Your Complete Guide to Buying a Trailer

So – you’re considering purchasing a trailer! If you’re undecided on whether or not that is right for you, do make sure you take a look at our beginner’s guide. However, if you’re confident that a solid, durable trailer unit could help you, it’s time to think about what to look for.

Buying a trailer isn’t always as simple as picking the right model or unit out from the store. There are a lot of things you are going to need to consider! How do you know that a trailer is right for you? Which models are best for your cargo needs?

In this buying guide, we will take you through the trailer shopping process. We will cover all the main aspects and areas of trailer sales and talk about important questions you need to be asking yourself along the way.

Don’t feel lost while shopping around for a trailer. Read on for the full lowdown!

What Do You Need a Trailer For?

The first question you should be asking yourself while shopping is, ‘what am I going to use my trailer for?’. It’s essential to have a good idea of the weight and size of cargo you’re likely to be transporting. It’s also a good idea to think about how often you’re likely to use a trailer.

If for business purposes, for example, it may be worth you considering a custom-built model.

The trailer you buy is obviously going to be dictated by how you intend to use it. For example, you could be hauling wood, stone, heavy-duty tools, car parts, motorcycles, even entire vehicles. There are many different trailers built for various requirements.

We will examine the purpose of those trailers and units in further guides. For now, however, it makes sense to give you an overview of what to expect from specific trailer types.

Considering Trailer Types

It may surprise you to learn that not all trailers do the same job. While they are all used to haul cargo, different jobs and demands will benefit from different types of units. Let’s take a quick look at some common trailer types, and how they might apply to you.

Flatbed Trailers

The Flatbed trailer is probably the most common unit you’ll see on the road. It’s a long, basic platform, which can carry varying loads depending on its axles and durability. These are bare units that don’t have the luxury of raised sides, but which offer plenty of suspension and space for heavy cargo loads.

Flatbed trailers are ideal for bulk transportation. You will need to tie or ideally chain down any items you wish to transport using this trailer type. They are seen by many as the most cost-effective option.

Depending on the type of flatbed you opt for, you’ll receive a certain amount of height support, too. We’ll make sure to list everything you need to know.

Box Trailers

Box trailers are also popular with haulers. These trailers are, as the name suggests, boxes fitted to platforms for connection to your vehicle. As with flatbed trailers, they can vary in terms of load-bearing capability.

These units are preferred by people who look for added security on the road. Sensitive or loose cargo, for example, will benefit from being boxed in. While you will need to secure your cargo before hitting the road, there is less need for you to do so here compared with flatbed trailers.

Typically, Box trailers come fitted with a side that drops down for easy loading and unloading. Some models are more secure, with reinforced siding, added axle support, and heavy-duty chassis.

Car Carriers and Transporters

Need to move vehicles from place to place? You’re going to need the support of a heavy-duty tandem trailer. Tandem axles provide the most support and load-bearing on the roads. These carriers generally arrive without sides, though they can be easily secured in place and released via the ramp on delivery.

You may use a car carrier, for example, if you need to pick up scrap vehicles, or transport motorcycles or ATVs.

Tipper Trailers

Need to unload material such as stone or grit? A tipper trailer does exactly what you expect it would. These units are built specifically to hydraulically empty big loads on delivery, by tipping up! The clue is in the name.

Custom Trailer Builds

If your needs vary, or if you are likely to carry specific cargo, you may benefit from a custom-built trailer. These can be built to order, meaning you can customize weight-bearing, height bearing and safety features. You can also request that customization be made to standard trailer types, wherever possible.

Things to Consider

Now we’ve taken a look at some of the leading trailer types available to you, let’s consider other points you need to factor in. Before buying a trailer, there are a few factors and facilities you should be keeping in mind.

Consider Your Budget

Buying a trailer is a serious investment. However, it is one which could benefit you for years to come, providing you purchase a durable, reliable model. You should generally budget for at least $1,500 – $2,000 for a high-quality trailer. If you run a business, or regularly transport goods from home to elsewhere, this price will be paid off after just a few uses.

Weld Quality is Important

Never be afraid to ask a trailer supplier about the weld quality of their units. Reliable trailers should be fully welded and be robust for use on the road. It is essential that you buy a trailer which isn’t likely to break or degrade while out and about.

Galvanizing Means Weather Resistance

A galvanized trailer is one that is protected against the elements. You may be likely to haul cargo in all weather! Therefore, the last thing you need is a trailer that rusts or corrodes. Galvanised trailers are built and coated to withstand regular use no matter the weather conditions.

Bigger Trailer Need More Axles

 The bigger the trailer, the more axles it will need. What’s more, the more axles, the more weight a trailer can generally bear. Tandem axles, for instance, will withstand much more pressure than everyday flatbeds. There are also benefits in the fact that you won’t lose manoeuvrability on the road.

Make sure to look for three or more axles, or tandem axles, if you are likely to be carrying cumbersome cargo.

Load Bearing Capacity

In line with the above, always aim for a load-bearing capacity that is more than you may need. Aiming for a trailer that can cope with the exact weight you need is never a good idea. Why? Because your haul weight may fluctuate, it is safer to err on the side of caution.

Trailers with higher load-bearing are more dependable, on the whole, and will likely be a better investment for you in the long run.

Bearing Quality

Again, following on, always check the quality of trailer bearings. New trailers will possess fully-lubricated fittings. However, they also need to be seated and secured correctly for optimal safety during the passage. Never be afraid to ask an expert about bearing status while shopping.

Sizing Up

It’s probably more likely you’ll be thinking about the weight of your load as opposed to the shape. However, consider the items you are likely to carry. Are you hauling lawnmower equipment or ATVs? What about heavy-duty power tools? If this is the case, you will likely need a long or wide trailer to transport your cargo safely.

This is where specialised trailers, such as mower trailers and bobcat trailers, come in handy. These are not only designed to carry super-heavy loads but those of awkward shapes and dimensions. Do make sure to take shape and size into account while shopping.

Coverage

Are you likely to be move items that are sensitive to the weather? If yes, you should look at buying a box trailer with full roof coverage. That will ensure that anything likely to be affected by wet weather, for example, is kept dry. Coverage isn’t always necessary, however, your needs may vary!

Making Your Purchase

While you can easily purchase a trailer online with confidence, you may also wish to see your unit in person before spending any money. This way, you can take a look at the trailer and check it measures as described. You could also inspect the build quality of the trailer and ask specific questions to be positive that it meets your needs.

The right trailer for you will be a unit that can withstand all weather, tackle all road conditions, and be versatile. Our advice would be to carefully consider the different types available, how often you are going to use your trailer, and what for. Make sure to size up and purchase a unit that gives you more than enough support.

The team at Muscle Trailers is always here to support you, too. Got any questions? Call us on 1300 845 270, or chat to us online at your convenience.