Five Red Flags to Watch Out for When Buying a Trailer

7 min read
Watch Out for When Buying a Trailer

Purchasing a used trailer is a great way to save money, but only if you do some due diligence. Sometimes a used trailer is perfectly fine but other times it has many hidden problems that you’ll discover after hauling a load. This will show you some red flags to watch for when buying a used trailer.

Check Maintenance History

Every trailer should have a record of maintenance history. This includes oil changes, tune-ups, tires, and whether any parts were replaced. Review the history and make sure that everything was done appropriately and on time as this is important to make sure that the truck is in good health and that it complies with the federal regulations. As Hales Trailer states, “As a motor carrier or driver, it’s your responsibility to know DOT tire regulations and conduct regular checks to ensure your equipment is always in working order. With the numerous regulations and interpretations of DOT tire standards, it’s helpful to have an understanding of how they may, or may not affect drivers, carriers, and the trailers you tow.” It is also important to ensure that the oil was changed at regular times, tires were replaced appropriately and so on. The maintenance history will give you a good idea of what the truck has been through and whether it was properly cared for.

Watch Out for When Buying a Trailer

Accident History

An accident history report doesn’t necessarily mean the trailer is bad, but you’ll want to carefully see what the accident was and how the trailer was repaired. For example, a slow speed crash with minimal body damage likely won’t impair the trailer’s performance. An extensive accident that required major repairs could permanently impact the trailer’s performance. Look over this report very carefully to see if the trailer is worth buying.

Consider Replacement Parts

Even the best trailer will need repairs in the future. In most cases every vehicle will have a pattern. Some trailers need certain belts changed consistently while others need the whole transmission changed more frequently than others. You can determine replacement parts by checking the trailer’s current condition and also going over the maintenance history to see if any patterns have emerged. This can help you determine if certain truck trailers for sale are worth investing in.

Perform Quality Inspections

Look around the trailer and see what shape it’s in. Check the oil and make sure it’s full and clean. Look underneath the trailer to see if any fluids are leaking. Check for any obvious body damage or extensive rust. A tiny bit of rust is expected for much older trailers, but this can also be a sign that the trailer wasn’t cared for properly.

Watch Out for When Buying a Trailer

Confirm the trailer’s mileage to see how much the trailer has been used. More mileage means more extensive use. Check the tires and see how their treads are. You may have to change the tires if they are worn.

Reason for Selling

Many people never ask this question but it’s very important. You’ll want to know the reason for selling. Is the seller just upgrading to a new trailer, or has the trailer been unreliable in the past? Hopefully the seller will be upfront and tell you the real reason, but you’ll often have to dig a little deeper. This will help ensure you’re making the right decision with your investment.


Buying a used trailer is a great way to save some money while still getting great equipment for your company. Just be sure to mind these red flags and inspect the trailer appropriately before signing anything.

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