An enclosed cargo trailer can cost as much as $15,000.
Before you make that investment, you want to be sure you’ve found the best-enclosed trailer to meet your needs.
This guide will give you the essential information to make an informed choice.
How Will You Be Using Your Trailer?
The first thing to think about when choosing an enclosed cargo trailer is what you will be hauling. These versatile trailers are ideal for many types of uses such as:
- Securely storing and transporting equipment and tools
- Recreational uses like hauling four-wheelers or vintage cars
- Mobile retail stores
You need a trailer with dimensions large enough to fit your cargo. The trailer also needs to be able to handle the weight of your load. Finally, if you’ll be using the trailer on a regular basis, you’ll need a sturdier model than if you’ll only be using it occasionally.
Where Will You Be Taking Your Trailer?
The length of your trip and the terrain are important factors when choosing the best-enclosed trailer. For example, a handyman driving around the city for business will probably put fewer miles on a trailer than someone hauling an antique car across the country to different car shows.
The terrain and location where you’ll be using your trailer are other factors to consider. Driving on loose gravel or dirt roads puts different demands on your trailer than driving on city streets or the freeway. Using an enclosed trailer in a coastal environment could expose the trailer to salt and moisture damage.
Sizes of Cargo Trailers
Enclosed cargo trailers come in several sizes. The most common widths are 5, 6, 7, and 8.5 feet. Lengths range from 8 to 32 feet.
The height depends on the width.
- 5′ wide is 5′ tall
- 6′ and 7′ wide is 6′ high
- 8.5′ wide is 6.5′ high
You can choose a height that is lower or higher than the standard. You may want a taller or shorter trailer depending on your cargo. A lower trailer will have less drag.
The cargo trailer should be large enough to hold everything you want to haul, but it shouldn’t be too big. If the trailer isn’t full, it will be less stable when you tow it.
Enclosed cargo trailers have many features that will make one trailer meet your needs better than another. Here are some options to look for.
Steel or Aluminum Construction
A steel trailer will usually be less expensive than an aluminum one, but it will probably cost more in upkeep. Steel is more likely to rust than aluminum, and restoring it to a “like-new” look is a labor-intensive process.
An aluminum enclosed cargo trailer is lighter than a steel one. You will be able to load more cargo before reaching the maximum towing capacity of your vehicle. You will also probably get better gas mileage. The weight savings isn’t always significant, though, depending on the style of trailer and the manufacturer.
Many trailer manufacturers use .024 thickness aluminum siding. Because it’s so thin, it can bend or crease during installation. It can also become wavy after getting warm in the sun and then cooling down.
If you’ll only be using your enclosed cargo trailer occasionally, or if you’re on a tight budget, .024 siding might be enough. Otherwise, look for a thickness of at least .030.
A thicker outer skin reduces the appearance of waves and increases the durability of your trailer.
Axle and Suspension
Enclosed cargo trailers have either a single or tandem axle. Tandem axles are usually more expensive, but they can haul heavier loads and are more stable.
Trailers have either a leaf spring or torsion suspension. Leaf springs are less expensive and easier to replace than torsion suspensions. They provide less cushion for bumps in the road, and they can be noisy.
A torsion suspension provides a better ride. It protects the trailer, cargo, and tow vehicle.
A higher-quality suspension is worth the cost if you plan to use your trailer frequently, tow heavy loads, or transport valuable cargo.
Bias or Radial Tires
Bias-ply tires are less expensive. They can carry heavy loads, but they don’t perform as well on the road.
Radial tires cost more, but they give better control while driving. They last longer and are more resistant to punctures. They also give better gas mileage.
Ramp or Barn Door
A ramp is a great feature if you haul vehicles. You can wheel tools and equipment in and out easily.
A barn door takes up less space when you open it. You can easily close and lock it if you need to leave the trailer. You can also use the inside of the doors for storage.
You can customize your trailer with accessories like cabinets, ladder racks, shelving, and vents. How you use your trailer will determine which items would be the most useful and cost-effective.
Additional Safety Considerations
When looking for the best-enclosed trailer, here are 3 other things to consider.
- Vehicle towing capacity
Towing capacity is the maximum weight that your vehicle can pull while towing. The manufacturer will list the maximum towing capacity in the owner’s manual. You can also find it on the driver’s side door jam. Once you find the maximum towing capacity, you can compare it to the weight of your trailer to be sure you can tow safely.
- Loading the trailer
Loading a cargo trailer properly will help protect your cargo while you’re driving. It also makes the trailer safer to tow.
- Vehicle registration and driver’s license
You may need to upgrade your vehicle registration for towing a trailer. Laws can vary by state, so be sure to check the regulations for each state you plan to travel through.
Some states require you to upgrade your driver’s license if the total gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is more than 26,001 lbs.
Finding the Best Enclosed Trailer
Enclosed cargo trailers are a secure and convenient way to transport items for business or pleasure. Once you know how you’ll be using your trailer, you can start looking for one with the features that meet your needs.
By focusing on the features that are most important to you, you’ll be sure to find the best-enclosed trailer to fit your budget.
For more articles like this, check out the rest of our website!