What To Look For When Buying A Used Motorcycle Trailer

It might be tempting when checking out a trailer to kick a tire, check for scratches and call it good if the price is right, but you could be doing yourself a major disservice if you take that approach. There is a lot more to look for on these trailers than how pretty they are. Here you'll learn how to make sure you're not getting the short end of the used motorcycle trailer stick.

Ask Where the Seller is From and Where They've Been

Some climates are more destructive than others. Humidity increases the likelihood of rust, while the salt used on roads in very cold climates can corrode components. Has the seller lived in a dry, warm climate their entire life and rarely traveled outside their state? Have they lived in the Florida Everglades the last ten years? Either way, you get an inside look at what climate the trailer has been exposed to.

Look for Evidence of Rust

You don't necessarily have to crawl under the trailer to check for rust. You can look for it in wheel wells, around the hinges on the doors and door latches, inside the trailer in the corners, and on the hitch. If you find any corrosion in these places there's a decent chance the axle will need to be checked as well. 

A word to the wise: don't be fooled by a lack of rust. Just because it's not readily apparent doesn't mean a shyster hasn't concealed it. Look closely for rough spots or bubbles in paint. If you find them it's likely the previous owner has painted over rust, which will significantly shorten the lifespan of your trailer. Make your offer accordingly.

Check Electrical Connections

This is why it's handy to bring a small tool bag with you when you're looking for a used trailer. A commonly neglected area is the electrical connections on a trailer. It's neglected because it's out of sight. Pulling out a screwdriver and a flashlight and taking a peek at what is behind the light inside the trailer, the tail lights, and break lights will give you an idea of how well the trailer has been cared for. Electrical connections are vulnerable to corrosion because they are smaller than any other single component of the trailer. Worn connections may be fraying, missing insulation, or corroded. Taking a look at the wires behind the lights will tell you whether you're looking at replacing the connections soon or whether they've been cared for and will last a lot longer.

Check the Safety Chains

These parts are easily damaged and easily neglected, but can save your bacon in an emergency. The safety chains are a backup to the hitch and will keep the trailer attached to your towing vehicle if the hitch fails for some reason. Many trailer owners fail to use them or allow them to drag on the road. This wears them out very quickly and can result in a serious failure and decoupling of the trailer and your truck. Don't risk it. If the trailer is otherwise in good shape, just replace the safety chains and keep on towing.

Buying a used trailer can be a fantastic cost-saver, or it can be a real bummer. As with anything, doing your own homework will help ensure you're making a good investment. Check the motorcycle trailer you're interested in from hitch to door latch and you're much more likely to catch any issues that may cause major problems down the line, and help you spot unethical sellers before you become their victim. Now that you know what to look for, you are ready to check out enclosed motorcycle trailer sales.