Correct tire pressure?


Many problems with tires result from insufficient attention to ensuring tires have the CORRECT air pressures.

Tires are designed to have an optimal deflection (the amount the tire compresses when loaded), which is controlled by the load and air pressure. One of the simplest ways to get the best out of tires is to have the correct air pressure. This affects the tread profile shape and contact pressure across the tread surface. Any change in air pressure will alter how the tire will function on the vehicle.

This is very simple in cars, SUVs and pick-ups as Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards require the vehicle manufacturer to display a placard on the vehicle indicating the correct tire size or sizes and air pressures recommended for that particular vehicle. This is usually found inside the glove box draw or on one of the front doors or jamb. Sometimes there is a different air pressure recommended for the front and rear tires. It is essential that you heed this differential, as it is the manufacturer’s way of fine-tuning the vehicle to give the best steering and safe handling.

When towing, some of the weight of the trailer is supported by the towing vehicle’s rear tires (tongue weight). An increase in air pressure (on the towing vehicle’s REAR tires only) of up to 10% may improve handling, but NEVER exceed the maximum air pressure allowed for any tire, as indicated on the sidewall of the tire.

All tires by law must have molded on the sidewall the MAXIMUM ALLOWED load carrying capacity and maximum air pressure for the tire. For example it may say “Max load 1985 lbs at 50psi” (pounds per square inch). This means that 50psi is the maximum air pressure, which should be in the tire if it is carrying its maximum load of 1985 lbs. It is not necessarily the correct running pressure. This maximum load and air pressure should never be exceeded, except for specific specialized use approved by the tire manufacturer. Additionally, NEVER run any tire below the MINIMUM air pressure as indicated in the tire’s load/inflation table, however light the load.

It is not possible to have a specific air pressure for tires when in use on a trailer, because the load on the tires is generally different for each trailer. It is necessary to find the weight being carried by each tire to obtain the correct tire air pressure. Tires can be overloaded in two ways, by not having sufficient air pressure, known as “overload by underinflation” or by having a tire on the vehicle whose maximum load and maximum air pressure is insufficient to carry the load, known “as overload proper”. Some LT tires of the same size have extra load carrying capacities available, which allows them to carry a higher load at a higher air pressure if necessary. It will not improve tire life and durability to buy “Extra Load” tires if the higher loads are not being carried.

These “Extra Load” tires are marked Load Range C (LRC), Load Range D (LRD) or even Load Range E (LRE). The higher the letter the more load the tire can carry. The standard tire is usually Load Range B (LRB) though not necessarily marked as such. Some metrically marked tires use an ISO marking (international standards organization) called Load Index; the higher the number the greater the load capacity of the tire.

To find the correct air pressures for your tires go to the Load and Inflation tables and check for the size of tire on the trailer; then calculate the maximum load the tire is carrying. (To find the maximum load, include payload and trailer weight minus tongue weight, and divide by the number of tires on the trailer). This gives the load per tire. Above the indicated load weight in the tables is the correct air pressure. Always round up to the next highest weight, when reading the tables. Note: If you have dual tires the carrying capacity of the tires across the axle is reduced due to the uneven distribution of weight across the axle. This is noted in the load tables.

IMPORTANT: Many tire users look at the maximum load and air pressure molded on the tire sidewall and run this maximum pressure. This may be harmful to the tire as overinflation can affect the tire’s performance and safety. It reduces ground contact area, reduces grip and increases casing fatigue, as well as giving the trailer and load a harsher ride. Remember! NEVER go below the minimum air pressure shown in the load/inflation tables, even if the load is lighter than the minimum calculated load. Tire pressure and load carrying tables can be found on most tire manufacturer’s web sites or contact the tire manufacturers authorized dealer.

