the ride quieter. Mats also protect your trailer floor from wear-and-tear, as well as corrosive urine. Expert tips: Invest in high-quality, nonslip mats to absorb shock and encourage grip. If your floor mats become damaged, replace them. Holes allow urine to collect underneath, causing rust, rot, and other corrosion. Cut the mats to fit, or order them from the manufacturer of your specific brand and type of trailer. You can also upgrade the flooring itself. Recommended: Flex Mats Inc.; Linear Rubber Products, Inc.; Oregon Rubber Mat; Polylast Systems, LLC; Stall Savers.
Description: LED and analog lights that mount inside and outside of your trailer to enhance visibility. Expert tips: I prefer LED lights over analog lights, because they last longer, use less energy (thus don’t drain your battery as quickly), and are much brighter. Why stumble around in the dark? Before you buy lights, make sure you have either the skills to run wiring for the specific lights you choose, or take them to a professional to install. Also consider your power source; you can only run so many lights without having a converter or relay for additional wattage, which is professionally set to handle the loading on your electrical system — and, of course, your alternator/battery — especially when your tow vehicle is turned off. Recommended: LED Rectangular Interior/Exterior Light; Tow-Rax Recessed LED Light, both available from eTrailer. com. TTR Rebecca Gimenez, PhD (animal physiology), is president of and a primary instructor for Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue (www.tlaer. org). A Major in the United States Army Reserve, she’s a decorated Iraq War veteran and a past Logistics Officer for the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Veterinary Medical Assistance Team, which serves as first responders to ensure high-quality care of animals during disasters and emergencies. She’s an invited lecturer on animalrescue topics around the world and is a noted equine journalist.
Day Night Reflective decals available from CAUTION HORSES Safety Products and the Equine Network Store.
Small Hole Hay Net, available from SmartPak Equine, LLC..
Swift Hitch Wireless Portable Backup System, available from the Equine Network Store.
EZ Connector trailer plug, available from EZ Connector, Inc.
iBall Wireless Trailer Hitch Camera, available from Outdoors Insight, Inc.
Aftermarket accessories are all those handy items you buy for your trailer after you drive it off the lot. Thwart trailer thieves with a hitch lock, available for all trailer types, including goosenecks (shown).
Engager Breakaway Battery Kit, available from eTrailer.com.
Master Lock Trailer Coupler Lock, available from eTrailer.com.
REBECCA GIMENEZ, PhD
LED Rectangular Interior/Exterior Light, available from eTrailer.com.
Polylast trailer flooring, available from Polylast Systems, LLC