Posted on: 1 February 2017Share
If you need to haul gear, you may think that your only choice is to purchase a truck or SUV. Fortunately, many cars, from compact versions to sedans, can tow a small trailer. In fact, purchasing a new trailer and having a hitch installed can be much more cost effective than buying even a used truck, especially when you factor in other considerations such as fuel cost. The following guide can help you pick the right type of trailer.
Find out your tow load
Most vehicles on the road have a tow rating. In many cases, this rating can be found in your owner's manual. In some instances, you will need to call the dealership or contact the manufacturer to find the tow rating. Your insurance company may also be able to provide this information. Ratings can vary across models, so check for your specific year, make, model, and package to get the specific rating. In rare instances a car may not be rated for towing, so trying to haul a trailer will be at your own risk and insurance may not cover you if something happens.
Get the hitch professionally installed
Invest in a quality hitch system. Hitches that are welded to the frame and include sway bars or a stabilization kit are the best option. Avoid any hitches that are simply attached to the bumper, since these can easily damage your car and they make it harder to control your load. A plug and go light kit should also be included with the hitch so that you can easily hook up the break lights for the trailer to your car.
Choose a lightweight model
When you begin to look at trailers, you will find that there are several main types – wood, steel, and aluminum. A wood deck may look nice and steel may seem durable, but both are heavy. Remember that the weight of your trailer figures into your allowed tow load. Instead, opt for a lightweight aluminum trailer. Aluminum trailers are relatively durable and they resist rust and corrosion, as well.
Keep a low profile
If a covered trailer seems tempting, be careful. Although lightweight aluminum enclosed trailers may not penalize your tow load much, they do usually have a higher profile than your car. This is simply because they are designed to match the profile of a truck. This can make them harder to control, especially in windy conditions. If you must have an enclosed trailer, opt for a low box style that has a profile equal to or less than your car. You can't walk into these, but you can lock up the items you are towing.
For more help, talk to a trailer dealer in your area.