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Repair trailer or buy new? WWYD

Would love some advice or suggestions for those who have gone through this.

Five years ago I bought a 2002 Kingston 2-horse BP in excellent condition. It’s been serviced yearly by a local trailer company that also sells trailers. Every service date they said how it’s in great shape for its age. I use it from spring to fall a few times a month.

This spring, I noticed some flaking around one of the crossbeams supporting the undercarriage. In a matter of a few months it considerably degraded. I called my service co, they got me in, and I got a call a few weeks later that the trailer was completely unsound, as the frame had rotted away.

They discouraged welding/replacing, quoting $10k in repair costs. For that money I may as well put a down payment on a new trailer, but those aren’t cheap either! I was quoted nearly $35k for a new edition of my current trailer. :exploding_head:

Here is where I am conflicted, because I’m getting different advice from different people. My trailer guy says the trailer is unsafe and it’ll be too expensive to repair. He also pointed out for its age, there’s no guarantee something else won’t degrade – and it degraded so fast that I am still shocked it went from ‘excellent condition’ one spring to ‘totally unuseable’ the next.

A source I trust who welds says to repair the trailer, it shouldn’t cost $10k, and would be more in line with $2k, and that the new welding job would be stronger than before. My concern with repairing versus replacing is I already have some mild anxieties about a horse falling through the floor, and I don’t know if I could trust the trailer after a repair. But I don’t know anything about welding/fabrication, so I could be wrong. $35k for peace of mind is a lot.

I could buy used again - but the market is so inflated ATM, and I am afraid I’d pay half of what a new trailer costs just to be in the same position I am in in a few years. I really expected this trailer to last me at least 10 years.

I guess seeing pictures of the underside of the trailer would help inform everyone’s decision. The crossbeams have rotting where they join with the frame. The rest of the trailer is in good condition for its age - I really was shocked by this diagnosis.


I’d look for a good quality used trailer in good condition. What gets the high asking price may not be the type of trailer you are looking for. With current economic situations, horse ownership for some may be becoming something they can no longer afford, thus the sale. Be in the right place at the right time with cash.


Can you get a third opinion? The drastic difference in price and opinion would have me suspicious that either welder friend doesn’t fully understand the question or that trailer store is taking you for a bit of a ride. Is there an independent company (that does not sell trailers) that performs this type of repair that could weigh in?

Do also really think through if you could trust a repair at all. If not, then repairing and using this trailer is really just off the table. Maybe you’d still repair to sell and get a good price, but know and acknowledge your limits on if you want to continue to use this trailer. It’s okay to say no.


This is why I’m so conflicted. It is a big difference!

There is another company I could take the trailer to, but they are also affiliated with selling trailers (Yered). Both companies have great reputations in terms of repair and affordability. I think I’m just looking at a situation created by today’s market and inflation… just, yeesh. I can’t believe a metal box costs more than some cars. :joy:

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I would take it to someone other than this particular dealer and have it looked at.

My concern would be that it went from being sound to not being worth fixing within such a short period of time.

Did the dealer lie about its condition when they said it was sound?

Did the dealer’s service shop make a HUGE mistake when they said it was sound?

Did the dealer lie about its condition now?

Used trailer prices are incredibly high right now, as are new. What is to stop a dealer from telling a customer their trailer is shot? They sell the customer a new trailer, take the old one on trade, say they fix whatever issue it has (or doesn’t really have) and then they resell it for major dollars.


I’m also going to say you need to get a third opinion.

I could see 10k if it needed a whole new frame AND cross members.

But if it just needs a few new crossmembers, 10k is quite the stretch.


Another vote for another opinion.

Going from great shape to totally not usable that quickly makes me worry.

Worth getting another opinion.


I’d look for a newer used trailer only because I’d always be second guessing the repair work because I’m a worrier. Fall might be a time to find a deal.
BTW, I had a Kingston years ago and it deteriorated the same way :frowning_face:.


Just to pop in and say the same thing happened to me with a Kingston. Mine was old enough that the style had the frame exposed to the inside horse area by about an inch. That area had rusted, would be impossible to fix without basically replacing the frame. It had been inspected by the same place for years and this issue was never called out. I also got a second opinion which just confirmed it. Mine was still useable and passed inspection but the shop said it could last 6 months or years there was no way of knowing how fast it would continue to rust. I sold it with full disclosure. Sat with no trailer for a bit and bought a very inexpensive all steel Valley trailer from my friend when she decided to sell. It’s not the trailer I really want but it’ll work for a few years until the trailer market evens out.


I would get another estimate. I had a frame replaced about 10 years ago for like 2k. I’m sure it has gone up some but not to 10k. 35k for a 2 horse bumper pull seems high to me as well though. I paid 45 for a tricked out 2 plus 1 a couple of years ago.

There is great advice here. That said, I would always worry there was a problem that couldn’t be seen to even be repaired. I’d look for something else. Rust is incideous.


I’m anxious about trailering anyway so I wouldn’t repair but would replace with a different trailer for long-term peace of mind. I just bought a 2018 2H BP Hawk with upgrades for an excellent price by joining state-specific horse trailer sale FB groups in my surrounding states. I had to be patient to find the right trailer new enough to be comfortable and at a good price. They are out there if you have time to wait and watch.


Did they provide you a written repair estimate that shows where the $10k comes from? Or was this just a rough ‘it’s broke, will probably cost around $10k to fix’ conversation? I’d want to see a proper written estimate with a breakdown of line items to see where the bulk of that cost is coming from before making decisions.

Without further detail/explanation, I agree… $10k to replace some crossmembers seems quite high. The trailer dealer has every motivation to sell you a new trailer, and next to none to keep this one functional.


I would rather pay someone I trust to fix it than buy a used trailer that I have no history on and depend on it being safe.


It’s 20 years old. With one significant problem that has been discovered. Unlikely this problem just occurred in the last year, more likely it just became visible. When things go bad with horses and trailers it goes bad in a big way. I would be shopping.


I would get a second opinion. Trailers are pretty simple vehicles and a good welding job shouldn’t be 10K.


Just wanted to say be careful when looking at trailer on Facebook groups. There have been a lot of fake ads. If it sounds to good to be true it is. There are a lot of scammers these days. I would look on trailer world and see if you can get a deal on a new one. I’ve seen price drop a little since inventory isn’t moving because of lack of demand, to high mark up and interest rates.

If you do buy something use make sure you are watching ads daily because if a decent trailer does come up for sale they usually go same day because there are so many people looking.


In the last 6 months I sold 2 horse trailers.

One a 2019 4 Star 2+1. Custom, purchased new.

The other a 2000 2h Featherlite.

I sold them both for substantially more than I paid for them.

Just to indicate the market right now.


This happened with my stock trailer many years ago. The welder who looked at my trailer said:

“You are hauling live weight that you care about —- don’t fix this, trade it off”. So I did and have never regretted it🤠


Thank you all, you’ve given me lots of think about. I’m so bummed about how quickly it deteriorated. :frowning:

To be more specific, I’m dealing with exactly what @stargzng386 did. The beams and frame would have to be totally replaced. Even if I replaced the frame, I do think I would always worry…

I appreciate all the advice. I’m not sure I can go used again, the market is just too strong and I don’t want to be in the same situation a few years down the road.

Any pre-emptive advice for brand new trailer shopping? :face_vomiting: