Buying a Box Trailer: What To Look For and How To Choose the Right Type For You
So you are looking at buying a Box Trailer – they’re a great little piece of equipment to have at home – perfect for runs to the tip, moving furniture or packing some extra camping gear away for the weekend. But before you jump in and buy that little beauty there are a couple things to think about.
Buying a Box Trailer – What to check for
New or Second-hand Box Trailer?
The biggest thing to consider when buying a box trailer new or second hand really is – will this cost me in the long run.
A well-built box trailer that has been built by a reputable manufacturer is going to last you many, many years. To give you an idea, HANS offer a 5 year guarantee on our box trailers – this is because as new we expect our trailers to last for at least five years minimum.
Just like buying a car you need to consider the short term savings against the long term costs. Most 2nd hand trailers have had a hard life. They are susceptible to damage and rust like motor vehicles, and just like a car a box trailer needs regular maintenance – wheel bearings, lights, tailgate, hinges, axle springs (to name a few) are all part of regular maintenance. If a previous owner cannot show you proof of maintenance, it’s probably best to move on.
Important Box Trailer specifications and terms
ATM: This means Aggregated Trailer Mass. This is the total weight of the trailer, plus its load, when the trailer is not hitched to a vehicle. This indicates the maximum weight the trailer should weigh when in use.
Payload: this basically means what the trailer can carry. It is calculated by taking the weight of the trailer itself (also known as Tare Weight) and subtracting this from the ATM.
Towing Capacity: This information can be found in your vehicles handbook. You should consider this when buying a trailer as this will tell you how much your vehicle can tow, whether you will need a trailer with brakes installed and any speed restrictions applicable to your vehicle when towing.
Do I need Brakes on my trailer?
This really depends on two major factors – how much you are expecting to tow and the towing capacity of your vehicle. For example, if you’re looking for a small payload and your vehicle has a high Towing capacity you may be able to invest in a box trailer the doesn’t have brakes installed, potentially with an ATM of 750Kg. If you’re looking to tow a bigger payload, you may need a box trailer fitted with brakes. I.e the same vehicle as above may be able to handle a trailer with 1,250Kg ATM, with brakes fitted.
The short of it is, with brakes installed you can carry a bigger payload – but you should check with your trailer manufacturer.
Coating – paint or Galvanised?
In our opinion galvanised is the superior option to a painted trailer. While painted may have an aesthetic appeal, its functionality is limited. If you are going to be using your trailer for hauling rubbish or taking it camping, you are invariably going to subject your box trailer to a few bumps and scratches. This will eventually result in chipping and /or cracking of the paint which will reveal the metal underneath. Bare metal, that hasn’t been treated, is susceptible to rust and further wear. This is especially common in areas of high salt – such as on the coast.
Where a painted trailer is coated in paint, Galvanised steel is coated with a layer of zinc, which protects the steel structure from rusting over time. It is a superior coating to paint and is designed specifically for the rough treatment your trailer will be subjected to.
Understanding Trailer specifications before you buy a trailer is really important as the trailer you purchase will have payload limitations, based on your vehicle and the box trailer you purchase. If you have any questions, general or specific, give us a call and one of our trailer specialist can help you determine the right trailer for what you need. Otherwise check out our range of box trailers here