8 Things to Check When Buying A Used Trailer

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Buying A Used Trailer

What to look for when buying a used trailer

With so many different types of trailers on the market, inspecting a trailer can be tricky. There are box trailers, end dump trailers, bottom dump trailers, flatbeds, utility trailers, and equipment trailers, just to name a few. Here are 8 things to check when buying a used trailer.

  1. Valid registration

Make sure the used trailer that you are considering purchasing has valid registration. If the trailer is not registered, make sure you know the true cost of registration before you finalize the purchase.

Review the trailer’s history and service interval paperwork

Finding information on trailer history and whether the trailer had been serviced regularly can be difficult. If a history is not readily available, knowing what the trailer hauled and where it ran could give you an indication of what to inspect when buying a used trailer.

The good news is a trailer inspection is much less complicated than a semi-truck inspection.

Buying A Used Trailer

  1. Payload Capacity

It seems silly but double check that you have the correct capacity for your needs. The right trailer can become the wrong trailer quickly if you can’t pick up a load because of weight issues.

Also, if you overload the trailer it is not only illegal, but it can become unstable and dangerous to drive.

  1. Check the Structural Integrity

Examine the frame, cross members, and undercarriage for any signs of damage, such as cracks, rust, or bending. If the trailer has any visible signs of damage or abuse, make sure that repairs can be made and get an idea of how much the repairs will cost to make the trailer safe and reliable.

Thoroughly inspect any repairs for poor welding and unsafe trailer modifications.

Remember, the right price doesn’t always make it the right purchase.

  1. Inspect the basics

Check the trailer’s brakes, wheel bearings, spring hangers, leaf springs (airbags), and be on the lookout for faulty wiring.

  1. Tire Condition

Tires are one of the most critical components of a trailer, and they can be expensive to replace. Check the condition of the tires and look for any signs of wear or damage, such as cracks or bulges. Make sure the tires are well over the 2/32nd legal requirement, and that they are all the same size and type. If the tires are worn or damaged, you may need to replace them, which can be costly.

Buying A Used Trailer

  1. Fifth Wheel Plate & King Pin

While the 5th wheel plate and king pin are one of the most reliable trailer components, a worn or damaged 5th wheel plate or king pin is a safety hazard for both the driver and the public.

Look for cracks on the 5th wheel plate or rust holes. Make sure the plate is flat from side to side and front to back. Also, make sure the king pin doesn’t have any deep cuts and is not overly worn.

  1. Deck Condition

Check the condition of the trailer deck to make sure it is in good condition and can safely support your cargo.

The condition of the trailer deck is a quick and sure way to tell the trailer has been used or cared for.

If you see warped boards or a warped deck most likely you will also discover cracks or other damage at the stress points of the trailer. Stress points are found on any of the transitions in the trailer.

Whether your deck is wood, steel, aluminum, or a combination, one thing is for certain, deck repairs are expensive. If you are on a tight budget, deck repairs can set you back quickly.

Of course, if you are inspecting a van trailer, dump trailer, or any vehicle with sides or a roof, it all must be inspected for damage.

  1. Other Features and components

If you are inspecting an equipment trailer, walking trailer, pneumatic trailer, bottom dump trailer, refrigerated trailer, etc., you must now turn your attention to all the moving parts.

Rarely does a previous owner give you an exact history. We recommend getting a 3rd party inspection when you can.

Also consider any additional features that the vehicle may have, such as ramps, extra tie-downs, or storage compartments. These features can be very useful for certain types of cargo and may add value to the trailer. Make sure any extensive modifications are in good condition and working properly.

Buying a new trailer would be ideal, but today, even if it fits into your budget, you may not be able to wait.

With proper inspection and consideration, you can find a reliable and safe trailer that will meet your needs for years to come.

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