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Being informed when buying a Used Trailer

Updated on July 13, 2009

Buying a used trailer can be a nerve-racking yet rewarding experience thanks to potential benefits and potential problems of a a pre-owned vehicle. However, buying used is usually worth the extra time spent researching since it can keep money in your pocket versus a new trailer. Also, you will find that a used unit can be just as good as a brand spankin' new one. Often times, this used trailer will be half, or even less, of the sticker price you'll find on a new trailer. This discount can even sacrifice nothing except taking less money from you. An educated consumer can spend half the money on a trailer just as good as new with just a little bit of research.

These are the steps to take when going after a used trailer.

- Look for advertisements for used trailers in online classifieds and message boards, and in newspapers or sales publications (ex. Auto RV, Peddler's Post etc.)

- Make a budget for yourself. What are you willing to pay for a used trailer?

- Make a list of what you need in a used trailer (enclosed or not, wired for electricity, load capacity, wheel size, etc.)

- When inspecting the used trailer up for sale, start out checking the trailer floor. Make sure it's stable and not rotting or rusting. This is usually where problems begin for the chassis of the trailer. Look underneath and make sure there's no rusted out pillars.

- Inspect the tires for wear, uneven wear, dry rot, or bulges.

- Check out the bearings in the wheels. These babies take a lot of abuse. Bring a jack along with you, and jack up the trailer in a sturdy spot (frame rail) and spin the wheels. Make sure they move smoothly and don't have any side to side or up and down play in them. If they do, it's time for new bearings

- Inspect the hitch, making sure that it latches and unlatches properly and that there are no missing parts.

- Ask to have the trailer plugged into a vehicle, check night lights, brake lights, turn signals, and hazards.

-Be SURE the used trailer it is big enough for what you need. You should have a very good idea of what you need as far as space. If you have to, measure out everything you plan to put in the trailer. If in doubt, go foot or two larger than what you "think" you'll need. You'll always find more to add anyway.

- Make sure you know who the manufacturer is. Your research online of what type of trailer you may like should leave you fairly educated on trailer company names. Seeing a good name brand on your trailer will undoubtedly be comforting that you are buying a quality used trailer.

- Ask about the trailer's origins. Where it was purchased from, etc. The actual facts aren't so important, but it's the fact that the owner is up to date on his information. It's a good thing if he can tell you where he purchased the trailer from (or where the owner or owners before him bought the trailer from)

- If everything is in good condition and you are happy with the price, get a notarized bill of sale and title before driving away with your "new" used trailer.


Don't forget to be sure your vehicle is up to the task of pulling your "new" used trailer, whichever kind it may be. Check your owner's manual for towing capacities.

Find a used trailer repair store and ask them to inspect the unit's floor and wiring if you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself.

Don't just buy on impulse or excitement. Make sure that it is everything you want and need. There are plenty of used trailers out there, and the perfect one for you will still be waiting if you choose to not make a purchase on a particular day.

Remember to put theĀ  trailer on your insurance policy. This is law in most jurisdictions.

NEVER offer a down payment on a unit that hasn't been inspected in person! Scammers are everywhere, and this is one of the oldest tricks in the book.

All in all, buying a used trailer can be a nightmare, but only if you let it be. If you, the consumer, comes in prepared and educated on what you're looking at and what it is that you want, you will be in great shape. There's a wonderful market for used trailers of all shapes, sizes, and purposes out there. It's simply up to you to utilize it and get the best of it! Get to work!


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    • cgull8m profile image


      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for the tips, I have bookmarked it for later use. Thanks.

    • Bumpkin profile image


      9 years ago from Middle of Nowhere

      Great advice - I've been burned before - you need to make sure you are informed!


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