Car trailers: Are they all what they are cracked up to be?

No doubt many people have seen a car trailer at one point, either being towed by someone or used one themselves, but are they all they are cracked up to be?

Many people have asked us about the benefits of using a car trailer over a tow truck/towing operator and we have some answers for you.

Well we’ve decided to list some pro’s and con’s from our point of view however the cons do outweight the pros and in many cases, it can be more cost effective to utilise a towing operator.

Pros

  1. Clearly the main advantage of hiring or purchasing a car trailer is that you are able to move a vehicle yourself without having to worry about paying costs to a towing operator (such as ourselves) to transport your vehicle for you. A typical dual axle car carrier can cost you up to $100 for a days hire however this price varies from hire firm to hire firm.
  2. You can move vehicles at your own discretion at any time, day or night at a time that suits you.
  3. Some car trailers are multipurpose, meaning you can use them to transport other things such as rubbish to the tip, firewood, garden supplies and furniture.
  4. Some car trailers are made as a “tilt” trailer, therefore enabling easy loading of vehicles.
  5. For long distances, they can work out cheaper than a towing operator if all is done correctly (ie: correct tow vehicle, correctly secured vehicle to trailer etc)

Cons

  1. Some insurance companies may cover you in the event of an accident for the trailer itself, but not for the load on the trailer. Therefore, if you are transporting your own car and you do infact have an accident, the trailer may be covered by your insurance policy (if the vehicle towing the trailer is your own) but not the car being transported.
  2. You are fully responsible for any damages incurred by incorrectly securing your vehicle on the trailer or any damage caused when loading the vehicle.
  3. You are required by law to utilise a larger towing vehicle to perform the tow of the loaded trailer. Eg: You cannot use an Ford EL Falcon to tow a Nissan Patrol loaded on the car trailer. The power to weight ratios are not sufficient, braking power is insufficient and you run the risk of having an accident where you may endanger the lives of another person.
  4. If you do not own the towing vehicle and it is owned by a friend or another family member, your vehicle on the trailer may not be covered under insurance in the event of an accident or injury.
  5. You are required to load the vehicle yourself and in many cases, provide your own secure quality tie downs. Securing a vehicle with telecom rope or thin rope is not sufficient are you are more likely to have an accident due to an insecure load or incur fines from the local police. Secure rachet straps or chains are a big MUST and it is your responibility to ensure the vehicle is loaded and secured correctly.
  6. Some car trailers only have a 2000KG GVM, so therefore, the combined weight of the vehicle and trailer must not exceed this weight. With most vehicles these days exceeding 1500KG, when you combine the weight of the trailer and vehicle, you generally will be exceeding the maximum legal weight of the trailer and risk either having an accident, causing damage to the trailer or incurring penalties if the local police pull you over.
  7. If you are inexperienced in towing a trailer or any weight loaded trailers, it is recommended you practise towing the trailer unloaded first; remember, you are longer and not as easy to manouvre as a normal car.
  8. If you are not correctly loaded or have an overloaded trailer or insufficient tow vehicle, accidents such as this (click here) can occur and as mentioned before, your insurance company may not cover this.
  9. In the event of an accident where your insurance will not cover the costs of the trailer and towing from a licenced towing operator, you could be up for hundreds if not thousands of dollars in costs to replace/repair the trailer, the vehicle being towed as well as the tow vehicle. The costs can certainly add up very quickly.
  10. If you have a P plate licence, you are not permitted to tow a car trailer by law and therefore, are unable to tow your own vehicle on a car trailer. Someone else can, however if you are paying them, they must have a towing operators licence and have “TT” numberplates on the tow vehicle. If they are not licenced as a tow operator and have “TT” numberplates, they are also breaking the law as they are operating a towing business without a licence.

The NSW RTA has a guide for when towing trailers as well as important information regarding some towing regulations.

You can read that guide here: http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/registration/downloads/2005_10_towingtrailers.pdf

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