Buyer’s Guide to Enclosed Trailers
We use our cars on a daily basis, not just to get to work or send the kids off to school, but also to haul a week load of groceries. There are times though you wish you had a bit more space for the bigger things in life, like that gigantic flatscreen TV, or your favourite 3-seat sofa, things that just don’t fit in the boot. Let’s face it, the more we buy, the more things there are to move around. If you’ve ever moved, you’ll definitely know what I’m talking about. Moving large household items is never fun. They either get scraped, damaged or just left behind. In times like these, you’ll need something that takes in all your stuff, without making all those painful to-and-from trips, while also keeping everything intact. Simply put, you need a trailer.
Types of Trailers
Trailers come in all shapes and sizes, and the most suitable one for you will depend on your intended use, the cargo you’re hauling, and the towing vehicle. From huge semi-trailers on trucks to small single-axle trailers, there’s an endless variety to choose from. Depending on whether your load is exposed to the elements, or housed and protected by sidewalls and a roof, trailers come in two basic forms – open and enclosed. Both feature a flatbed loading floor, independent signalling lights, and are connected to the towing vehicle with hitch balls and receivers. Furthermore, both trailer types come in various loading capacity, either as single or multiple-axle trailers, and understandably different lengths. Enclosed trails are generally the trailer type of choice for most people nowadays, and for a couple of good reasons.
If your priority is to transport your cargo in a well-protected enclosure, then look no further than large enclosed trailers. Enclosed trailers will keep your mind at ease, knowing that what you’ve loaded inside won’t bear the brunt of unexpected turns in weather, mishaps while driving, or from sticky fingers. Additionally, they ensure you avoid any damage to your goods from rain and wind, long exposure to heat and sun, and for Aussie conditions, humidity and hail. This is especially true if you’re transporting smaller fragile or perishable items, like electronics or books for example, over longer distances. Or anything for that matter, that spoils easily.
Enclosed trailers also keep things from not rustling about or even falling over like in open trailers when hitting speed bumps and curbs or when you slam on the brakes. And to know that nothing will be stolen, just lock up your enclosed trailer once you’ve parked. This basically turns your trailer into a secure storage unit without the hassle or need of unloading, ideal if you use a trailer for work.
Features to Look for in Enclosed Trailers
Trailer enclosures are made of either steel or aluminium. Steel housings offer better structural rigidity, are able to better withstand impact and require little maintenance. An added layer of anti-rust coating will provide better longevity. Aluminium enclosures are typically lighter than comparably thick steel options. This is important as the weight savings may affect the trailer size you can tow. Aluminium trailers give off a nice metallic look to complement your car or ute, though require regular upkeep.
Enclosure skins come in varying width. Cheaper models tend to be thinner, and hence lighter, but more prone to damage. Expect thicker skin housings on larger, heavy-duty trailers with better rivetting and a more durable finish. Some trailer builders will also customise your build requirements. This is also true of the materials used in the trailer body.
Size and Loading Capacity
Look for an enclosed trailer that best suits the cargo you’ll typically be carrying. If you’ll use your trailer infrequently for transporting smaller goods, a good option might be a small single-axle trailer. Small luggage trailers are one example. If you need extra space, or carry larger, heavier objects on a regular basis, you might want to go with a double-axle enclosed trailer. The extra axle gives added stability but also increases overall weight. The suspension here is also upgraded to take the load. Plus, you’ll need a towing vehicle with adequate towing capacity. Both trailers can be specced at the standard height, or if you usually carry extra tall items, go with extra tall models. Similarly, you may choose the flat roof models, or the round roof variants if you need that extra space.
Two options are available when it comes to the doors on enclosed trailers – ramp doors and barn doors. If you intend to haul any machinery or vehicles like motorbikes or vintage cars, then a ramp door is a must. If you work in tight spaces, and need easy access to load and unload your cargo, opt for a barn door. Some builders may also offer side doors as an option. Check for quality hinges and locks systems on each.
Uses of Enclosed Trailers
Enclosed trailers have a variety of uses, based on your needs or imagination. Besides hauling furniture, vehicles and machinery, they provide additional space and convenience if you use your trailer for work purposes. You’ll find every professional tradie and landscaper with at least one. You can use your trailer as your only office space like a mobile retail business selling a variety of goods. The enclosures allow you to showcase business signage, which is a great way to promote your products. And for recreational purposes, enclosed trailers can double as camper vans when the weather gets nasty.
Considerations When Buying
When buying your ideal enclosed trailer, consider the vehicle you’ll use to tow it. Does it comply with the recommended towing weight? Consider a larger car, preferably with 4WD, or a ute or light truck for larger double-axis trailers. Think of what you’ll be carrying, and where. Do you need added features or durability, or will the cheapest model be enough? How much are you willing to spend? How long do you plan to use it? Answering these questions will tell you what you need. Before buying, do a detailed online search as to the trailer builders and models available near you. Check for customer reviews or pop in your nearest dealer. Find a dealer that can offer valuable advice, decent prices, and have spare parts should you need them.