8 Features To Look For When Buying A Box Trailer

 In Trailer Tips

If you are considering purchasing a box trailer, there are some features to look out for. Over the years we have found that customers typically have questions regarding how to evaluate a trailer. You probably know what size trailer you want, and this guide will help you sort out some of the less obvious aspects for your consideration.

Payload Capacity:

How much do you need to carry with the trailer?

Many people just look at the ATM weight. This is the total weight of the Tare Weight + Payload capacity. You really want to look at the payload capacity to know if its suitable for what you want to carry. Look at the ATM to know if it is suitable for your car to tow.

Tare Weight:

You want a durable trailer with a low tare weight for fuel efficiency and easy manoeuvrability. There’s no point having a trailer that can carry 3 tonne if the trailer itself already weighs 2.5 tonne. Trailers with aluminium panels are generally best for this, along with being lighter, aluminium also resists rust and corrosion. For a 3 tonne box trailer with aluminium sides you are generally looking at around a 550kg tare weight. This is light enough to manoeuvre yourself with a jockey wheel.

Tie Down Points – Aka Lashing Hooks:

You will want to tie down your load with security and confident safety. Look for a box trailer that comes with strong sturdy and convenient interior lashing hooks included. Also use good quality lashing straps that are not going to unhook, snap or break in any way.


Since you are likely to own the trailer for preferably years or decades, ensure it is manufactured in a durable material to provide longevity.

Chassis: ALWAYS pick a trailer with a hot dipped galvanised chassis to prevent corrosion. European trailers are usually hot dipped galvanised chassis since roads are salted in Winter to prevent ice. It is equally important in Australia especially on the East Coast trailers are frequently exposed to salt air ocean breezes amongst other harsh environmental conditions.

Sides: As for the rest of the trailer, bare steel and painted steel should be avoided. These will rust extremely quickly. Always go for a trailer that is galvanised in some way.

Cage, Ramps, Racks, Tarps, Tops, Nets, etc.

You might not need or want any optional extras now, but find a trailer that is compatible with additional extras for the future. Some trailer manufacturers actually weld the cage or ladder racks onto the trailer so they are permanent. This is ok if it is what you want, but accessories that can be added and removed at any time are generally preferred.


Many trailer dealers give second hand wheels with a trailer. Be sure you are getting NEW tyres. They are the first part of the trailer that your safety relies on. Check the specs and ratings of the wheels including the Rolling Resistance, Wet Grip and Noise ratings.


Trailers with a registered ATM above 750kg must have brakes on all axles and with a breakaway system.

There are a few options available:

  • Override Mechanical
  • Override Hydraulic
  • Electric Brakes
  • Electric Hydraulic

The word “override” is often used interchangeably with the word “overrun”. Both mean the same thing.

Ease of Loading & Unloading:

Loading Height: Often a higher trailer means you don’t have to bend over to load it up. But make sure it’s not too high as that would mean need to lift goods higher.

Removable/Hinging Sides: If the sides come off or hinge down, this means you don’t have to lift up & over the side.

Tilt or Tip: If you are loading your trailer with sand, rubble and other materials, you might consider a tilt or tip trailer that can dump the load.

Ramps: Another consideration is ramps to push good onto the trailer in a trolley / cart / wheel borrow. Of if your goods are automotive such as a lawn mower or machinery.


So in conclusion, the appropriate trailer will have a payload capacity suitable for what you are carrying, it would have a manageable tare weight, plentiful tie-down points, hot dipped galvanised chassis and aluminium or galvanised sides, additional accessories, safe NEW wheels, braking if over 750kg, and easy loading and unloading features.

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