How to Select a Trailer

CHOOSING A TRAILER

With so many available trailer brands and models to choose from, selecting the best trailer can seem challenging. But a little knowledge about key issues to look for can greatly simplify the selection process and help steer you to the product that will best fit your needs.

Construction
Suspension
Warranty
Brand reputation
Stability and financial strength

1. Construction. How a trailer is built goes far in determining how long it will last and whether it's appropriate for your needs. Here are some features to look for on the trailer itself, in the literature or by asking the sales person:

Integrated systems approach. Look for a trailer brand that uses an integrated systems approach -- one in which the right parts are smartly combined so everything works together to ensure optimal performance. This approach is superior to trailers assembled from a random collection of parts.

Frame. The frame supports your entire trailer and is usually built from I-beam, tubular, C-channel or L-shaped aluminum or steel. Generally, the more metal in the frame, the stronger it will be. So a tube will be stronger than a C-channel which will be stronger than a L-beam.

Make sure the frame is sturdy enough for the cargo you plan to transport. Also, find out if the cross-members are positioned at the correct intervals (such as 16" or 24") to support your load. Heavier loads usually require closer cross-members.

Walls. Depending on how you plan to use your trailer, wall construction might be a deciding factor in which trailer you choose. Check to see if the walls are insulated -- an important factor for some cargo trailers.

How close are the studs? A 16" interval is preferable if you plan to use the trailer often. 24" is acceptable if you don't plan to use the trailer for business.

Do the walls include a corrosion-inhibiting moisture barrier? That's an important consideration with snowmobile trailers.

Safety features. Check if the trailer has features to keep your cargo safe and secure. These features include E-tracks, D-loops or other devices for securing the load. Find out if wiring runs through rubber grommets in the walls and/or roof to reduce wear and the likelihood of short circuits. Check if the locks and hinges are attached with tamper resistant hardware. Can the entrance ramp support the weight of your cars, ATVs or motorcycles?

2. Suspension. The smoother the suspension, the better it protects your trailer, your cargo and the tow vehicle from excessive shock. A smooth suspension also gives a more comfortable towing experience. It is advisable to buy a trailer with a higher-performance suspension if you plan to tow often, transport heavy loads, tow as part of your business or carry valuable cargo.

Leaf springs are the traditional suspension systems. They are widely used in vehicles and trailers of all sizes, including trucks and semitrailers. While less expensive than most other types of suspension, leaf springs give a bouncier ride. Plus, metal-to-metal, inter-leaf friction results in more noise and faster wear. These features can impact the handling, especially on sharp corners and when the trailer is not fully loaded.

Rubber torsion suspensions provide a better ride than leaf springs. Torsion suspensions cushion bumps and rough spots better and with less bouncing than leaf springs. Unlike leaf springs which are connected to each other by an axle, rubber torsion suspensions work independently so road impacts on one side of the trailer are not transferred to the other. This provides a significantly smoother ride for the cargo, trailer, tow vehicle and driver.

3. Warranty. An important consideration in buying a trailer is the assurance that you have a warranty to cover you over the long term. So beyond the trailer and the purchase price, look for a warranty that covers the trailer frame and key components. Also note the length of the warranty period. A three-year warranty shows the manufacturer has confidence in the quality of the trailer.

In addition, you might consider looking for a warranty from a manufacturer with dealers across North America. That way, you can receive support if you move to a new location or need assistance while traveling far from home. You're well advised to buy from a reputable manufacturer, one who has been in the business for a long time, has a nationwide dealer network and has satisfied a large customer base.

4. Brand reputation. The largest trailer brands sell more trailers for a reason: brand reputation. Is the brand you're considering known for quality and customer satisfaction? Does the company honor its warranty claims? Are the dealers reputable?

These are key reasons you might wish to consider a trailer from any of the Universal Trailer brands, including Haulmark. We beat the competition by delivering a higher standard of manufacturing, quality, service, support and customer satisfaction.

5. Stability and financial strength. With so many brands of trailers to choose from, it's preferable to buy a trailer from a company you know will be around to support you for the long term. That's why you should consider buying a trailer from the Universal Trailer Corporation family of brands -- Haulmark, Exiss and Sooner.

Haulmark is the largest manufacturer of cargo trailers in North America, and Exiss and Sooner combine to make Universal the largest horse trailer manufacturer in North America. Plus, we have the financial stability to meet your trailer needs over the long haul. That's your assurance of confidence and peace of mind every mile you travel with your Universal branded trailer in tow.




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