Many of us arent always up to date with the do’s and don’ts of purchasing a pre-owned float. With so many makes on models on the market these days it is hard to pick the correct float. With Chinese floats tempting us with ‘value’ for money and older floats which have been fully restored it is sometimes the incorrect float which you tow away.... The items below are a simple checklist to consider when viewing a pre-owned float.
Checking tyre wear, uneaven wear may as simple as the previous owner driving on a low tyre or, it could be as serious as a bent axle or loose suspension.
Checking wheel bearings, very, very important to do this more than once a year on any float. If inspecting a float a good firm twist of the wheel can encourage excessive movement to make a knock and be detected.
Any leakages in the float such as fibre glass cracks, rotted timber or bent door frames can allow water in to do its worst.. Signs of water stains or rust marks is a good indication the float has got a leak or has had one in the past which may have been fixed.
Door seals (these arent huge safety issues but will prevent rotting/rusting).
Check wiring and seals around trailer plugs and light fittings, this can eliminate moisture build up in lights and lenses which will then cause lights to fail and possibly blow fuses leaving you with no lights.
Make sure tailgates have good enough rubber or some timber slats to prevent horses slipping with wet shoes.
Sufficient clearance lights. The old Halogen style bulbs have been used for years and have done a great job. The latest lighting product on the scene are L.E.D. Lights (light Emitting Diode) they are 10 times as bright, don’t require replacing and light your float up like a Christmas tree at night time. When towing in a dark stormy night on a freeway it makes visibility so much poorer so ‘re-lighting’ your float with L.E.D. Lights is highly recommended from a safety point of view if the float you are looking at doesn’t currently have them.
Reflective tape. Rolls of reflective tape are another great idea for visibility. Next time your out on the road at night and you pull over turn your lights off and walk behind your float. You will notice that when a cars lights hit it you don’t pick up anything, you may get a small reflection from your tail lamps (which should be switched off), but you cant make out if it is a small box trailer or a big truck. Go and buy a roll of reflective tape from Bunnings, supercheap auto, autobarn and stick it around the outer frame of your float. During the day it is very subtle (make sure you get the white and silver one not the bring orange one) how ever at night.. Your float will look like a moving road sign!. Very safe and effective way of protecting you and your horses on the freeway.
Flooring, many older floats have already had new floors fitted, this does not mean they havent rotted through again though. When the float is listed as having ‘new floor fitted’ peel back the rubber to investigate. It is not as if the sellers are being untruthful, it is just that leaks can spring up without the owners knowledge and quickly rott a new floor.
Registration... A quick online check can inform you if the float you are looking at is underfinance or currently un registered. Some owners do neglect to tell you this. Neither of which is a huge concern if it is an honest sale. Your local RTA can inform you of the procedure to take on both.
Rust on Steel floats is going to be evident in some shape or form. Surface rust and corosion is going to be on bascially every float on the road (unless it is made from fibreglass or Aluminium). Floats which have been shedded will have less and floats have not will have more. This is pretty easy to pick and cant be covered up in a ‘cheap fix’ by a sticker or new paint. If serious rust has made its way into the frame or chassis of a float it will be easy to pick. Always check for brand new shuny paint on frames and Chassis (as this may have been an attempt to cover up a quick rust job). If done corrently then this is not a problem however none of us want to deal with rust 6 months after purchasing a float..
You can always check online on any of these specific points if you are unsure of what to look for, there have been enough horror stories on all the mad points to show imgaes of rotted floors, rusted frames and shoddy wiring. Try not to let pretty alloy wheels and shiny paint overule a solid floor and solid frame.. Remember BUYER BEWARE!!!