There's no shortage of opinions about trailers on the Internet. Trailers come in numerous shapes, sizes, and functions, and many people even design their own custom rigs. With so many choices, people will inevitably feel strongly about the features and designs they love, hate, or love to hate. Unfortunately, these varying opinions can make it challenging to make an objective purchasing decision.
If you're about to embark on your first trailer purchase, you may wonder which features are best for you and whether certain options even matter for your use case. The axles are one of the most critical (and visible) features on any trailer, and they come in two varieties: single and double (or tandem). This guide will help spell out the facts and why this difference may matter to you.
What Do Your Axles Do For You?
Your trailer's axles are the primary determining factor of its load-bearing capacity. The trailer axles transfer your payload weight to the wheels and tires, supporting the trailer as you travel down the road. More axles and wheels generally translate into a greater weight-bearing capacity. In other words, a tandem trailer with four wheels typically has a greater payload capacity than a two-wheeled model.
Your axles also provide additional stability when traveling in a straight line. Each tire has a contact patch that provides traction with the road surface. More tires provide contact, increasing trailer grip and helping the trailer to feel more secure. This stability is particularly apparent when traveling at high speeds, such as on long highway drives.
Why Would You Want a Single-Axle Trailer?
It may seem like tandem trailers are all advantages, and they do offer numerous benefits over single-axle trailers. However, these benefits come at a cost. The increased stability from two axles translates directly into decreased maneuverability. A single-axle trailer is easier to get into tight spaces and generally much easier to drive.
Single axle trailers are also lighter, cheaper, and easier to maintain since they have fewer parts that can fail. Two axles mean twice as many parts that require maintenance and may fail and result in costly repairs. These ongoing expenses can lead to a higher overall cost of ownership, especially when you factor in the higher initial cost.
Which Is Right For You?
A good rule of thumb is to purchase the smallest trailer that fits your need, but never to go too small. If a single-axle trailer offers sufficient capacity (with a little overhead), it can be a cheaper option that's easier to control around town. On the other hand, the disadvantages of a tandem trailer don't outweigh its benefits. If you need extra payload capacity and stability, a tandem is the way to go.
Remember that a trailer is a practical piece of gear, which means your requirements should dictate your purchasing decisions. Consider your payload needs, driving conditions, and overall towing experience level. These considerations will help you decide whether a single or tandem trailer is best for your needs.
Reach out to a company such as Dutchman Enterprises to find out more.