Buying a lorry on a budget: Top points to check in a budget lorry

By Harriet Linton

Tack and equipment advice

06 November 2009 14:57

Seven thousand pounds is an awful lot of money to most horse owners. But when it comes to buying a lorry, unfortunately a £7,000 budget places you right in the bargain basement. We guide you through each step of the lorry buying process to get the best lorry for your money.

Tyres Cheaper and, therefore, older boxes will often have imperial-sized types. Always have a correctly-sized spare tyre with you as a rescue company might not be able to supply the right one, leaving you stranded.

Cooling systems Radiators can deteriorate quite quickly, which means they’re not doing their job of cooling the engine. This can result in an overheating problem, which is expensive to put right.

Partitions These must be very secure and able to take a horse’s weight.

Rust Some is visible, but the more dangerous kind can not be seen. Common ways to cover rust include paint and body filler, so look over the bodywork closely. An expert will know by the make of vehicle where to look for potential rust problems.

The box floor Rubber flooring is increasingly popular, but you must be able to peel it back and check underneath – this isn’t possible with some kinds of rubber flooring, which are poured and set solid. Watch out, too, for rubber matting that’s been screwed down so it can’t be lifted. There should be holes in the floor for urine to drain out, as this can quickly rot a floor.

Transmission Make sure the clutch is sound.

Gearbox Can you change gear smoothly, or is there any ‘jumping’ between gears?

Stone chips If these are within the wipe area of the windscreen wipers, the VOSA may well require you to get a new windscreen.

Ramp Check the ramp but particularly the hinges. In a conversion the hinges are not always correctly aligned and the weight of the horse when loading or unloading could pull or even break a hinge.