Correct air pressure is the most important factor in safe running and optimal performance of tires. Tire pressures should always be checked cold, as air expands when the tire warms up. It generally takes about three hours for a tire to totally cool and it will start to heat up again even if driven for 1 or 2 miles This is normal and expected. NEVER, NEVER, bleed out air from a hot tire, because when it cools the air pressure will now be below the correct pressure; this will cause the tire to run even hotter. A good rule of thumb is: if a tire’s air pressure has risen more than 10% from its correct cold air pressure, it may be overloaded or underinflated, and you should re-check the pressure in the tire, when cold. It could be an indication of a slow leak. Always use a good quality metal valve cap as this protects the valve core and reduces the possibility of a slow air leak from the valve stem.

Remember! For safety reasons tire air pressure should be checked cold at least once a month, and ALWAYS before making a long trip. Don’t forget to check the spare tire too!

Speed is also a factor in tire wear as it makes tires run hotter - the hotter they run the faster they wear. In addition, there is an increase in fuel consumption. Never exceed the maximum speed rating of any tire.

This information is given to assist with the proper air pressure maintenance in tires. Always consult the tire manufacturer or its authorized dealer for more detailed information.

Click here for GoodYear Tire Inlation Chart

( This article has been graciously contributed by John Hoffen. John is a retired executive from Michelin NA. )

Financing your horse trailer purchase

Yes, it would be great if we all were flush enough to pay cash! For most of us however some sort of financing will be needed to purchase a new trailer. There are some options.
  • 1) Your local Credit Union: Local Credit Unions typically offer members a little lower interest rate than other lenders. They typically have shorter terms such as up to 5 years making for a higher monthly payment in spite of a lower rate.
  • 2) Your local bank: Local banks do not usually loan on horse trailers though it is possible to get a personal loan to cover the cost. Personal loans usually carry a higher interest than secured loans and are for shorter terms, typically up to 5 years.
  • 3) Lease Purchase Programs: Lease purchase is typically reserved for commercial or business borrowers. Such as farms. The lease would still be in the individual purchasers name but the leasee must also run a business. Terms are usually up to 6 years. you make a set payment for the term of the lease and own the trailer at the end of the lease outright.
  • 4) Indirect RV Lender: Most dealers offer financing programs that they have arranged through lenders. Terms can be as long as 10 - 15 years, this depends on the amount borrowed. Down payments are usually required of 10%. Rates can be competitive based on your credit history and income. There should be no prepayment penalty for paying additional principle or paying off early. This loan option has the lowest monthly payment but the longest term, so when you can pay a little extra!

What route to take really boils down to whether desire and are able to pay a higher payment for a shorter term or a lower payment for a longer term. Click here to apply for your trailer purchase


Generally speaking, your towing vehicle liability insurance will cover your trailer while you are towing. The catch is, you will only have liability insurance up to the amount specified in your insurance agreement. In other words, you are likely covered for damage you do to someone else up to your policy limits, after your deductible, but NOT for damage done to yourself! Damage to your trailer, loss from theft, loss or damage from some other event such as a storm would NOT be covered. Loss from theft MAY be covered on your homeowners policy but you will need to verify this with your homeowners insurance to be sure.

Consider adding collision and comprehensive insurance to cover your trailer. It is usually a fairly inexpensive addition to your auto policy. This way you will be protected against loss.

If your trailer is financed your lender will require you keep collision and comprehensive insurance on your trailer for the duration of the loan.

If you have an older less expensive trailer you may not be worried about loosing the value of it, but for most trailers today, the cost of comprehensive and collision insurance is worth the peace of mind. Check with your insurance companies to verify and to be certain of what coverage you may or may not have.


First Aid Kit Basics

Be prepared! The list below is my recommended minimum number of items to keep in your horse trailer at all times. The list could be expanded into a seemingly unlimited number of items. Probably there is no way to be totally prepared for any and all potential accidents, injury or illness but we can try to be as prepared as possible. Keep these items in a water proof case if possible. Keep a lamenated waterproof card prominently displayed in your trailer with your contact information, your "in case of emergency" contact numbers, your veterinarians contact information.

