Understanding Trailer sizes and their uses


The size of a trailer is an important consideration when you begin shopping, possibly for the first trailer. Most manufacturers offer 6×4 trailer, 7×4 trailer, 8×5 trailer, 10×5 trailer, and 12×6 traileras standard sizes. However, in certain situations, none of the standard sizes may answer your specific needs and you need custom trailers to meet your requirement.

Trailers are a reliable and very helpful attachment to a tow vehicle for hauling fertilizer, farm produce, farming equipment, fertilizer, equipment or gadgets that you need for your business or personal use. Standard sizes like 6×4 trailer, 7×4 trailer, 8×5 trailer, 10×5 trailer, and 12×6 trailermay not answer your specific needs at times because a particular is either too small or too big and the next size also presents a similar problem. Your focus on a particular size may be driven by specific constraints and this can be addressed by choosing custom trailers.The towing ability of the vehicle you designate for towing the trailer is an important consideration in determining the size of the trailer.  The trailer cannot be too big or too small for the tow vehicle since it will impact the manoeuvrability of the tow vehicle and the trailer when you are on public roads.  A trailer that you cannot handle safely with the tow vehicle can be a significant safety risk to you as well as other road users.

Trailer size vs its usage

Small trailers are generally ideal for most domestic applications like moving farm equipment, the farm produces, fertilizer etc.  Tradesmen may also prefer the smaller sized trailers for moving their equipment like lawnmowers, plumbing tools, carpenter’s workbench, small lathe machines and stuff like that. On the other hand, medium-sized trailers are often employed to transport finished products or packages from warehouses to the shipping docks or shipping agents.  Midsize trailers may also come in handy for delivering small equipment like washing machines, refrigerators, domestic furniture etc. within metropolitan areas.

Open and enclosed trailers

Next to the choice of size is the option between open and enclosed trailers.  When you plan to deploy your trailer to haul loads such as scrap, farm equipment, farm produce, fertilizer, mulch etc., you are better off with an open trailer. Conversely, enclosed trailers are ideal when the cargo you plan to transport is delicate and needs protection from natural elements. Further, enclosed trailers are also useful for storing your tow vehicle safely when you are on a long vacation or when the tow vehicle remains idle for several days in one go.

What are custom trailers?

As we mentioned earlier, there can be instances when none of the standard sizes fit your needs precisely and they are either too big or too small. In this case, you can always contact an experienced and reputed vendor to design a custom trailer answering your specific needs.  Carefully prepare a detailed specification for your custom trailer and the vendor then gets down to create that. However, you should provide exact measurements, material to be used in constructing the trailer, non-standard fixtures, important features that you want to incorporate etc. This is a special task for the vendor and therefore you should discuss all the details, ensure that a proper document is created jointly before proceeding to construct your custom trailer.  Apart from the specifications for the trailer, you should also pay attention to the hauling ability of your tow vehicle.  This is crucial to comply with your local transport laws as well as the safety of other road users.

Your tow vehicle

Generally, aligning the capacity of your tow vehicle with the specifications of your trailer is easy with standard sizes like 6×4 trailer, 7×4 trailer, 8×5 trailer, 10×5 trailer, and 12×6 trailer.But, with custom trailers, this would need to be worked out carefully.  Information with regard to the ability of your tow vehicle to haul a fully loaded trailer can be obtained from the owner’s manual provided by the manufacturer. If you experience any problem getting this information from the owner’s manual, you should contact the customer service department of the manufacturer and get the required information in writing. This step is crucial particularly with custom trailers since the owner’s manual gives the required information only with regard to standard sizes.

Safe driving

Similar to other automobiles, safety is a prime consideration while choosing custom trailers too. Therefore, when you load up your custom trailer on its maiden trip and take to public roads, it is essential that you take a little time familiarizing yourself with the difference in driving with no load on the trailer and a fully loaded trailer. For some people, this familiarization phase may take a few trips but it is important that you are absolutely comfortable behind the wheels with the trailer on tow.  Keeping the acceleration at minimum permitted levels and moving with caution initially is the way to go.

You should also check your local laws to understand if your driver’s license needs additional endorsement for towing the trailer on public highways.

Trailer maintenance and precautions

Apart from the safe handling of the trailer, it is essential that the trailer is well maintained. Following a regular maintenance schedule will enhance the life of your trailer as well as safety when you are towing it along on public highways. Paying particular attention to the following aspects will further add to these values.

  • Check to ensure that all tyres have the right pressure in a cold state
  • Check the hub, bolt and nuts to ensure that trailer wheels are tight
  • Ensure that the load on the trailer is evenly distributed and secure
  • Check safety hooks and chains for any sign of damage, wear or cracks
  • Ensure that the pintle and ring lock securely
  • When driving the new custom trailer on its maiden trip, stop by and check all safety aspects at intervals of every 25 miles.


Tests drive your trailer with and without the designated load and try to put the maximum permitted load while doing this. Use service roads or less crowded roads initially for your test drive. This way, you will be very comfortable behind the wheels when you are towing the actual load.

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