Legalities of renovating trailer

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10 October 2019
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We have an old wooden horse trailer that has been out of use for years but we're getting close to the time where we might like to take them out somewhere. I couldn't be sure what it has at the minute in terms of lights or brakes or whatever but it was road legal four or five years ago. I'll maybe try and get some pictures today. We will of course make sure that it is entirely safe before using it but what modifications might need to be made before we could go somewhere and not get pulled over. The police are usually quite lax in our area so it might be that we could take it out without any consequences but I don't think I want to risk it.
 

Kizzy2004

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I would perhaps contact someone who services trailers and ask them to take a look and let you know what needs doing.

When I brought my trailer it hadn’t been used for a number of years, it’s was cheap and from someone I knew and looked on the surface ok so took a punt on it. I picked it up and took it straight for a full trailer service and was very lucky that all it needed was a new spare wheel.
 

Muddywellies

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Old, wooden, out of use for years?

To be safe for carrying horses, it's likely to need a full overhaul, not just of the wooden components, but possibly the metalwork too. And all moving parts are likely to be seized, not to mention the electrics no longer working, tyres cracked etc etc. Please take this to a reputable horsebox mechanic for a detailed assessment before putting a horse anywhere near it.
Also, road legal doesn't mean safe for carrying horses.
 

Annagain

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Where are you DB? I can recommend two very good, honest trailer people in different parts of the country, one of them might be near you.
 
Joined
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Old, wooden, out of use for years?

To be safe for carrying horses, it's likely to need a full overhaul, not just of the wooden components, but possibly the metalwork too. And all moving parts are likely to be seized, not to mention the electrics no longer working, tyres cracked etc etc. Please take this to a reputable horsebox mechanic for a detailed assessment before putting a horse anywhere near it.
Also, road legal doesn't mean safe for carrying horses.
I am fully aware of how dangerous this could be. I will absolutely not put my horse in danger by using it if it's not safe. I'm just looking at options instead of buying a new one. If it comes down to it I'll just replace it.
 
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Where are you DB? I can recommend two very good, honest trailer people in different parts of the country, one of them might be near you.
We're based in the north of Scotland thank you for your offer but I think if we really want to go somewhere we will likely just end up borrowing someone's or hiring instead of buying a nice box. If this one is salvageable it will be a nice project if not then we won't use it.
 
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Just to be clear if we end up using the box it will be entirely safe for the horses. I was more looking for advice on what lights, brakes etc it would need to be legal to take on the road.
 

honetpot

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To be honest old horse trailers are going for silly money as do up, the more vintage looking the better. I would sell it on eBay and get something more modern.
I have a very old Rice, which is used more for moving hay and furniture, they are now going for about £1200, so I am very tempted to trade up.
 

Toby_Zaphod

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To ensure your trailer is legal regarding lights it's easier to fit a ready wired light board on the back. Check over the tyres, just because they have plenty of tread does not mean they are safe to use. Trailers are known for having tyres with cracked/perished sidewalls. This is caused by leaving the trailer standing for years with hardly any use & the suns rays knacker the side walls of tyres. The brakes on the trailer can be serviced by any mechanic, they are very basic. Finally check that your floors are solid. I've seen the result of a horse falling through a rotten floor & it's horrible.
 

Kizzy2004

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Just a thought in case it’s not salvageable for horses, the old wooden style trailers are very popular for people who want to refurbish for other uses like a bar or pop up shop. Maybe not the right time given the pandemic but maybe another option to sell and buy a different trailer for you.
 
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To ensure your trailer is legal regarding lights it's easier to fit a ready wired light board on the back. Check over the tyres, just because they have plenty of tread does not mean they are safe to use. Trailers are known for having tyres with cracked/perished sidewalls. This is caused by leaving the trailer standing for years with hardly any use & the suns rays knacker the side walls of tyres. The brakes on the trailer can be serviced by any mechanic, they are very basic. Finally check that your floors are solid. I've seen the result of a horse falling through a rotten floor & it's horrible.
Thank you! That is good info to know. Do you know if it had to have a number plate or be registered or anything?
 
