Choosing a Gooseneck Trailer
There are so many options when it comes to an equipment trailer. However, depending on the equipment you need to haul, you may need to consider an industrial gooseneck trailer. Not sure what these are or if it is the right option for your business? Continue reading for some key points to consider.
What Is a Gooseneck Trailer?
When most people think of a trailer they think of the bumper pull trailer. These could be covered, an animal trailer, a flatbed, or many other styles. Bumper pull trailers attach to the tow vehicle through a hitch mounted under the rear bumper.
Gooseneck trailers, on the other hand, go over the back end of the vehicle and attaches directly over the rear axle. This more even distributed the load, increasing the towing capacity. However, it does mean that your vehicle must be attacked with special equipment to accept pairing to a gooseneck trailer.
The ball is similar to what you might find on a bumper hitch. The difference is that it comes up through the bed of your truck. Along with it are usually either U-bolts or D-rings to attach your safety chains. The coupler is much more substantial on these due to the weight of what you will be towing.
Towing A Heavy Load?
The biggest reason people choose gooseneck trailers over bumper pulls is because of their additional weight capacity. The trailer itself will usually top 4,000 lbs and will be towing equipment at least equal to that weight.
You can see you will likely exceed the weight capacity of most bumper pull trailers. This style typically maxes out at between 7,000 to 10,000 lbs, depending on the capacity of your vehicle.
Gooseneck trailers, on the other hand, typically max out at around 16,000. The heavier industrial options may be able to tow up to about 35,000 lbs.
Typically, the biggest restriction on what you can tow with these trailers is actually the vehicle doing the towing.
Can Your Vehicle Handle One of This Equipment Trailer?
Most consumer vehicles are not able to handle the weight you will likely be towing with this special trailer. Cars, SUVs, and light trucks do not typically come equipped with strong enough tow packages.
However, heavy-duty pickup trucks may be a better option. You will typically see these vehicles equipped with dually tires in the rear, and many will have a diesel engine.
The best way to know whether your vehicle can handle this kind of weight is to check the rated capacity. You can generally find this on a sticker, usually on the side of the driver’s side door. You want to see a capacity of somewhere between 12,000 to 16,000 lbs or more.
Also, the vehicle needs to have some sort of bed or access directly above the rear axle for the hitch to come up. If you have a cap or some form of cover, then it makes properly installing the gooseneck coupler properly very difficult if not impossible.
Despite what you may see on some extreme videos online, we do not recommend installing a gooseneck hitch through the trunk of a sedan.
When It May Not Be The Right Choice
Look at what you are trying to haul. If you are looking to haul some family items, one personal vehicle, or some light equipment, a bumper pull trailer may work just fine. For instance, most residential landscaping companies will have covered bumper pull trailers, and these work perfectly.
However, if you have heavy equipment like a backhoe, you will need something more substantial. If you are towing several consumer vehicles, either cars, trucks or even motorcycles, you will probably want something more substantial.
Do They Require A Special License?
There is a lot of debate about what requires a special license, especially if you are hauling a trailer for personal reasons. If you have any doubt, be sure to check with your attorney or local law enforcement.
If your vehicle and trailer are part of a business, there are some pretty easy ways to tell if you need a special license. Assuming you are using your trailer as part of a business and are planning to tow a gooseneck trailer, then understand you will likely need a CDL.
According to the FMCSA, they kind of CDL you may need is dependent on the weight rating (GVWR) of the trailer. If that rating is greater than 10,000 lbs, then you need a Class A CDL, regardless of what vehicle is doing the towing. However, if your trailer is under 10,000 GVWR, your towing vehicle is under 26,000 GVWR and is not placarded for towing hazardous material, you may not need the special license.
This is about as clear as much, right? For direct guidance, for your specific situation, consult the attorney you may rely on to represent you or your local state police.