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Guide to Buying a Trailer

Trailers come in many different types and sizes. How do you know which one is the best for you? First and foremost, what are your needs? Do you have many or few? Open trailer or enclosed?

If you need additional space for your items, open trailers are great. Sizes can be anywhere from 4 feet by 6 feet to 6 feet by 12 feet, up to a length of 30 feet. Some steel rails surrounding the edge can go up to 9 inches to 24 inches. This works to keep your equipment in position during traveling.

With enclosed trailers, on the other hand, your equipment will travel while locked up. This is a good option if you want more storage. Yet another advantage of an enclosed trailer is the assurance that the trailer has your equipment during load shifts. Just like open units, enclosed trailers can come in widely varying sizes. They start at 4 feet by 6 feet with a single axle, and move up to 8 feet by 26 feet with dual axles.

You also have to decide what type of hitch to use with your trailer. The most common are a ball hitch attached to the frame.

Checking Trailer Tires

A trailer’s tires are, of course, important. In most cases, they are either 6, 8 or 10 ply. Needless to say, each of your trailer’s tires should have enough air pressure and must be able to carry the load you need it to.

Trailer Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

Get a calculator and compute the trailer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). This is simply the weight of the trailer on top of the payload capacity. It’s best to choose a trailer with a GVWR that is higher than what you intend to carry.

Maximum Towing Weight

Just check the trailer’s manual to know its maximum towing weight, or just ask your dealer.

Loading/Unloading

There are small trailers with ramp gates that can be lowered by hand, and there are those that have folding or flip-up ramp gates on the side.

Registration and Licensing

It’s a must that you comply with state regulations on the licensing and registration of your vehicle. When buying your trailer, you will receive a manufacturer certificate of origin (MCO) which, together with your bill of sale, you have to present to your local license bureau before getting your title. Keep in mind though that laws can vary from state to state.

Buying a used trailer, you should get a bill of sale, along with a statement of origin or a title that is now in your name. Otherwise, you can’t register the trailer or use it legally.

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