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How to choose utility trailers for jeep wrangler?

Utility trailers for a jeep wrangler are an essential piece of equipment especially if you are going on a long road trip or an off-road expedition and you need to carry some necessary equipment and they can’t fit in your wrangler or simply just because you need room for other things or passengers.

Utility trailers are ideal for hauling heavy equipment that cannot be put in both vehicles and on a roof rack if you have one. These are factors that you should put into consideration before buying utility trailers for jeep wrangler. They include the following 

  • The towing capacity of your wrangler and the weight of the utility trailer.
  • Type of utility trailer that you want.
  • What you are going to haul on the utility trailer. 
  • Total weight of the trailer and the maximum weight the trailer can hold. 

Towing capacity of your wrangler

Different jeep models have different towing capacities but, collectively, all 2-door wranglers have a towing capacity of up to 2000 pounds and all four door wranglers can tow weights of up to 3500 pounds.

It is recommended that you check your owner’s car manual to confirm your towing capacity before hauling anything on your jeep. All jeeps come with front and rear tow hooks as standard and it is good to check if your tow hook is in good condition as damaged tow hooks can cause accidents.

For better functionality, an after-market tow hook that is attached to the chassis can work better and probably haul a few extra pounds. This is because there is reinforced support for the tow hook.

The maximum towing capacity is inclusive of what is in the trailer. It is recommended that you know the weight of the trailer and what you are going to haul in it to avoid damaging your wrangler as overloading the trailer past the maximum towing capacity of your wrangler can cause several problems such as engine and transmission problems. 

Type of utility trailer that you want 

There are two main types of utility trailers 

  • Enclosed utility trailers.
  • Open-air utility trailers.

Enclosed utility trailers 

These are usually enclosed and due to these, they are heavier than open-air utility trailers. Most of these are made using aluminum or steel and come in several options like refrigerated trailers and livestock trailers.

Most come just as a solid body without any modifications done to them and it’s up to the owner to decide what modifications to be done to the trailer according to the way he wants to use the trailer.

Enclosed utility trailers are ideal for long road trips but not for tough off-roading purposes as they tend to topple over due to their high center of gravity caused by their height.

There are shorter utility trailers but you’d rather go for an open-air utility trailer and cover it using a trailer cover unless you have something you want to protect from the sun and rain. 

Pros 

  • Keeps whatever you’re carrying safe and free from damage from extreme weather conditions as they come with lockable doors.
  • Items can be kept organized in the trailer by adding shelves and racks. 
  • Enclosed trailers can haul more items than open-air trailers.
  • Ideal for hauling bulky items.
  • Secure than other types of trailers.

Cons 

  • Enclosed utility trailers are usually heavy as compared to other types of trailers. This weight may limit the total weight you can carry depending on your wrangler’s towing capacity.
  • Enclosed utility trailers are much more expensive than other types of trailers. 
  • Due to their massive weight, traveling with them when they’re empty can massively reduce your mpg. 
  • Enclosed trailers tend to hide the driver’s field of view and the driver cannot inspect whatever is being hailed as the utility trailer is enclosed.

Open-air utility trailers 

These come in two variables 

  • Crate-like utility trailers.
  • Flatbed utility trailers.

Crate like utility trailers 

These are smaller and lightweight than enclosed utility trailers. Come with a functionality that allows them to be enclosed and resemble enclosed utility trailers. Most of these are usually made with strong wood panels or strong plastics thus their lighter.

utility trailers for a jeep wrangler

Some owners even prefer building this type of trailer themselves and this is one of the best ideas since you will build something that suits the purpose for which you need to use your trailer.

Building a utility trailer is even cheaper than buying one and it’s fun too. You get to select components and customize your trailer to your liking. Short crate-like utility trailers are ideal for off-roading as they have flexible maneuverability. 

Pros 

  • Driver visibility is not altered that much as these do not have lengthy heights and the driver can easily inspect, whatever is being hauled by use of the side mirrors.
  • Lightweight so they have a lesser impact on your wrangler’s mpg and you can drive around with them attached. 
  • Easy to maneuver around tight spaces and corners.
  • Short crate-like utility trailers have an excellent off-road capability.

Cons 

  • If you don’t have a trailer cover, whatever your hauling can be destroyed by harsh weather conditions. 
  • Whatever is in the trailer is not usually very secure.

Flatbed utility trailers 

These are usually used to transport heavy locomotive equipment or heavy machinery. They can also be used to transport heavy luggage but tying down is necessary when doing this. Flatbed trailers are usually very light since they do not consist of many components thus, they can carry heavier equipment.

These are ideal for long-distance road transportation of goods but you’ll need a trailer cover in case the weather gets messy. Short flatbeds are ideal when off-roading and you need to carry some equipment e.g., tents, shovels, and other camping equipment. 

Pros 

  • Can haul more than other types of trailers.
  • Driver visibility is excellent as compared to using other types of trailers. 
  • Short flatbed trailers have an excellent off-road capability.

