Maintaining your horsebox or trailer

Even if you only use your horsebox occasionally, it’s a good idea to carry out regular maintenance checks to ensure it is roadworthy. This is will not only keep you and your horse safe, but will ensure you are conforming to the legal requirements for driving this kind of vehicle.

The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) should test your vehicle annually to ensure it is safe to drive. It also carries out regular roadside checks across the UK road network. If a serious fault is discovered in this instance, you could be prohibited from driving it until the problem is fixed.

Here’s a quick checklist to ensure your horsebox or trailer is roadworthy:

  • Brakes – regular use of your horsebox should prevent the brakes seizing up but check both the foot brakes and handbrakes are in good working condition before setting off
  • Speedlimiter – if your vehicle has a speedlimiter installed, check it is calibrated correctly
  • Reflectors – ensure you have reflectors on both sides and at the rear of your horsebox and trailer
  • Wheels and tyres – the weight of your load will cause your tyres to lose pressure more quickly than on a standard car. Check the pressure and tyre tread regularly, ensuring the depth is at least 1mm for a horsebox or 1.6mm for a trailer
  • Suspension – if your horsebox sits lopsided when parked you may have a problem with your suspension
  • Headlights – check all your headlights and brake lights are working correctly
  • Vehicle to trailer coupling – ensure the cable linking your car to the horse trailer is properly attached and in good working order
  • Mirrors – attach additional towing mirrors to your car to ensure you have a good view of the rear of your trailer

For more information and guidance on maintaining your vehicle, go to the DVSA website.

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