Tips for buying a second hand trailer

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Everyone appreciates value for money, and buying a second hand trailer offers considerable savings compared to a brand new model. Whether you plan to use your trailer for work or domestic purposes, you can enjoy peace of mind by following some simple rules when inspecting a potential purchase.

Covering the basics

Wooden floorboards: One of the first things you should check with any trailer is the floorboards. If they’re not properly maintained, wooden floorboards are susceptible to rot and decay.

Aluminum floors: Steel trailers have their own potential problems – aluminum floors can suffer from rust and deterioration. It’s also worth noting the condition of the cross members under the floor. These provide the trailer’s structural integrity, so any signs of corrosion are a concern.

Tyres: When buying a second hand trailer, check the condition of the tyres. They can provide useful clues about the trailer’s overall condition. Uneven tyre wear can mean a bent axle, which could pose a serious problem. Incorrect tyres will also affect the safety and handling of a trailer (tyres should be certified for towing, not for general automobiles).

Brakes: Brake wiring is another important aspect to check. Always ask to have the trailer hooked up to a vehicle so you can ensure the brakes and indicators are working correctly. Ideally, you’ll want to connect it to your own vehicle to ensure everything is compatible.

Dents: Externally, the trailer should be free of serious dents. While some wear and tear is inevitable when on the road, investigate anything resembling cracks. Also look out for any small pinholes and crumbling powder around the outside of the trailer, as this could be another sign of aluminum corrosion.

Rust and cracks: You’ll want to ensure that the van’s hitch mechanism is well-maintained and in good working order. Rust and cracks are the biggest issues here, although both are relatively easy to spot.

Every trailer has a history

Buying a trailer via an accredited dealership allows you to compare a variety of models and it means you don’t have to worry about any outstanding claims on the vehicle – including theft or previous finance. A private seller may be more willing to negotiate on price, but you will need to do some additional research and check the vehicle’s history.

The Australian Government provides a Personal Property Securities Register where you can check a trailer’s 17-digit serial number to ensure it’s free of previous obligations.

Ultimately, you have to be comfortable with the trailer you’re purchasing. Research the market, know what to look for, set a budget, and you can enjoy the savings that come from buying a second hand trailer.

You can research second hand trailers via a number of local websites. Use the Australian Government’s Personal Property Securities Register for added peace of mind.


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