Saturday, May 22, 2010

Safety & Comfort - On the Road

On my way home from last week's clinic, as I was driving along the interstate, I realized that I could barely see in the dim light from my headlights. This has happened previously, and I had thought that my eyesight was deteriorating, so I'd had my mechanic install some brighter headlights. Apparently, this hadn't improved things, so the next morning I took a good look at the situation.

Upon inspection, I discovered that my '98 Chevy truck's headlight lens is made of PLASTIC instead of glass - unbelievable. Over time, the plastic has deteriorated and yellowed, making it look more like a marker light than a headlight. I've been online and identified a replacement headlight assembly (which has a glass lens and utilizes halogen bulbs).

While surfing, I found information from a guy who had successfully cleaned his plastic lenses by sanding off the degraded plastic and then polishing. This afternoon, my DH and I tackled our truck!

Using steel wool (different grades), we scrubbed until the lens changed color. Then I buffed with baking soda dampened with peroxide using an old washcloth. Then I wiped each lens with acetone nail polish remover, followed by a gloss of WD-40. They look MUCH better - but I'd still like to convert them to halogen with glass lenses..


While at the clinic last weekend, Carol Coppinger said, "When was the last time that you rode in the back of your trailer?" The idea stuck with me. Yesterday, very unusually, my husband and I were together hauling our empty horse trailer, when it occurred to me to try it out. He wasn't thrilled but agreed to try it for a short way, as long as I wore a helmet and carried my cell phone. ;-)

One thing that I really wanted to analyze was the air flow patterns while moving at highway speed with different configurations of windows & vents open. (My worst fear was that I was subjecting horses to that "thumping" that happens when you only have one car window open!)

I discovered that the scoop vent above the manger works best when open in the direction of travel, but it could be too much directly air overhead unless the day was really hot. The side window vents don't improve airflow much when open, but do increase the noise level and visual stimulation. (They are probably most effective in reducing the interior temperature when the trailer is stopped.)

The trailer offered a surprisingly smooth ride, with the exception of stopping and backing up, which necessitated a dramatic shift in weight to balance (but perhaps easier for a 4 legged critter than a 2 legged one?) I discovered one poorly-banked turn along our driveway, but the steep hill wasn't as much of an issue as I'd speculated. The padding within the trailer helps enormously with buffering bumps and turns.

There was one annoying noise. Turns out that one of the back doors (the upper part) rattled loudly while in motion. The other door was fine. After careful observation, we determined that we could bend the latch slightly to tighten the seal and solve the problem. I never would have figured this out without taking a ride in the back!

I feel greatly relieved knowing that my horse trailer is comfortable and safe for my equine passengers.

No comments: