While purchasing pre-owned items may be more affordable when you are on a tight budget, there are several potential drawbacks. Often, used items require costly repairs and don’t last long, causing additional expenses in regard to upkeep and replacements. If you are in need of a new, or new-to-you trailer, this article will help you properly assess a used trailer so you can determine if it’s worth purchasing or if it will end up costing you more than it’s worth. Join the trailer experts at Kaufman Trailers as they share the key features you should look at before buying a used trailer.

10 Things To Check Before Buying a Used Trailer

For your reference, a Kaufman trailer requires several components to work in prime condition to operate safely. Our high standards and determination to adhere to top-quality trailers are part of our core values. If you’re contemplating buying a used trailer, it’s important to bear in mind that if even one component is compromised, it could affect the entire system’s functionality and put you in danger. When comparing the cost of a used trailer to one that is brand new, you should consider the following ten aspects:


Tires that are in good condition are essential to a Kaufman trailer’s operation. Be sure to look for cracks and plugged holes. Additionally, make sure that the tires are matching in size and have the correct capacity. Your tires must be able to carry the load that you intend to haul on your trailer, so observe accordingly. It is best to ensure the tires are in good condition before you purchase the trailer, as replacing them later on can easily cost you hundreds of dollars.


As you know, brakes are integral to safety. Be sure to ask the seller questions about the break function on the axles. When possible, inspect the pads, shoes, drums, rotors, and magnets before buying a used trailer. If any of the previously mentioned parts are worn out or faulty, the replacement cost can be more than you’re willing to bear.


Your trailer wheel bearings essentially carry the entire weight of your trailer. Thus, wheel bearings are one of the most crucial parts to check on a used trailer. When inspecting a pre-owned trailer, whether it be Kaufman or another brand, make sure the bearings are lubricated and properly seated. Again, replacing wheel bearings on a trailer is expensive and may negate the benefit of buying a used trailer.


While inspecting, check the leaf springs and spring hangers. Any cracks or repairs indicate that the trailer has been overloaded in the past. They could also signal a shift in the axles due to a sudden impact with something on the ground. Purchasing a trailer with uneven axles is risky as it causes tire wear. And as previously mentioned, replacing tires on a trailer is expensive.


A cracked or repaired frame indicates that a trailer has been overloaded or perhaps built improperly. You’ll want to shy away from purchasing a trailer with such a frame as it’ll cause you inconvenience in the future. 

Electrical System

If the trailer you are considering purchasing has built-in lighting, you’ll want to check and ensure the lighting is working properly. If the lighting does not work, you’ll want to inspect it further. Simple fixes such as a loose bulb or screw, are not a big deal. However, if the cause is faulty wiring, you may have to spend unwanted money on costly repairs. 


While it may seem that a trailer’s floors are the simplest component to replace, that is not always the case. Replacing flooring involves extra material and labor. All of this will lead to added expenses. When considering buying a used trailer, check the flooring and see if it’s up to your standards. If it’s not, the trailer might not be the best choice for you.


While inspecting a trailer’s ramp make sure to check its length, width, strength, and straightness. You should also keep an eye out for any cracks or repairs that will need to be worked on. The ramp should be designed to load any equipment the trailer is rated to carry, otherwise its function is not so useful.

Previous Ownership

One of the most important things to check while buying pre-owned trailers is the previous ownership. Be sure the vehicle trailer is not stolen or borrowed. You can determine this by checking if the VIN is stamped on the trailer and matches all the previous paperwork. We encourage you to look up the VIN and ensure the trailer is properly registered as well. Accidentally purchasing a stolen vehicle will lead to unforeseen consequences and headaches.


Perhaps the most attractive reason for purchasing a used trailer is its cost compared to buying a brand-new trailer. However, oftentimes, the price of a used trailer is comparable to a brand-new one. Additionally, when you buy a new trailer, you can add on features to customize your trailer to your needs. For example, Kaufman Trailers has a deluxe line that includes frame upgrades (pierced frame on dual wheel models), radial tires, closer cross-member spacing, and a sealed wiring harness with lifetime LED lights. In such cases, it might be in your best interests to buy a new trailer instead of a pre-owned trailer. The repairs and maintenance that a pre-owned trailer will cost can often exceed the price of a new trailer.

Contact Kaufman Trailers for Affordable & Quality Trailers

While you may think you’re saving money by investing in a pre-owned trailer, the reality is you may have to pay much more in lifelong costs, including costs for repairs, maintenance, and replacement parts. Although it can be a hassle to thoroughly examine pre-owned trailers, it is crucial to ensure they will operate properly and not become an endless money pit.

Kaufman Trailers offers new, high-quality trailers for sale at affordable prices with no markups. With over 30 years of experience, we can guarantee that your investment in our trailers will be the best value. For assistance finding the perfect trailer in your budget, give our sales reps a call today at 866-455-7444 or fill out the form below.

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