BUYING A NEW HORSEBOX?
Alan Edwards, one of our independant inspectors has this to say about some of his experiences and the potential pitfalls that can lie ahead for the inexperienced buyer. "The things we look for when we undertake a horsebox inspection are mechanically similar to those of any normal lorry purchase. But we also have to check the facilities that affect the horses such as partitions, ramps floor and drainage. Just checking the mechanical essentials alone requires a 91 point check-list.
Whilst the majority of horseboxes up for sale are good, sound buys and value for money, we really do get to see some amazing vehicles. Some time ago our Finance Department asked me to check over a second -hand chassis that had been refurbished with a new body just six months previously. My responsibilities on these occasions are two-fold. The finance company give a very good deal, but it is dependant my valuation and inspection. The buyer also wants the same peace of mind.
Arriving at the premises I was directed to an area of hard standing next to the small stable block housing a couple of Dartmoor ponies. Built on a small VW chassis, the vehicle looked really smart in its two-tone green livery. It really stood out. Unfortunately things quickly started to go downhill and the check boxes om my sheet soon filled with crosses. The body was well put together and nicely finished but the 250,000km chassis was in a very poor mechanical state. It would require a great deal of work before it would be truly reliable. However, there was one major problem that overcame all others. In order to gain an extra amount of living, the body had been extended so that it now overhung the chassis by nearly three feet. This extra length at the back - exactly where the horses would stand - was completely unsupported! Even with two small ponies this was really unacceptable, with two 15.2hh horses it was out of the question!
Needless to say, my buyer was none too pleased when I relayed the list of faults. Failing a vehicle is perhaps the hardest part of the job. The buyer really wants it to pass, otherwise they would not have requested the inspection and the seller becomes convinced that there is an ulterior motive for the failure. Luckily my buyer found another vehicle just last week. It passed the inspection with flying colours and our finance company were only too pleased to agree the loan. At The Organisation of Horsebox and Trailer Owners, we can even run extra checks on vehicles. We can validate the mileage, chassis, engine and registration numbers, check for outstanding hire-purchase and whether the vehicle has been ever been written-off in an accident.
My buyer now has a really good clean vehicle that will do the job perfectly The living may not be quite as new as the other - but at least it isn't likely to fall off the chassis when loaded!"
We have put together a few things to look for when buying a horsebox:
- Check the bodywork, cab floor and steps for rust for rust.
- Check the tyres and exhaust. They give you an idea if the vehicle has been well looked after.
- Search for rot and damp patches on the floor of the vehicle.
- Make certain the ramp woodwork, hinges and balance springs are all sound and in good working order. Check that the ramp is manageable by a woman on her own!
- Make sure when you view the vehicle that the engine is cold and has not been started before you get there.
- Check there are no oil leaks from the engine.
- Check the oil light does not come on when started.
- Check engine speed and smoke emission when stationery.
- Cab checks :
- Play of the steering wheel
- Warning lights
- Check wiring for lighting areas in living and horse areas and make sure they run from a separate battery - not the main vehicle battery.
- Unless you definitely want an HGV, check that the weight will not be over 7.5 tonnes, when fully laden with your horses, tack feed passengers and all provisions.
REMEMBER THE OLD SAYING "CAVEAT EMPTOR - BUYER BEWARE", TAKE YOUR TIME AND TAKE SOMEONE WITH YOU WHO MIGHT BE ABLE TO SPOT THINGS YOU DON'T.
If you would like to see and print out our 90 Point Check Lists click here:-
90 POINT PAGE 1
90 POINT PAGE 2
Back to Top
THE ORGANISATION OF HORSEBOX & TRAILER OWNERS
Whitehill Farm, Hamstead Marshall, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 0HP
Tel: 01488 657651 Fax: 01488 657652