The easiest way to help you decide what size trailer to buy is too look at what are the limiting factors and what do job do you want a trailer to perform?
Start with the limiting factors:
- 1-Does the trailer need to fit in a garage, go through a gate or fit in a backyard?
- 2-Does your HOA tell you how to breathe?
- 3-How much can your tow vehicle tow? Take 50% of your max tow capacity and make sure trailer can still do its job (See below about a trailer’s job)
- 4-Does something a specific size and weight need to go inside the trailer?
What job is this trailer performing?:
- 1-Is this trailer hauling toys?
- 2-Is this trailer hauling tools?
- 3-Does this trailer need to make you more efficient on the job?
- 4-Is this trailer just for storing stuff?
- 5-Do you need to work or camp inside of it?
- 6-Is this a one time use trailer because U-haul is too expensive?
Once you can answer all the questions above. Make sure you are understand the Pareto principle 80/20 rule. Try not to size the trailer for the one time you need to move your neighbor’s car. Answer the questions above for the majority of the time you plan on using the trailer. Then calculate the volume and weight and pick the trailer that will meet your needs.
Here is an old farmer’s tip to guessing the weight of a pregnant pig:
Take everything you want to haul into a garage or concrete floor and use blue tape to mark up a 6×12 rectangle on the floor. Subtract 5″ from the 6×12 to get a rough inside measurement, your tape should be about 5.5 x 11.5. See if everything fits into the area you taped off, then adjust accordingly to estimate what size trailer you need. You can also estimate the weight by measuring everything inside your blue box.
We won’t open up the can of worms of barn doors vs ramp in this FAQ.
It’s pretty straight forward. If you are buying a trailer or vehicle, we give you a title or Manufacturer’s certificate of origin. We also give you a 60 day temp tag/registration with purchase. You will have everything you need to title your purchase in your state of residence.
We try to stay away from selling used trailers. Our prices are so low, why would you buy used anyway?
- Getting RV style door locks when you needed a heavy duty bar lock
- Getting a small side door
- Getting no side door
- Getting a rear ramp door when you really need barn doors or the other way around
- Getting the wrong size trailer, including the wrong height
- Getting a base model trailer with thin skin, small side door and 24″ OC (on center) wall bracing.
Not as much as you would think. In tests I have performed towing v-nose and non v-nose my mpg where about the same. It helps a little but it almost unnoticeable.
Make it difficult for a thieve to steal your trailer. Keep in mind thieves don’t want your trailer, they want what’s inside, unless its a flatbed or dump trailer. Don’t just rely on a tongue lock. Make it difficult for them to pull the trailer away (remove the wheels, use a wheel boot, use a 5/8″ or large cable lock, use a hardened U lock). Also keep in mind it’s very easy to cut a pad lock on your trailer.
Park the trailer in such a way to limit access to the side or rear doors. Make it difficult for them to hook up to it. Keep in mind its easy to move a trailer without a vehicle.
It depends. Look at your owner’s manual and see if your vehicle is rated to tow a trailer. If you don’t have an owner’s manual or don’t want to get up to look at it, google the following:
“your vehicle + vehicle year + engine size” towing capacity
tacoma 2002 2.7 towing capacity
Keep in mind, just because your vehicle might have a towing rating does not mean you should tow with it. Many factors come into play when you tow a trailer with your vehicle. Google the following search terms to learn more, Towing Safety. A good rule of thumb is to not exceed 50% of max towing capacity for beginners.
Smooth Skin –
*If you are putting a logo wrap on the trailer, the wrapper is easier to apply
*Skin is glued on and can come apart.
*Manufacturing process requires additional steps and skill to make sure glue is applied correctly
*Difficult to repair once skin starts coming apart.
*Trailer generally costs more, because of additional costs required for production.
Screwed Skin –
*Easier and more cost effective to produce trailer.
*Easier to repair if screws come lose or to place additional guards on trailer.
*Screws can be placed out of alignment.
*Screws can come lose.
*Bad screws can make the trailer look less attractive.
*Improper screw application can show gaps in seams.
Just like buying anything else, you should look for quality construction and a reputable brand that’s been in business for a long time. Buying a trailer to haul around empty boxes is different than a trailer you need for your livelihood or to carry your $15K bike or tools. Many of the trailers for sale today are base models, with 24″ OC bracing, thin skin, little to no stone guards, and small side doors. Not all trailers are created equally. Look at the comparison table on the home page to help you see the Axle Motors difference.
