Over the years we’ve been selling trailers, our team has often been asked many of the same questions when we’re helping our customers determine the trailer that will best meet their needs. Our trailer sales experts compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to trailer shopping and buying.
We’ve observed that there are two different stages to our trailer shopping and they each bring their own set of questions. We have organized this post into Stage One: for customers who just realized they need a trailer, but may not know anything about shopping for or towing trailers, and Stage Two: for customers who are now searching and trying to figure out which make, model, and upgraded features would be best for their hauling needs.
Stage One: "I just realized I need a trailer"
In short, if you have money in the bank, a credit card with a large enough limit, or good enough credit to secure the financing for a trailer purchase, then buying a trailer is often the better way to go.
Be warned: Once you own a trailer, you’ll be surprised how many opportunities to use it will spring up… you just might hold onto it longer than you initially intended!
Trailer costs vary depending on the quality of the trailer, its size, the axle size, and whether you’re looking for an open or an enclosed trailer. On a high quality steel framed open trailer that will last you should expect to spend between $900 to $8,000 depending on the style (utility, car hauler, equipment trailer) and size you need. National name brand steel framed enclosed trailers such as Haulmark, Wells Cargo, or Pace American start around $1800 for the smallest size (4’ x 6’), and can cost upwards of $20,000 for a big and very upgraded trailer.
Quality dump trailers vary from $6,000 to $15,000; at these prices these dump trailers should also be equipped with all 10 GA. Steel walls, floors, and fenders, as well as gravel spreaders, equipment ramps, d-rings, a full tarp assembly, and come with a multi-year warranty on both the frame and hoist system.
Sure, you can get a cheaper trailer for less, but what you skimp out on paying up front costs you in both time and money over the length of ownership. Cheap wood interiors rot quickly and need to be replaced and axles without E-Z lube hubs are a huge pain and hassle to lubricate. In the end you get what you pay for and when you buy a name brande in accordance with the NATM (National Association of Trailer Manufacturers) you also get the peace of mind knowing your quality trailer is going to outlast your hauling needs, and be a pleasure for you to own over the life of it.
Every vehicle make from each manufacturer has a different towing capacity that will determine the maximum GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of the trailer your vehicle will be able to safely tow. Usually you can find this number on a sticker inside your driver’s side door or in the owner’s manual of your vehicle. If those options aren’t available, try calling a dealer of your vehicle and ask the towing capacity of your make, model, and year. You never want to risk overloading your vehicle by choosing the wrong axles on your trailer, so it’s necessary to determine your vehicle’s towing capacity before you fall in love with a trailer it won’t be able to haul.
Camping World's Towing Guide can help you determine the towing capacity of 2005-2018 vehicles Follow this Link.
Different needs for a trailer crop up every month, so whenever you realize your need for a trailer is a good time to buy one, it usually is the best time.
If you've started your trailer shopping recently you've likely come across these abbreviations and phrases you've never heard before which can be very confusing, so we're here to eliminate that confusion!
The GVWR on the sticker is the legal weight limit of the trailer. GVWR stands for Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, and essentially means the total weight the trailer can be while it's on the road. The stickered GVWR is determined by the empty trailer's weight + the total weight of the cargo that it is desgined to handle.
You'll find single axle trailers de-rated to 2990# from 3500# because any trailer with a GVWR over 3000lbs requires brakes in Florida.
The trailer's Payload Capacity is the total weight of the cargo you can add to the trailer safely. Payload capacity is also sometimes referred to as your cargo capacity. The payload capacity is usually stickered on the trailer near the VIN#. It can be found by subtracting the empty weight of the trailer from the stickered GVWR.
When purchasing a trailer we don't recommend buying a trailer with a GVWR larger than your vehicle's Towing Capacity; otherwise each time you use your trailer you'll need to do the math to be certain your desired cargo won't overload your tow vehicle. Example: Your Truck can tow 5000lbs, but you want a 7000# GVWR Trailer expecting to load 3500lbs into the trailer. If the trailer weighs 2500 pounds, your desired 3500# of cargo will overload your tow vehicle stressing more than just the engine, even though the trailer would still be capable of handling more cargo weight.
The GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) is similar to GVWR but only represents the axle capacity of the trailer. Example: The trailer has 7000# axles, but if the 14K GVWR was de-rated to 9990, the stickered payload capacity would be 5900lbs instead of the 9900 payload that it had while the GVWR was 14,000# (and the trailer required a CDL to tow it).
Technically you can be ticketed and fined for any single pound you're over your trailer's GVWR! So make sure the payload capacity and GVWR stickered on the trailer match the drivers license and your cargo's weight needs to ensure you buy one trailer that'll work for your needs without causing more problems for you down the road.
The most popular methods of payment for trailer purchases are credit cards and financing. There is no difference in price at Texas Trailers between using a credit card and paying in cash, writing a check, or bringing a bank/cashier's check.
0% intro APR credit cards offered by the popular merchants VISA, MASTERCARD, DISCOVER, and AMERICAN EXPRESS are increasing in popularity among our customers with good credit. These credit cards offer 0% interest for 12-24 months, meaning if you pay off the purchase before your interest begins to accrue you will have paid the same amount as if you had the cash to pay for the trailer initially.
