Do you know the difference between a rough road trailer and an off road trailer? Which parts of a trailer should be especially reinforced? How do I tell a poor quality trailer from a good one? The answers to these questions and many more can be found in our comprehensive guide to buying a boat trailer.
What will you use it for?
The size, width, towing capacity and other factors will be determined largely by the way you intend to use it. A longer trailer is heavy and more unwieldy but you may require that extra length if you have a large boat. A wider trailer limits your visibility but allows you to carry more things. Your needs will also determine how many axles you need.
Where you will be taking it is another determining factor. The road you plan to travel will determine the type of trailer you buy and any features or accessories you require.
Is it compatible with your car?
This is one that buyers often forget when purchasing a trailer. Buying the wrong trailer for your car is at best a waste of money; worst case scenario, it can be dangerous.
The first thing you want to make sure you get right is the coupling. Most cars have a ball tow bar and, since this is the most common type, most trailers are fitted with compatible hitchings. Make sure you check out your tow bar before you start looking around so that you can find a trailer coupling that suits.
More importantly, you need to make sure that your car is capable of towing your trailer at maximum capacity. You can find this information in your owner’s manual or by undertaking an online search. Buying a trailer that is too large for your car can put unnecessary strain on your vehicle, resulting in expensive repairs. And if the trailer load is too heavy for your car, the weight of the trailer will begin to dominate the direction, leaving control of the drive out of the driver’s hand. Aim for something a little under your car’s capacity. A good tip is to look for a lightweight trailer, which is where aluminium boat trailers have a big advantage.
Tyres: The wrong tyres can become a massive nuisance for trailer owners. Look for something with trailer specific wheels and tyres or, at the very least, tyres with a rating that matches that of the trailer capacity. Tyres can be changed easily enough so if you are looking at a second hand trailer with inappropriate tyres, you can use that to negotiate a better price.
Axle location: Look for a model that has the axle behind the load centre; this gives your trailer greater stability. Trailers that have an axle in the centre of the bed can be weaker.
Strong rear bumper: This is where you will most likely be doing the bulk of your loading and unloading so you want something can withstand a bit of weight. The rear bumper should be larger and stronger than the other cross members.
Tongue length: A longer tongue gives you greater flexibility and ultimately more control when towing your load. A short tongue can mean a weak model or that the designers have taken shortcuts. They also make turning a lot more difficult.
What makes a good trailer?
Not all trailers are built the same. You can get recommendations from your friends and look online for reviews to find a manufacturer, but there are also a couple of criteria that are usually the hallmarks of a good trailer.
Trailer strength that is distributed throughout is generally a good sign. Some cheaper models will use stronger materials on the sides but use a cheap, lightweight frame. If the load isn’t distributed evenly it can cause stress in weaker areas, leading to damage more quickly.
Take a good look at the construction as well – you’re looking for joints that are welded rather than bolted, gussets on the frame, and reinforcement where the axle springs mount. The high stress areas should have extra protection.
For the best advice on boat trailers , contact the experts at Almac Trailers today on (07) 4152 3737.