* quilted bandage, disposable diapers or maxi pads
* wet wipes
* antibiotic cream or ointment
* roll of vet wrap / stretch bandage
* eye wash / skin wash
* PVP iodine solution
* rubber gloves
* adhesive tape / duct tape
* scissors / bandage cutter
* gauze bandage / gauze wound pads
* hoof boot correctly sized for your horse / horses

It seems a good idea to keep a horse health care / first aid hand book as well and to familiarize yourself with normal vital signs for horses. Consider:
Dr. Kellon's Guide to First Aid for Horses by Eleanor Kellon


Exterior Care

Your new Hawk trailer has a beautiful poly coated UV protected finish. Because of this there is little to do for exterior care. I recommend:

* Wash with a mild car wash detergent or Simple Green diluted as per label. I like to use a long
handled soft car wash type brush so I can reach the top. Clean one section or area at a time and
rinse well before moving on to the next section.

* When your new trailer is about 3 months old it is a good idea to give it a wax job. ( or let a neighbors kid, your kid or auto detail shop! ) wax the trailer with a good quality auto wax. Be sure to wax the top of the roof as well as the body.

*All trailers of all types get black streaks, this is caused in part from the aluminum top rail strip and the rubber window seals. It is best to wipe these streaks off with a cloth as they appear, if you leave the trailer dirty with black streaks for a prolonged period of time you will have to use a product such as "Streak Master" or other black streak remover and elbow grease to remove them. If you want your trailer to keep it's new appearance over the long haul I think it is best to keep it clean and give it a wax job once in a while! Streaking will lesson as the trailer ages.

*Lubricate all moving parts IE hinges and coupler latch with a light spray of WD 40. This will help keep things moving freely and provide a liight protective coating.

That is it for exterior body care!

Time for Service?

Spring has sprung! Most folks use this time of the year for trailer service and maintenance. Really, your maintenance should be based on months and mileage. Though we rarely keep track of mileage! Here is the suggested service from Dexter Axle.

Weekly or at every use - check your tire pressure or prior to each use. Look on your trailer tire side wall for the recommended PSI and check pressure when the tire is cold - check your break away battery charge & inspect the connection - make sure your brakes are working - make sure all lights are working properly

3 Months - when your trailer is new at 3 months - have your trailer brakes checked for adjustment - we would like all 4 brakes to be equal - double check your lug nuts - inspect your tires for signs of wear or un even wear

6 months - or 6000 miles - check brake magnets, make sure your brake controller is working properly, have your suspension parts checked, IE inspect the axle mounts - check for wear or bending - check your wheels, looking for any cracks / dents / distortions

12 months - 12000 miles - the big service for the year
* check brake linings for wear or contamination
* check brake cylinders for for leaks or sticking
* check wiring for bare spots / fray etc
* check brake lines for wear / cracks
* check hub/drum for abnormal wear / sticking
* check wheel bearings & cups for corrosion / wear, clean and repack
* check seals, inspect for leakage, replace if removed
* check springs, inspect for wear, loss of arch
* check hangers, inspect welds

It is prudent in my experience to re check your lug nuts after you or someone else has changed a tire or removed a wheel/tire for service. On a new trailer check your lug nuts at 25/50/100 miles - this is important. If you have aluminum wheels, please check your lug nuts frequently.

If you do not know of a reputable trailer service company, ask around among your riding friends. The how to of servicing your trailer in detail is shown in your Dexter Axle manual included with your trailer paper work. For most of us though, it is best to have the service done at a trailer service or RV shop.

Is "Rumber" worth it?

The choice is yours.

Lets look at "Rumber" compared to Hawk's #1 grade wood floor with stall mats

Benefits of "Rumber" according to it's manufacturer:

*Will not rot, crack, splinter

• Serves as a cushioning surface

• Reduces stress on joints and soft tissue

• Easy to clean

• UV and water resistant

• Extremely tough and durable

• Most cost effective option over time

Benefits of Hawks standard "lifetime" wood floor

*warranted not to rot for as long as you own your trailer

* stall mats likely provide a greater cushioning surface, less road vibration, less heat

*easy to clean


*cost effective

*allows drainage

*easy to repair or replace if necessary

My personal view, opinion and experience:

It appears to me that either the standard wood floor or the Rumber floor should have a life span that is equal to the life span of the trailer, in other words, either should last as long as I need it to.

