Choosing a Cargo Trailer
Choosing the right cargo trailer for your hobby or business can be a big investment. Doing a bit of research in the beginning can help ensure you make the right choice and will be happy with your new trailer for years to come.
The cargo trailers of today seem to have an endless list of options to fit your needs for anything from taking your hobby on the road to helping you run your business. At USA Trailer you can choose from a huge selection of cargo trailers from one of our six locations or even custom order a trailer that is purpose built just for you.
Trailer Frame Construction
One of the first considerations for your new enclosed cargo trailer is the size and Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). Cargo trailers can be built with a variety of frames including I-beams, tubular, L-shaped, or C channel frame construction. These frames can either be aluminum or steel and each has its own advantages with aluminum being lighter and steel being stronger, but more vulnerable to rust. You will also want to evaluate how the frame is configured and where the cross beams will be in relation to the load you are planning to haul. 16-24 inches apart or less is a good rule of thumb for large loads.
How Big Should I Go?
It is always a good idea to know what you are going to be hauling before purchasing a cargo trailer. You should always consider the interior height, width and length when choosing a trailer. If you plan on hauling a car you should choose a trailer that is at least 8 ½’ wide and 16’ long with dual axles, but a weekend hobbyist may find a 5’ wide single axle to be the right size.
You will also want to consider other exterior features such as a flat roof versus a rounded roof and the thickness of the exterior “skin”. A thicker exterior “skin” will reduce the chances of distortion from use or temperature change. Darker colors will also tend to warp or get wavy in extreme heat.
You may also consider a V-nose design versus a flat nose. Most people believe that a V-nose will make a huge difference on fuel economy but in reality, it is the flat rear end of the trailer that hurts fuel mileage. The benefit of a V-nose is generally the “bonus area” in the front of the trailer.
How Many Axles?
When hauling smaller loads (less than 3,000 lbs.) a single axle trailer could be ideal and will help to keep the cost of your cargo trailer lower. Most single axle trailers can be towed without having a heavy-duty tow vehicle and don’t require a large investment.
For larger loads (heavier than 3,000 Lbs.) dual or multiple axles will help to disperse the weight of the load and will be easier to maneuver and offer a smoother ride. Additional features like upgraded suspension or electric brakes can make a big difference when hauling heavier loads, especially over long distances. You should always check the requirements in your state but a good rule of thumb is that trailer brakes are needed for loads over 3,000 Lbs.
Trailer Features & Customization
The number of options available can seem a little overwhelming at first but starting with a blank canvas can help you design a trailer (Check out our trailer designer) that meets your needs exactly.
Tie down rings are very important if you are planning to haul snowmobiles, ATV’s, mowers or vehicles and will help to stabilize your load.
Another consideration is the type of rear door for your new trailer. For hauling vehicles or ATV’s a fold down ramp is generally needed, but for a small business owner double rear doors (barn doors) could be a better option.
There are also a ton of other options to consider from lighting and shelving to air conditioning or windows. The experts at USA Trailer Sales are always here to help you negotiate the many options and possible customizations. Please contact us with any questions you may have or stop by one of our six Michigan locations to speak with a local trailer expert today.