Here are some tips:
Before you buy a trailer decide on what you need and what you need the trailer to do.
Try to answer the following questions:
Does the trailer need to be enclosed?
Do you have something a certain size that needs to fit in the trailer?
Will you be using the side door a lot?
Does the trailer need to fit in a tight spot?
Will you be towing the trailer frequently?
Are you planning on using the trailer for work?
How much weight do you plan on storing on it?
Can your vehicle tow a trailer safely?
Once you know what size trailer you need try to get the following features and specifications:
16″ OC Braces
Aluminum Skin at least .030″ thick
3/4″ or better plywood floor
36″ or bigger side doors
24″ or taller front stone guard
Made in the USA Axles
Select a Manufacturer with great reviews
Select a retail dealer with experience and has great reviews
Make sure you select the correct axle rating for your desired loads
See these links for how other dealers and trailers compare:
Start with Google.
Google search the following
Manufacturer + reviews
Manufacturer + vs
Carry-On Trailer reviews
Carry-On Trailer vs
Optional Step 2 if Step 1 did not give you the information you need.
Another way is to look at the used market for the trailer you’re interested in. See if it holds its value. Look at the pictures and see how its holding up.
Look at the market for the size trailer you want to get a feel for the highest price, lowest price and average price for the region you’re in.
Determine your budget
Compare product features and specifications
Find a dealer who can provided you the highest value at or below your budget.
There is no catch, we just want to earn your business. We have low overhead and pass the savings on to you. We don’t charge any additional fees. We also don’t collect sales tax or registration for any vehicles including trailers. You will pay the sales tax and registration at the time you register your vehicle.
If you are looking at our trailers, we have them configured the way we would want to use them. Compare features and quality, nobody in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Montana, or Kansas has our quality and features at our price point.
Yes, unless you plan on making a food or concession trailer out of it. Otherwise, if we don’t have it in stock, we can get one ordered for you. Let us know what size and features you need. See the catalogs on the Manuals page for more information about our available trailers. Plan ahead, custom orders take 6-8 weeks for delivery. All custom orders require upfront non refundable deposits of 10%. If you need a food or concession trailer please contact a trailer dealer who specializes in those types of trailers. Thank you and sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
Barn Door – generally referring the rear doors, also called double doors
Ramp Door – referring to the rear door
3500 lbs axle – refers to the max load or carrying capacity of the axle, if its a dual or tandem axle trailer with 3500 lbs axles, this means the gross/ max load is 7000 lbs, subtract the weight of the trailer to determine the max carrying capacity
5000 lbs axle – refers to the max load or carrying capacity of the axle, same logic as above
V-nose – refers to the style of the front of the trailer
Flat nose – refers to the style of the front of the trailer
Bull nose – refers to the style of the front of the trailer, generally this style is in between a flat and v-nose
.030 skin – this refers to the skin thickness or about 1/32″ of an inch, .030 is the about the thickness of a credit card
.020 skin – this refers to the skin thickness or about 1/50″ of an inch, .020 is the thickness of a 20pt business card
Trailer brakes – a braking system, usually electronic drum brakes
2″ ball – this refers the the size ball needed to tow a trailer
Electronic brake controller – this refers to the system in the tow vehicle that supplies power to activate the electronic brakes on a trailer
Measure the profile of your rig and see what trailer best meets your needs.
Keep in mind a 6×12 trailer is not 6×12 inside the trailer. Also take the interior height dimension and subtract 6″ for the door height.
Most folks buy at least a 7′ wide.
RV style door locks are cool looking and function very nicely for opening and closing your trailer. They allow you to close and open your trailer door from the inside the trailer. Unfortunately they are very poor for locking and securing the trailer door. The best option is to have a bar lock to secure your trailer door. See below.
- RV Style Door Lock
- RV Style Lock with Bar Lock View 1
- RV Style Lock with Bar Lock View 2
- Door Bar Lock
Many customers unknowingly buy a trailer with an RV style door lock, when they really needed a bar lock to better secure their trailer.
Instead of installing RV style locks, if you want a low cost alternate, install a latch or barrel bolt lock like this with a handle on the inside of the door:
- Barrel Bolt Lock
- Barrel Bolt Lock Example 1
- Barrel Bolt Lock Example 2
- Barrel Bolt Lock Example 3
- Barrel Bolt Lock Example 4
Make sure you put a lock on your external bar lock, so no one locks you in your trailer.
Thank you Brian P. for this tip.
