- Ideas & How-Tos
Choose Your Savings
If you're looking for a trailer, we have just what you need. Whether you need an open or closed trailer, our buying guide can help you make the right choice.
Who knew something so mobile could be so stable in terms of quality, reliance and durability? When you think about trailers, it’s interesting to discover how an unpowered vehicle towed by another is such a leader in transportation.
Trailers are great for carrying equipment, products and other items from one location to another. Because there are so many options, our helpful buying guide is here to offer tips and give you the information you need to choose the right trailer.
With so many selections available, first think about your needs. Do you have a lot or a little? Do you need an open trailer or an enclosed trailer?
Open trailers are great, especially if you need extra space for your items. Size availability includes trailers ranging from 4 by 6 feet or 6 by 12 feet to as long as 30 feet. Some even offer a 9-inch to 24-inch steel rail that surrounds the edge. This helps keep your equipment in place while traveling.
Enclosed trailers offer you the ability to lock up your equipment. This is a great option if you need extra storage. Another advantage in having an enclosed trailer is knowing that the trailer contains your equipment during load shifts. In addition, enclosed trailer sizes vary similarly to open-style units. Smaller enclosed trailers come in 4 by 6 feet with a single axle, and units increase in size up to the 8-by-26-foot range with dual axles.
Next, you’ll want to consider the type of hitch you’ll need with your trailer. Chances are you’ve seen many trailers with a ball hitch attached to the frame — these are the most common.
Check Your Trailer Tires
As with any vehicle, tires are important. Tires typically come in six-, eight- or 10-ply. Make sure your tires can handle the load you intend to transport and that they each have the correct amount of air pressure.
Trailer Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
Grab a calculator and determine the trailer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). The GVWR is the weight of the trailer plus payload capacity. You want to select a trailer with a higher GVWR than you intend to carry.
How Much Weight Can Your Vehicle Handle?
Find out the maximum towing weight of your vehicle by checking the owner’s manual or contacting your dealer.
Loading and Unloading
Some small trailers come equipped with ramp gates that you can lower by hand, while others may have a side-ramp gate that folds or flips up.
Make sure you're complying with state regulations when licensing and registering your trailer. When you purchase your trailer, you'll receive a manufacturer certificate of origin (MCO). Hold on to this document because you’ll need to take this and your bill of sale to your local license bureau to receive your title. Keep in mind that laws may vary from one state to another.
1. How much weight can I place in or on my new trailer?
2. What’s the maximum weight of my tow vehicle and how much weight can it tow?
3. What’s the size of the coupler that's on my new trailer? The trailer ball on the tow vehicle must be the same size.
4. Does my new trailer need tie-downs? And do I need a spare-tire and a spare tire carrier?
5. Do I need an enclosed trailer or a utility trailer?
Not all trailers can be licensed in all states. Speak with your local officials for details.