Buying the right trailer for towing behind of an ATV can be a daunting task. Too many folks do not purchase based on what tasks the trailer has to be able to perform and only consider the cost to purchase.
Most experienced ATV owners will tell you they made their first trailer purchase based on price and the low price turned this into an impulse buy. Unfortunately, these normally turn into a major mistake when an axle snaps or a wheel bearing fails and you have to leave your load several miles back on a trail somewhere.
The old adage of, you get what you pay for when it comes to a tow behind ATV trailer rings true in many cases.
Too many manufacturers have jumped on the ATV equipment bandwagon and have converted lawn trailers into ATV trailers by adding bigger tires and a sticker that says ATV Trailer to the side of them. Most of these that I have seen still have slow-speed sleeve bushing on the wheels and a solid mounted ¾ inch axle that breaks easily when towed on an uneven surface. The problem with the solid mounted axle is there is no give or spring to allow the axle to move when loaded.
A trailer designed for ATV use must have roller bearings to be able to allow speeds of at least 20 mph and an axle no smaller than 1 inch to be able to handle the abuse of rough roads and trails. The axle should be able to move when going over obstacles rather than a heavy load coming down full force and snapping the axle. Large, balloon tires to help absorb some of this load stress, but the tires can only take so much depending on the amount of weight you have in the trailer.
The cargo box on many of the lawn-trailers converted to ATV trailers can be a source of constant headaches when loaded with firewood, sand, gravel or dirt. Thin metal sides and floors do not hold up well when loaded heavy and in many instances the spot welds break just as you are going over a large rock on the trail. The other issue is traveling on an uneven trail with a sheet metal trailer; the constant rattling noise can drive you crazy in a short time!
Always consider what you are planning to use your trailer for when making your purchase and how much weight is your ATV rated to pull. If you are planning on hauling firewood from an area on a logging road, you will need a trailer that is designed to handle that sort of use.
Don’t impulse buy and make a wise choice. It’s better to buy a little more trailer than you currently need rather than be constantly trying to patch together a trailer that was not designed for the task in the beginning.