If you are anticipating more than 1 foot of snow on your trailer, you can upgrade the bracing on your trailer or park your trailer with a heavy pitch such that you don’t accumulate more than 12″ of snow on your trailer’s roof.
According to FEMA, “The weight of one-foot of fresh snow ranges from three-pounds per square foot for light, dry snow to 21 pounds per square foot for wet, heavy snow.” To read more about snow loads from FEMA see this publication
- 1 – Buying a trailer too small for your needs
- 2 – Buying a trailer with the wrong configuration for your needs
- 3 – Buying a trailer too large for your vehicle to safely tow
- 4 – Not buying a spare tire
- 5 – Buying a low quality or no name trailer brand, to save money
It depends on your needs. A v-nose gives you a little more room inside, where as a flat front gives you room on the outside of the front. For instance a 6×10 V-nose trailer lets you put in a 10′ long bike inside. Again it depends on your needs. Most of our flat nose trailers have over two feet of room in the front A-frame portion of the trailer to allow you to install an external generator, tool box or tire. You can get very creative with the extra room in the front of the trailer with a flat front, where as you don’t have much room on the outside front of the trailer on a v-nose.
Keep in mind you don’t really notice the wind efficiency gains with a v-nose, see the other FAQ on this topic.
For starters don’t let water or debris collect on the roof. If possible store your trailer with the tongue jacked slightly up or down such that you have a slight pitch on the roof. Don’t walk on the roof. Try to not install anything on the roof. If you are feeling ambitious paint or coat your roof with a thick non asphalt / petroleum product. Do your research, google will be your friend here on the pros and cons of the different products out there. Here is a video to show you how we do it.
Have you ever tried to put a 32″ object through a 30″ opening? Just like why most front doors to homes are 36″, it’s wide enough for most items without having to use the back doors.
Most of the cheaper trailers use a plastic latch to keep the side door open in case of wind. A good pull usually breaks the plastic style holders. A metal holder does a better job of holding the door open.
Dexter axles are probably the best axle money can buy. Check out Dexter’s Website The other probably more important thing is getting an axle that you can get parts for and is over built.
They sell little test kits for under $10 at the auto parts store.
It depends on the trailer you want to pull. Here is a rule of thumb. If the trailer frame runs about the middle of the wheel, go with a few inches more than the diameter of the wheel. For instance a trailer with a straight tongue on a 15″ wheel would put the required height at about 16″. If its a drop axle subtract the actual drop not the advertised axle drop. For instance a 4″ drop axle usually drops the trailer about 2″, therefore 14″ should be about right. Since there are so many variables and configurations, this is just advice to just get you close, you can fine tune it later when you factor in tongue weight and actual trailer configuration. Also make sure you have the right size ball. While you are at it, make sure the ball shaft size fits the receiver snug without washers. We have see too many folks with a 3/4 shaft in a 1″ hole. With trailers this is very dangerous. Also double check the load ratings of your ball, ball mount and hitch.
It depends. You will need the correct size ball mount and wiring.
Most trailers without brakes use a 2″ ball mount and will need a 4 way flat style connector.
Keep in mind just because your towing capacity in your owner’s manual claims it can tow 4500lbs, does not mean you should. For instance for some reason Honda and Nissan SUVs have high towing capacity, but we would not recommend anything larger than a 6×10 single axle for them.
OC means “on center” and means the braces are 16″ apart from one another. The more braces the more sturdy the structure. Just like how studs in most homes are 16″ OC (on center).
This question gets asked a lot. Most people believe radials are better (and they generally are for your automobile). Should you buy them for your trailer? The answer is, it depends. At one time, when we didn’t know any better all our trailers were upgraded to radial tires. Now we offer both tires and usually install bias ply tires on our trailers unless radials are specifically requested.
The main difference between a radial trailer tire and a bias ply trailer tire is the tire’s belt construction and the cord material used, either nylon or steel. A radial trailer tire is generally constructed with steel belts running at a 90 degree angle of the tread center line. A bias ply trailer tire is generally constructed with nylon belts running at a 30-45 degree angle of the tread center line.
*Better if your trailer is always on the road
*Runs Cooler and has longer tread life
*Steel belted, resulting in tougher overall construction
*Has more flex and will allow for more ground contact.
*Better if your trailer sits more than rolls down the highway
*Stronger and tougher sidewalls, because of this are recommended for off-road, construction or heavy duty applications
*Tire want to roll straight with less wandering
*Less expensive; keep in mind tires are recommended to be all replaced when one needs to be replaced.
More information from tire manufacturer.