Whether you are hauling equipment for a job or the team’s game day fear, a cargo trailer can offer a safe and secure method of transportation for larger items. They keep your stuff out of sight of curious passers-by while also protecting them from inclement weather.
1. Which Body Material Is Better: Aluminum or Steel?
This will come down to several factors. If weight is a primary concern, then aluminum will offer anywhere from around 5% to 25% savings. Of course, the reduced weight comes at a premium price, so if your budget is of more concern, you may want to shop for steel cargo trailers.
Aluminum trailers will also hold their resale value better than their steel counterparts, partly because aluminum doesn’t rust. If you purchase a properly sealed and painted steel cargo trailer and keep it clean and well-maintained, you should be able to minimize rust over time.
2. What Floor Cross Members Spacing Is Best?
If you are shopping for a cargo trailer for occasional lightweight use, then feel free to stick with the 24-inch on center spacing. However, aluminum and tandem axle trailers will both benefit from stepping up to 16-inch spacing on the floor support. If you will be hauling heavy equipment or supplies, it may be wise to shop for trailers offering 12-inch on center floor cross members spacing.
3. Does Skin Thickness Matter?
It can, it depends on the environment where you will be hauling and how much you plan to use the trailer. Thinner skin material on entry-level trailers is probably fine for occasional residential use like hauling supplies to fairs and festivals or picking up large items from stores. However, if you are going to be using a cargo trailer for heavier, commercial, or consistent hauling, upgrading to a thicker outer shell could be a good investment.
Thinner outer skin on a trailer can warm and bend in hot temperature, especially if you have a darker colored finish on it. It is also more prone to punctures from sharp objects slamming into it. So, if you are in an area where hot temperatures are the norm and you are concerned with the appearance of your trailer, go ahead and opt for the thicker, premium skin.
4. Tall, Standard, or Short Trailer Height?
Heights vary on trailers, and the best one for you will take into consideration both your hauling needs and the tow vehicle you will be using. The taller a trailer stands in comparison to your vehicle, the more drag it will create. This lowers fuel economy and handling.
If you want a bit more space on a standard height trailer, consider going with a rounded roofline. This creates a few extra inches of interior space while limited additional drag.
In fact, you can still pull your belongings behind you if you drive a van, SUV, or compact truck. Talk to an expert about purchasing the best trailer for your needs. They can help you shop for a shorter, lightweight model that is well within your vehicle’s towing capabilities.
5. Barn or Ramp Door?
What you will haul will determine the best door style for your trailer. Anything heavy, that you wouldn’t want to lift, would suggest a ramp door. So, if you will regularly pull equipment like lawnmowers or compactors, then you’ll benefit from a reinforced ramp door. Smaller, lightweight items will be fine going in and out of a standard door opening with a step.
No matter your budget, asking these questions about your hauling needs and the features of any trailers you consider can help you find the right one.