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To be honest old horse trailers are going for silly money as do up, the more vintage looking the better. I would sell it on eBay and get something more modern.
I have a very old Rice, which is used more for moving hay and furniture, they are now going for about £1200, so I am very tempted to trade up.
Just a thought in case it’s not salvageable for horses, the old wooden style trailers are very popular for people who want to refurbish for other uses like a bar or pop up shop. Maybe not the right time given the pandemic but maybe another option to sell and buy a different trailer for you.
Ooh I didn't know this. It actually belongs to my grandfather who spent ages fixing it up when we got it only for it not to be used for ages. Hopefully it is salvageable as I'd like to see his hard work in proper use! Thank you
 

Annagain

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If it was legal when it was used 4 or 5 years ago, you won't need anything extra as there have been no changes to lights etc in this time. As long as they're all working, they will be fine.
 

Annagain

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Thank you! That is good info to know. Do you know if it had to have a number plate or be registered or anything?
There is no registration for trailers (or any mot / roadworthiness test, which is madness in my opinion). The trailer becomes part of the towing vehicle so you just need to use the same number plate as that. In terms of tyres, they'll have a date of manufacture on them (month and year). Anything over 7 years old should be replaced.
 

Keith_Beef

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Just a thought in case it’s not salvageable for horses, the old wooden style trailers are very popular for people who want to refurbish for other uses like a bar or pop up shop. Maybe not the right time given the pandemic but maybe another option to sell and buy a different trailer for you.
This is EXACTLY the moment to sell a horse trailer to be converted to a tiny office for somebody working from home.
 

Orangehorse

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No, it doesn't need to be registered. It does have to have a number plate with the same registration as the towing vehicle (er, I've got away with that one a few times.) Depends on how bored the local police are!

A shoot trailer got stopped and returned to base the other week, for not having the tractor's registration number on the rear of the trailer (considering that it was on the smallest lane and probably only going from field to field)

So, obvious safety checks, hitch, tyres, brakes, floor, doors, lights that work and number plate.
 

fredflop

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Get a mobile trailer mechanic to come out and service it first, or at least have a look at it. Once it’s road legal id then be taking it to an appropriate professional to check its horse safe
 

rextherobber

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There is no registration for trailers (or any mot / roadworthiness test, which is madness in my opinion). The trailer becomes part of the towing vehicle so you just need to use the same number plate as that. In terms of tyres, they'll have a date of manufacture on them (month and year). Anything over 7 years old should be replaced.
These tyres should all be replaced anyway, if it has been standing in one place for 4 years it will have flat spots and sun damage. It sounds a lovely project, I love the family connection, with your Grandad doing it up. If the floor is good, the rest of it is fairly easy to access for any repairs. The lights should work if mice haven't chewed the wires, it's surprising what survives a prolonged lay up!
 

Toby_Zaphod

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OP you do need a number plate on the back of the trailer. You have one made up the same as the towing vehicle in Yellow, identical to the rear plate on the car. You don't need to insure the trailer if you don't want to but you need to let your insurance company know you will be towing occasionally, it probably won't cost you any more but they need to now. If you passed your driving test after 1997 you will need to take a trailer test to tow.
 
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Great thanks for the advice everybody. We've been out to have a look at it a couple of time and here's the rundown. Sides are rotten, tires cracked, brakes and other mechanisms are seized. Luckily it is still quite structurally sounds especially the floor and ramp. Dad has agreed to help me fix it up which is great and I have spoken to all the right people about moving it home to be worked on. We have replacement wood and tires we can use as well as all the tools for the job! It should be a nice lockdown project and we can hopefully get competing this summer finally! I will of course get it checked by a professional before using it and I'll have a lot of help along the way. At some point I will maybe try and post progress pics as well!
 
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