Advice For Choosing The Appropriate Trailer

How to make the wisest and safest purchasing decisions

Electronically-controlled brakes provide automatic and manual control for trailer brakes by way of a brake control unit mounted in the tow vehicle within reach of the driver. This type of braking system connects the brake system on the tow vehicle to the brake system on the trailer. The controller senses the braking force of the tow vehicle and in turn activates the brakes on the trailer.

A surge brake is an independent, self-contained hydraulic braking system on the trailer that uses the trailer’s natural momentum to actuate the brakes. Activated by a master cylinder at the junction of the hitch and trailer tongue, surge brakes are automatically applied when the tow vehicle decelerates.

The forward motion of the trailer compresses the mechanism, transferring high-pressure brake fluid to the trailer wheel brake cylinders to apply the trailer brakes. The more the tow vehicle slows down, the more pressure on the trailer brakes.


How a trailer is built goes far in determining how long it will last and whether it’s appropriate for your specific needs. A trailer that is overbuilt will result in more trailer than needed. Conversely, one that is underbuilt and lacks the structural integrity necessary to do the job will have more downtime and repair costs. Make sure the frame is sturdy enough for the cargo to be hauled.

Trailers made from aluminum are lighter and allow for more payload capacity. Aluminum trailers tend to withstand rust and corrosion better than steel trailers.

The smoother the suspension, the better it protects the trailer, the cargo and the tow vehicle from excessive shock, and the more comfortable the ride. Suspensions come in two basic varieties: leaf spring and torsion. Leaf springs are the traditional suspension systems.

Torsion suspensions provide a better ride than leaf springs as they cushion bumps and rough spots better and with less bouncing. Unlike leaf springs which are connected to each other by an axle, torsion suspensions work independently so road impacts on one side of the trailer are not transferred to the other.

As with any piece of equipment, trailers must be serviced so maintenance features that enhance serviceability should be yet another consideration.

Also give some thought to selecting a trailer manufacturer/dealer to do business with. A knowledgeable, experienced manufacturer/dealer that can help match the trailer to your hauling needs and requirements goes a long way toward your benefits.


Trailer safety extends beyond having the appropriate trailer for the application. Weight distribution on a trailer is critical to safe performance because the ability of a driver to handle and control the tow vehicle and trailer is greatly improved when the cargo is properly loaded and distributed. The cargo weight should be balanced from side to side and distributed evenly along the length of the trailer.

Additionally, towing stability depends on keeping the center of gravity as low as possible. Load heavy items as close to the axle positions as reasonable and do not exceed the GAWR. All items being transported need to be properly secured and braced to prevent them from moving during travel.

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