Guide to buying used trailers

Research done in advance will help you clarify exactly what you need, which may save you the expensive mistake of buying a complex trailer if your needs are actually quite straightforward. Alternatively, buying something too cheap that doesn’t have the specifications for the range of jobs you require it to perform could actually end up as a costly mistake.

Your primary concern is to marry up usage requirements with trailer specifications. It will help if you can think of as many of the potential uses of your trailer as possible before you start searching for the perfect vehicle. It may also help to talk to the dealer you are thinking of purchasing from and explaining exactly what you will need the trailer for. A good dealer will then help you through the process by asking further questions about your requirements.

The Internet could be a useful tool in your planning process, as some of the websites selling trailers or used trailers will show you photos and list trailer specifications. These spec sheets may illustrate to you options that you hadn’t yet thought of.

If you just need to transport a simple, relatively light load from point A to point B across a smooth terrain on a regular basis, then you can narrow down your options to exclude heavy-duty trailers or those made for off-road use. If your trailer is for use on a farm and you never need to take it on a public road, then that again simplifies your choice, as you will not necessarily need lights or complex braking systems. Alternatively, heavy or awkward loads, transporting livestock and travelling on public roads will all require that you get a more complex trailer with certain specifications.

If you are going to be carrying heavier loads, you need to check the carrying capacity of your towing vehicle first. You then need to look at the number of axles your trailer needs for the weight you need to carry. This information ought to be available in the manuals of both vehicle and trailer. With a second-hand trailer you will need to check the condition of axles, especially if the trailer has already been subject to heavy use. You will also need to carefully check the condition of the floor or holding structure of the trailer, the door function (if it has one) and the tyres and brakes. All of these checks are important in order to avoid further expenses later. If you need to carry livestock then you will need to research some specifics on this, including legal requirements. It is advisable to talk to a dealer who specialises in livestock transportation. As with anything second-hand, a trailer brand with a good reputation will often be a good choice to consider if one is available.

Be meticulous with checking previous trailer usage. Get a warranty if available, or check the existing one. Do your homework thoroughly regarding your requirements and there is every reason to think that a well-chosen, second-hand trailer will fulfil your needs, whatever they may be.

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