In the event of a broken or rotted wood board it would be simple and inexpensive to replace with a board from a local lumber yard.

With Rumber, a replacement piece would be ordered and shipped, you would remove some of the floor and install the new piece tongue and groove.

Because Rumber is tongue and groove I find that manure gets stomped into the grooves, making it more difficult to get the trailer cleaned out compared to stall mats where I tend to let the manure piles dry out, then pitch them out.

Shavings can be used on Rumber to help prevent this. I personally prefer a minimal amount of shavings either way due to dust.

Urine cannot drain with a Rumber floor because it is tongue and groove, so some shavings should be used.

In comparing both floors, stall mats are a softer material so it stands to reason that vibration would be reduced with the standard floor and mats. There have been no concussion / vibration studies to compare the two, and I suppose there is no way to know whether or how much difference it makes to your horse. I also wonder about heat from the road transfered up through the trailer floor, it seems it should be greater with Rumber, but again, that is something that has not been studied.

Rumber is not a strong material, because of this it is critical to have more floor supports so the Rumber does not sag between the floor supports.

If your horse paws I DO NOT recommend Rumber unless you add mats on top. Though there is a 20 year wear warranty I would rather not have a horse paw through a floor or paw a divet.

Rumber is much heavier than the wood floor but with the addition of stall mats on wood the weight difference is negligible.

On a retail basis the additional cost of Rumber is currently between $45 and $55 per foot For a standard 2 horse trailer with a 10' stall length this to me is significant. On the resale market it does not appear to make a difference in price for a well maintained used trailer.

It is important to note that I have not had any complaints from clients that have ordered trailers with Rumber other than Rumber being more difficult to clean. Using shavings can be helpful in preventing manure from getting squished down into the grooves of a Rumber floor, and a pressure washer or strong flowing hose and brush can be used if you want a really clean looking floor.

At the end of the day, it is your trailer and your choice.

What size straight load? Hawk Trailers straight load horse trailer sizing

Back in the day ( the 1970's), a horse trailer was considered "extra tall, extra wide" if it was 7' tall and 6' wide. Thoroughbred sized trailers were usually 7' tall and some came only 5' wide! Quarter horse sized trailers were typically 6'6 tall and 5' or 6' wide.

These days horse owners should consider horse trailer sizing that suits their needs and the needs of their horses rather than assume one size fits all.

Lets first talk about horses that are not heavy drafty types.

I have found that most horses up to 17h will be comfortable in our standard large size Hawk trailer that is 7'6 tall, 6' width and has a 10' stall length. This 10' stall length is split with 7' going to the body area and 3' going in the head and neck area. The 7' body area is measured from the breast bar to the rear door. This standard large sized trailer works well for horses measuring up to an 82" blanket size.

What if my horse is 17h and measures for an 84" or longer blanket size but is not a drafty type horse?

I start thinking about increasing the body stall area by 6" IF the largest horse you will haul measures 84" and up in blanket sizing. For these longer horses I suggest adding 6" to the body area, but without the drafty heavy body type the standard 6' width still does the job well.

What about my 17h and up Warmblood or drafty horse?

For true XXL sizing and horses 17h and up our Hawk Trailers XXL is the best choice. The height will be 7'8, the width is increased to 6'8 and the stall length is 11'. This 11' stall length is split 7 1/2' for the body area and 3 1/2' for the head and neck area.

To date the largest horse I have designed a trailer for was 18 2h! This horse is enormous, he lives in WA State. For him and his owner the trailer height was increased to 8', the width was increased to 7' and the stall length was 12'! This is a horse that measured nose to tail at about 12'!

If you are unsure of what Hawk Trailer size to order please give me a call. You might also consider measuring your horse; start with blanket size. Then measure nose to tail and also chest to tail.
Happy Trails!