If you’re considering buying a van or large vehicle for business or personal use there’s maybe one other option to think about before making a big financial commitment. If you need extra room to transport goods or materials for a job or project, or maybe you need it for sporting equipment or rigging, a more economical choice would be to invest in a trailer. This allows you to basically have two vehicles for a much reduced price. A trailer can increase your gross weight significantly depending on the type purchased, and it can be unhooked and stored when not in use, allowing you to use your vehicle feely for town and city driving.
However, there are some prerequisites to consider before buying a trailer, and if you are hoping to increase your vehicle’s workload, it’s worth considering these important points:
Can your vehicle pull a trailer? – It might not be a good idea to buy a large trailer if your car is not capable of the job. Realistically you want at least a large saloon, or ideally a 4×4. Check your vehicle’s train-weight. Most car manufacturers include this information in the car user manual. Also, most information can be sourced online.
Another consideration is whether or not your vehicles has been fitted with a tow-bar. If not, it’s an extra cost which needs to be factored into the purchase. This is usually not an expensive alteration but a professionally fitted tow-bar may run into several hundred dollars.
Are you licensed/competent to use a trailer? – In Australia it is legal to tow a 9 tonne gross weight trailer with an ordinary car licence. This allows the average car owner to greatly increase the overall tonnage quite significantly without need to apply for additional licences. However, if someone strays over this load limit the penalties can be quite severe. There have been high profile cases of untrained trailer drivers causing serious road accidents due to dangerous, ignorant driving practices. It is worth mentioning that just because there is an opportunity to drive with a 9 tonne trailer it is advisable to learn the basic concepts of handling such a large load. If you are unfamiliar with towing a formal training course should be completed before going out on the public roads.
Also, one of the biggest hazards when towing is the lack of knowledge regarding secure loading. Commercial drivers are trained in the use of specialist equipment to prevent materials and goods falling off vehicles, but private trailer owners are not obliged to have this training. It is wise to become familiar with the appropriate equipment and the concepts concerning safe loading.
If you feel a trailer is a good option there are many reputable providers to buy from. In recent times the use of aluminium chassis has become increasingly popular. It is a fantastic lightweight, strong metal which is ideal for this purpose. There are a handful of aluminium trailer providers throughout Australia. Companies like Victoria based Sureweld have trailers to suit most customers’ needs.