Trailers are extremely useful pieces of equipment and they are able to satisfy a number of unique requirements. From hauling camping equipment during a family outing to transporting construction materials to and from a nearby job site, there is indeed a trailer intended for every need. Let us take a look at the main types of trailers on the market, what to look out for when choosing a specific design and some of the best ways to save money during the purchase process.

A Look at the Categories of Trailers

Travel trailers are the most common type seen on the open road. These are generally compact and lightweight while being built lower than the towing vehicle in order to limit the effects of drag. A travel trailer can be open to the elements or completely enclosed to protect its contents. It normally consists of a pair of real wheels mounted upon a stainless steel or aluminum chassis.

Semi-trailers are a second variety. As their name suggests, semi-trailers are larger than travel trailers although they once again contain a rear axle. The main difference is their size. Semi-trailers can be long as 57 feet (the maximum amount allowed by law in most states). They also may have detachable front wheels or “landing gear” which helps to support its mass once it is detached from the towing vehicle. Smaller mobile homes and refrigerated trailers can fall into this category.

The third main type of trailer is known as a flatbed trailer. This trailer can be quite long and it is usually towed by a commercial vehicle such as a truck cab. Its open-air bed can be constructed from aluminum or steel and its lower frame is extremely sturdy; able to handle tons of weight without a problem. Depending upon the load being transported, it will also boast a number of wheels which are positioned lengthwise along its chassis. These are meant to evenly distribute the weight and provide greater control to the driver.

What to Look for When Choosing a Trailer

There are a handful of practical considerations which need to be addressed in order to make an informed choice. The two most important factors are the amount of weight that needs to be towed and the materials being transported. All trailers are classified according to their gross tonnage and this figure is clearly marked. For instance, transporting a pair of motorcycles will normally call for the use of a light-duty unit while hauling hundreds of bags of cement will likely dictate that a medium- or heavy-duty unit be purchased. Secondly, sensitive or perishable materials could require an enclosed unit. This provides extra protection from temperature variations, the elements and even theft. Some other concerns can include:

  • The cost of the trailer.

  • The ability to receive monthly financing packages.

  • If applicable, its condition.

  • The presence of built-in safety systems such as rear proximity sensors.

  • Whether or not the front mounting system is compatible with your vehicle.

All of these metrics should be addressed separately, for they will ultimately determine how useful the trailer will be on the open road.

Getting the Best Deal for Your Money

Trailers can be surprisingly expensive and this will often depend upon their size. So, any purchase should adopt the very same strategy utilized when buying a new or used car. First and foremost, always shop around in order to find the best prices. Use online comparison sites in order to appreciate what they average price for a specific make and model appears to be. Some other worthwhile suggestions may include:

  • Determining whether you are required to ensure the trailer and if so, whether or not it can be added to your current coverage policy.

  • Seeing what types of maintenance are required, as this can become expensive over time.

  • Asking if a larger down payment will reduce the overall amount of your monthly premiums.

If your budget is tight, a used model in good condition may be the best choice. Please feel free to refer back to this guide when necessary. You will then be able to encounter the perfect trailer for your needs.