Werecommend checking with your own bank or credit union first, because they tend to offer better interest rates on loans for their existing customers than offered by traditional finance companies. The best terms and rates are given to customers with good or excellent credit, but there are also companies we can recommend for customers with high risk credit including One Main Financial and Trailer Solutions Financial.
Our company is very picky when it comes to the products we choose to buy, so we hand-picked the highest quality trailer brands that we’d choose to buy personally because their trailers are built using high quality parts, built by skilled engineers and craftsmen, and backed by nationwide warranties so we know you will be taken care of for the long haul. Texas Trailers has been making a name for ourselves as an honest and consistently competitively priced national trailer dealer with the highest quality trailers currently on the market, and the best customer service you will find at any trailer dealer!
We only recommend purchasing a high qulaity trailer, whether open or enclosed. Our manufacturers choose the highest quality parts including LED lights, American-made axles, one-piece wiring harnesses, tube main frame construction; to name a few of the superior features included standard. Texas Trailers proudly carries Universal Trailer Corporation’s Wells Cargo and Haulmark brands.
Just like with everything else in life, when it comes to purchasing a trailer you get what you pay for, which is why we only recommend purchasing the best quality; you may pay a little more initially but what you invest now saves you both time and money throughout the trailer’s long lifespan.
We'll keep our reasons brief, because this subject has been written about all over the Internet. Steel is heavier than aluminum, is less expensive than aluminum, but is prone to rust and corrosion. All-aluminum trailers from Wells Cargo and Haulmark are built with aluminum that is about as strong as steel, is rust and corrosion resistant, is substantially lighter than steel, but tends to cost double the price of a steel trailer and last twice as long.
The advantage of a v-nose trailer is a more aerodynamic design reducing your wind resistance while towing. This tends to make a difference when the tow vehicle is shorter than the trailer, but is really only seen in gas mileage savings on long hauls. For our brands, the v-nose gives additional space rather than taking away length like you'll find with some other brands, so depending on their need some customers decide on a shorter length with a v-nose (like a 10' v-nose instead of a 12' flat-front enclosed trailer). Alternatively, some customers only use their trailer for stacking boxes, and in these cases the flat front trailer is often preferred for ease of stacking and making use of all available cargo space.
You’ll find many single axle trailers on our lot equipped with 3,500lb axles that are de-rated so their sticker shows a GVWR of 2990 lbs. This sticker allows you to avoid the additional few hundred dollar upgrade to add brakes, but it does take away 600 lbs from your potential payload capacity on the trailer.
Typically, the payload capacity will be around 1,500 lbs in a de-rated single axle enclosed trailer (give or take a couple hundred pounds depending on size). If you want to carry more weight you should either add brakes or opt for a tandem axle. Tandem axle trailers have brakes equipped on one axle or , and comes standard with an emergency break-away system to stop the trailer in the event that it ever detaches from your vehicle when towing.
Yes! LED lights last years longer, they use less energy, and they are brighter than standard incandescent bulbs. LED lights come standard on all of the new trailers sold at Texas Trailers.
At Texas Trailers we order 90% of our entry-level trailers with several upgrades we know make a lasting difference as the owner of one of these trailers. One of those upgrades is LED running lights! Not only do the small bullet LEDs look better unlit, but they’re way brighter increasing your trailer’s visibility for safe towing in the daylight or at night.
Your cargo hauling need and budget, as well as your available storage space will all impact whether it’d be better for you to buy an open or enclosed trailer. If carrying the most weight is more important, than an open trailer will offer a much larger payload capacity range, because open trailers weigh so much less than enclosed trailers.
You should consider the following questions to help you determine whether an open or enclosed trailer makes the most sense for you:
Will you use the trailer for storage while you’re not towing your cargo? Enclosed trailers make excellend garages for all kinds of vehicles, making it easier for you to hook up and go when you're ready.
Are you concerned about protecting your cargo from weather (rain, wind, snow, harsh sun, etc.)? If you want your cargo protected from the elements there’s no better choice than an enclosed cargo trailer with a one-piece aluminum roof guarding against leaks.
If you make a stop on a trip your trailer, would you be concerned about others stealing your visible cargo? Enclosed trailers with locking doors limit the possibility of your cargo getting stolen, or lost off the back when it's improperly tied down.
Leaf-Spring suspension is the most common type of axles you’ll find on a trailer whether it’s open or enclosed. It has been the most common axle system largely due to its affordability. Some people prefer the leaf spring suspension because, even though it has more moving parts and thus more potential for parts to break, the leaf spring platform is easy to buy parts for and repair. Torsion suspension is nicknamed the “white glove” suspension because these trailers offer by far the smoothest towing experience. The independent rubber-ride system absorbs the shock and bumpiness of a rough road. Whether fully loaded or completely empty the ride with torsion suspension will be smooth; however, unlike the repairable leaf-spring, torsion axles need to be completely replaced when/if it ever fails. For most towing jobs the leaf-spring suspension does the trick just fine, but for hauling precious cargo like your premium race car or your loyal steeds the torsion suspension is definitely preferred.
All of the trailer brands at Texas Trailers (Wells Cargo, Haulmark Trailers, Pace American, Forest River, Big Tex and Texas Trailers) come with warranties!
Type your question into our Contact Form on our Contact Page and we'll get back to you with an answer as soon as possible!