Buying A Horsebox
Safe Hands in a Crisis
The Organisation of Horsebox & Trailer Owners        Tel: 01488 657651    Fax: 0844 8546681
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"CAVEAT EMPTOR - BUYER BEWARE" Buying   a   horsebox   can   be   an   exciting   experience,   but   with   such   large   sums   of   money   at   stake   it   is important not to make rash decisions. Many     of     the     mechanical     checks     on     a horsebox    are    similar    to    those    made    when buying   any   large   vehicle   or   lorry,   but   further checks   on   the   internal   design   and   practical elements   of   the   box   are   just   as   important. Refurbished       vehicles       especially       need specialist   attention,   to   make   sure   the   weight distribution    is    even    and    the    internal    box offers   the   best   levels   of   safety   and   comfort for all concerned. When   purchasing   a   horsebox,   whether   it   may be    new    or    second-hand,    you    should    always check   the   lorry   over   for   oil   levels,   water   in   the battery,   water   in   the   radiator,   electrics   and   brakes.   A   road   test   is   always   advisable   as   it   shows   the purchaser   the   lorry   controls   and   driving   positions.   Major   faults   will   also   show   up   and   be   highlighted   when   it is   driven.   Tyre   pressures   are   also   incredibly   important   and   should   thus   be   maintained   at   or   within   a   very close   tolerance   of   the   recommended   pressures.   When   tyres   become   worn   or   damaged   they   must   be replaced.   There   should,   by   law,   be   at   least   1.6mm   of   tread   depth   across   the   centre   3/4   of   the   width   of   the tread   throughout   the   entire   circumference   of   the   tyre.   There   must   be   no   damage   to   the   tyre   body   - sidewalls or tread, no bulges or cuts.  Wherever   possible   get   a   professional   pre-purchase   inspection.   we   recently   heard   from   a   lady   who   had   an inspection   on   a   £4750   three   horse   Bedford.   She   told   the   examiner   that   all   she   personally   could   find   wrong was   that   the   rubber   around   the   drivers   door   was   a   little   frayed   and   that   the   cab   was   white   and   the   body red.   The   inspection   showed,   amongst   many   other   items,   that   the   body   was   attached   to   the   chassis   with just two bolts! Not   only   does   the   lorry   need   to   be   checked   at   the   point   of   purchase,   but   also   on   a   regular   basis   after   this. Do   not   presume   that   it   will   be   performing   perfectly   and   will   need   no   maintenance   for   a   few   months   after the purchase date. Here are a few tips for what to look for: 1. Check the bodywork, cab floor and steps for rust. 2. Check   the   tyres   and   exhaust.   They   give   an   indication   of   whether   the   vehicle   has   been   well   looked after. 3. Search for rot and damp patches on the floor of the vehicle. 4. Make   certain   the   ramp   woodwork,   hinges   and   balance   springs   are   all   sound   and   in   good   working order. Check that the ramp is manageable by one person. 5. Make   sure   when   you   view   the   vehicle   that   the   engine   is   cold   and   has   not   been   started   before   you got there. If it has, ask why. 6. Check there are no oil leaks from the engine. 7. Check the oil light does not come on when started. 8. Check engine speed and smoke emission when stationery. 9. Cab checks : * Gauges * Lights * Indicators * Wipers * Play   of   the   steering   wheel   * Horn   * Warning   lights 10. Check   wiring   for   the   lighting   in   living   and   horse   areas   and   make   sure   they   run   from   a   separate   battery   -   not   the   main   vehicle   battery.   11. Unless   you   definitely   want   an   HGV,   check   that   the   weight   will   not   be   over   7.5   tonnes   when    fully   laden   with   horses,   tack,   feed,   passengers   and   provisions.   12. Take   your   time   and   do   not   make   any   rash   decisions   -   take   someone   with   you   who   may    spot    things   you   won’t. The   DVSA   has   made   no   secret   of   the   fact   that   they   intend   to   target   overweight   vehicles   during   the   coming months   and   if   you   happen   to   buy   anything   that   is   overweight   and   get   stopped,   your   new   vehicle   is   virtually valueless.   Recent   research   suggests   that   the   majority   of   7.5   tonne   horseboxes   over   27   feet   in   length   are probably   overweight   when   fully   laden   and   horseboxes   costing   in   excess   of   £20,000   are   even   more   likely   to be overweight. How can this   be? In   vehicles   under   7.5   tonnes   the   “gross”   weight   is   often   fairly   close   to   the   “unladen”   weight    before    the addition   of   horses   or   equipment.   In   vehicles   over   £20,000   most   are   fitted   with   additional   equipment   such as   televisions,   videos,   a   bar   and   other   luxuries   which   all   add   to   the   unladen   weight.   In   order   to   understand the problem we need to explain some of the technical   terms   used. If you would like to see and print out our 90 Point Check List (.doc) click here:-