Cons 

  • Lengthy flatbed trailers are hard to maneuver.
  • Some are made of wood meaning so they are less durable. 

What are you going to haul on the utility trailer? 

Different utility trailers have what they haul best and not all items need to be carried on utility trailers, some can just be put on a roof rack and you are set to go. But if you want a utility trailer then there is nothing stopping you from getting one.

Some utility trailers can be modified to suit owner preference by adding matching tires that are the same as the tires on your wrangler or adding off-road tires for better off-road performance if you are going to use your trailer for off-road purposes and also modifying trailers to hold more weight.

Also, some trailers come with components that are useless to the owner and they have to be removed. Building your utility trailer is more convenient since you get to select the parts and modify your wrangler to suit the specifications of what you are going to carry. 

utility trailers for a jeep wrangler

If you are going to carry recreational equipment such as quad bikes, kayaks, jet skis, and on your trailer, then a flatbed trailer is the best option. When using a flatbed trailer loading heavy equipment is much easier as compared to loading other types of trailers.

When using flatbed trailers, that trailer must have strong tie-down points as falling objects can cause dangerous accidents, especially when driving on busy highways. For lighter equipment, you can use other open-air trailers as long as there are no fitment issues.  

Enclosed utility trailers are Ideal if you want to transport that need a little bit of extra security and also need to be kept from being damaged by extreme weather conditions. The weight that comes with enclosed utility trailers is a small price to pay for the security and safety of what you are carrying on the trailer. 

Total weight of the trailer and maximum weight the trailer can hold 

Every utility trailer has the maximum weight capacity that it can hold. Though the added weight of the trailer with the added weight of whatever is in the trailer when put together should not exceed the maximum towing capacity of your wrangler.

To carry more weight, it is recommended that you go for a lighter utility trailer that has a higher maximum weight capacity. For instance, you can go for an aluminum enclosed trailer instead of a steel one and you can also go for a wooden flatbed instead of a steel or aluminum one.

But on the other hand, lighter materials are less durable as compared to heavy materials. When it comes to the choice of material for your utility trailer it all comes down to what you are carrying in your trailer. 

Other factors are not usually noticed by new trailer owners but they are important when selecting a utility trailer. They include the following 

Flat or pointed front  

This mostly applies to enclosed utility trailers. Most enclosed trailers come with either a flat or pointed front. Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages. 

Advantages Of A Trailer With A Flat Front 

  • Has more space to fit in more items.

Disadvantages Of A Trailer With A Flat Front 

  • Not very aerodynamic thus your wrangler’s mpg is negatively affected.

Advantages Of A Trailer With A Pointed Front 

  • Aerodynamic thus there is better fuel economy as compared to trailers with a flat front.

Disadvantages Of A Trailer With A Pointed Front 

  • Interior room is decreased thus some items may not fit.

A ramp is also necessary to make loading easier. Some models don’t come with ramps and it is advised that you should go for trailers that come with ramps. It is also very important to thoroughly inspect parts of the trailer such as 

Trailer floor

Inspecting the trailer floor for holes, rots, and rusts should be carefully done. Inspection should also be done underneath to ensure the pillars are in perfect working condition. The bearings should be inspected for cracks and whether they are greased and sealed properly. Check if there I play in them too. 

Brakes

The brakes on the trailer should be working properly. Brake pads, shoes, drums, rotors, and magnets should be in good condition. It is best to consult a technician in mechanical issues as he will give you a better verdict as the seller is only interested in selling the trailer. 

Suspension

Most trailers come with leaf springs and these should be checked for cracks and breaks. You should also check for welds and welds are not usually a good sign. Leaf springs should be replaced with new ones and should never be welded when broken. Some sellers do this to avoid the cost of replacing the leaf spring and hangers. 

utility trailers for a jeep wrangler

Price

some sellers overprice their trailers, and also there is no need for buying an expensive trailer yet you won’t utilize it to its full ability. It’s even better to build your utility trailer or have someone build it for you as it is cheaper too so and you get a trailer that you can utilize to its full ability 

Trailer lights

These are very important especially when driving at night. This is a legal requirement in some states and it is recommended that even if your state has no legal requirement, you should have indicator lights, brake lights, reverse lights, and marker lights on your trailer.

These help other drivers to know the size of your trailer and helps them notice whenever you’re turning or braking. Having these keeps you and other road users safe from accidents 

Conclusion

You should choose your utility trailer according to the towing capacity of your wrangler and whatever you are going to haul using the utility trailer.

Two-door Wranglers have a lower towing capacity as compared to four-door wranglers so if you plan on upgrading to a wrangler, a four-door is better since it can tow both light loads and heavy loads all together and is also more practical.

But if you need just to tow light loads, then the two-door is the wrangler choice for you. Making sure your jeep is in good condition should be a top priority, check the tow hook for any dents or any damages that can be points of weakness before attaching a utility trailer onto your wrangler.