Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Getting Ready for Hauling in Eight Million Complicated Steps

So: free admission up front that this is my fault. I got myself into this situation through a combination of neglect, laziness, and being broke. But getting my truck and trailer back on the road is proving an uphill battle. It's one that I will win eventually! But man, is it frustrating in the interim.

Step 1: Re-registering the trailer.

When I moved to Vermont, I parked the trailer. I planned on registering and inspecting it in the spring - no worries! Then Tristan had surgery, and my attention was wholly taken up with his recovery and rehab. Before I knew it, it was late summer again, and there was no way he was ready to go do anything off property.

So, in short, the trailer has been sitting in the same field since November 2012. The registration had expired, and transferring it to Vermont required a) a VIN assignment (horse trailer rules, they are different everywhere, and the trailer is too old to have had a VIN previously), b) paying the sales tax on a trailer I bought eight years ago, THANKS VERMONT, and c) finally getting the registration current.

(when registering all vehicles in Vermont, if you have no proof that you have paid the sales tax, even if the vehicle is 30+ years old and you bought it many years ago, they require you to pay sales tax; in this case, they assigned a basic minimum value to the trailer of $200 and made me pay $12 sales tax, which was not quite enough to refuse in righteous fury but was still enough to be annoying)

All of this was accomplished in a joyful 90 minutes at the DMV last week. Good grief.

Step 2: Get the truck inspected.

No problem right? Except. With this horrible, awful winter, I did not get out as often as I should have to start the truck and run it for a bit to keep the battery primed. So it died. It really died. After a jump and 30 minutes of running it had no intention of starting again.

Not only that, but it was good and buried in a snowbank, which is not a problem of shoveling. The truck is a 2WD and does. not. do. snow. That's why it sits in winter. But I had a suspicion that even if I could get a jump and start it in order to drive to the mechanic myself, it would never get out of its parking space.

So last night I called AAA, and they showed up with a very big flatbed tow truck and winched the truck out of its parking space and brought it to the mechanic. And I do mean winched it out: it turns out that the tires had been frozen in at least 4" of ice, and in fact the winch dragged the tow truck back a few inches before the driver re-leveraged it. Holy crap. But eventually, the truck got on to the flat bed trailer, got to the mechanic.

Then it got inspected. Thankfully, it passed inspection with zero problems, just needed a new battery and oil change. GOOD TRUCK.

Step 3: Get the trailer inspected.

This will not happen until the snow melts in early April. There is quite simply no way the trailer is getting out of the snow bank until then. Not. Happening.

Of all the steps, I am dreading this one the most. The trailer has been sitting for nearly 18 months. It is an old trailer. At minimum, it needs the brakes and wheel bearings gone over, and most likely a new breakaway battery. I am worried about the tires, the floor, and the general health of the frame. I don't know what Vermont requires for an inspection, and I can't find that information online. I can't figure out how much money to set aside to fix it - more than $1k? I hope not. I just don't now. If it's too much over $1k, I will have to make some serious decisions about the trailer's future with me.


  1. I'm sure you won't regret the safety updates later, but they sure do suck on the front end.

  2. I have to agree with Sprinklerbandit as much as it might suck now being sure the trailer is safe will be good for peace of mind later. But I do feel your pain. I had a similar situation when my husband was deployed and I had to try and get the plates on our truck renewed. It finally got done but it was a HUGE PITA.


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