A Guide for Buying the Best Suited Trailer
Are you looking to buy a trailer but don’t know how to make the best choice? The trailer you’ll buy will end up serving more functions than you originally planned for. So, here are a few questions you should be able to answer, that’ll help you reach a decision.
- What will the trailer be used for?
The most popular types of trailers for consumer use fall under two categories: utility and enclosed. A utility trailer is open and provides space for moving lawn equipment, scraps or all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). An enclosed trailer offers the ability to lock your equipment up and provides accessible mobile storage.
- What will be the size and weight of the thing you’ll carry on the trailer?
If you are shifting your house and need to load all your belongings, a moving trailer is best suited for this job.
Moving trailer types include:
- Cargo Trailers: cargo trailers are aerodynamic and lightweight to save fuel during your drive. Also, they are enclosed to fully protect your luggage from weather or road debris.
- Utility Trailers: best for towing odd-sized cargo, tools, and landscaping materials, but not ideal for long-distance trips as they don’t protect your stuff from damage or theft.
- Auto Trailers: a good solution for relocating your vehicle when you prefer not to drive or ship it.
For transporting vehicles specifically:
- Tow dolly (also known as gypsy trailers): Tow dollies are best for front-wheel-drive cars that weigh 5000 pounds “curb weight” or less and can be pulled behind your personal vehicle or a moving truck.
- Car carrier: Car carriers are better than tow dollies for long-distance moves, but they do cost slightly more. The good thing about car carriers is that most of them have a loading ramp, automatic brakes, security chains, ratchet-operated tire straps, and tilt-out fenders in case you need to access your car while it’s on the trailer.
- Motorcycle trailer:Tow a motorcycle at any distance with this trailer type. It comes equipped with a loading ramp, a built-in chock to help stabilize your bike’s front wheel, and tie-down rings to secure heavy motorcycles in place that make it ideal for the job.
- Utility trailer with ramp: Ideal for ATVs, golf carts, boats, or oddly sized vehicles. It also includes tie-down rings and an integrated chock support to secure and stabilize your vehicles in place.
- What is the maximum weight your vehicle can tow?
Overloading a vehicle can put a huge strain on the engine, transmission and other working parts of a vehicle. At the same time, drivers in overloaded vehicles are putting themselves and others on the road at risk.
To calculate your vehicle’s payload capacity, you only need to know two things: your vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and its curb weight.
GVWR is the empty weight of the trailer plus the weight of the payload, simply put, it’s the maximum allowable weight of an entire vehicle when it’s ready to go.
Curb weight is simply how much the vehicle weighs on its own, without any cargo or passengers. This measurement includes a full tank of gas and any other fluids that keep it running.
If you want to find out what the maximum towing weight of your vehicle is, check the owner’s manual for your vehicle.
- Tandem axle or single axle?
A tandem axle trailer has two sets of axles – one right behind the other. The extra tires allow the trailer to carry more weight and to be more stable at high speeds and highway conditions. They provide better stability and smoother riding and can carry up to 1500kg of items. A less powerful vehicle will struggle with the increased weight and friction of tandem axles with large loads, so it’s a good idea to check if there is even weight distribution over both axles otherwise there can be too much stress on a single axle.
A single axle trailer is smaller and easier to maneuver than a tandem model; if parking is thin or there is not a lot of wiggle room in your parking area, a single axle model will be easier to handle. The smaller size of a single axle trailer makes it more fuel efficient than its tandem counterparts; towing could be easier due to the lighter weight and adjustable towing angles.
- Cage or no cage?
Caged trailers are perfect for bulky items like beds, furniture and ATVs.
Non-caged trailers are excellent for general purposes, especially for landscaping supplies like pebbles, compost and sand because of easy tray access.
The best way to load items on your trailer is to make sure you load heavier items first towards the front of the trailer (closest to the car). Place lighter items on top and toward the back (near the door). Make sure to use tie-down straps to secure your stuff before you tow your trailer anywhere.
Properly load the trailer with the majority of the weight placed in front of the axle (roughly 60/40 weight split). This allows the weight to be dispersed between the axle and the tongue.