What to look out for in a used trailer

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by Ozi_Brisbane, Aug 1, 2003.

  1. Ozi_Brisbane

    Ozi_Brisbane LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Hi guys,

    I'm now in the market for my first trailer. I'm looking at a used trailer rather than new since a new one can be rather a pain in the thinning hip pocket.

    What do I need to look out for when inspecting a used trailer.

    I have the opportunity to buy a trailer that has been customized for lawn care. So it has a fully enclosed compartment for a mower plus other equipment.

    Are there any structural problems that I should be wary of in a used trailer?

    Would appreciate your views on this.
  2. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,157

    If it is a wooden bed, has it been "re-surfaced"? Did they put a new deck over the old one? If so, that means the original deck underneath is rotted.

    Tires - tires on dual-axle trailers wear quickly, so if there is any wear on the tires, either request new ones, or a price reduction to cover the cost of new tires.

    Wiring - obviously check that all the lights work, but also check on the condition of the wiring. The wires may be almost worn out.

    Spring loaded gate - if the trailer has a spring-assisted gate, check out the condition of the spring and cables, even if you have to remove paneling.

    Brakes - if the trailer is large enough to require brakes, make sure that they work. Especially if your Motor Vehicle Department requires an inspection of the trailer to register it.

    Hope this helps you.
  3. Ozi_Brisbane

    Ozi_Brisbane LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    That helps, thanks Tvov.

    The trailer I'm considering is made of steel throughout. The floor has recently been tarred, apparently to reduce susceptibility to rust. I'm a bit wary of that. It could be hiding serious rust?
  4. work_it

    work_it LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 976

    The first thing I always look at is the axels. If the trailer you're looking at is a tandem make sure all the tires are in line. If the back tires are canted outward it means they were carying a heavy load and didn't center the weight over the axles. If they were carrying a heavy load and turned too hard on a black top or concrete surface it can make a wheel bend out causing damage to the axle or hub. Just remember to deduct the price of a new axel + installation from price.

    What shape are the tires in? Does it come with a spare? You mentioned they retared the floor. Is there any way you can check out the condition by getting under the trailer? If it has a brake, check to see what shape it's in. Go over it with a dicriminating eye, deduct $ for every problem. If they don't like your offer you don't need to pay good money for problems. Move on to the next one.
  5. Ozi_Brisbane

    Ozi_Brisbane LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    This particular trailer is not a tandem. I'll definitely crawl underneath it to check for rust there. Am taking another look at it today.

    Thanks for everybody's help with things to look for.

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