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Car Trailer Cost

How Much Does a Car Trailer Cost?

low costRental: $65-$200+ Per Dayaverage costOpen Car Trailer: $2,000-$10,000+high costEnclosed Car Trailer: $6,000-$20,000+
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Sometimes called car carriers or car haulers, car trailers can be open or enclosed. Open trailers have one or two axles; enclosed car trailers typically have two or three axles. Single-axle trailers are typically less expensive, easier to maneuver by hand and have a smaller turning radius, but can be hard to control if a tire goes flat. Dual (also called tandem) or tri-axle trailers typically pull heavier weights, tow more smoothly (less sway), have better traction on uneven roads and are easier to control with a flat tire.

Typical costs:

  • Renting a car trailer can cost $65-$200 or more daily, depending on the size and type (open, enclosed, tandem or tri-axle), and rental length. For example, U-Haul estimates[1] it costs $806 for an eight-day rental of a tandem-axle car trailer from Sacramento, CA, to Chicago, hauling a Toyota Corolla using a one-year-old, one-ton truck. U-Haul has strict requirements for customer-owned tow vehicles, but most rental companies, like Budget Truck Rental[2] and Penske Truck Rental[3] only rent car trailers that will be towed behind their rental truck.
  • Buying an open car trailer can cost $2,000-$10,000 or more, depending on length and type; steel trailers typically cost less than aluminum ones, but are heavier to tow. For example, the 7'x15' tandem-axle Carry-On 7X15SF2BRK Car Hauler Trailer[4] with a steel floor, slide-in ramps, one brake set and a break-away kit (to stop a runaway trailer) sells for $2,295-$3,090. An aluminum Featherlite 3110 Car Trailer[5] costs about $5,000-$6,000 new for the 14' model and $7,200-$8,500 for the 22' version.
  • Enclosed car trailers sell for $6,000-$20,000 or more, depending on size, capacity, type of hitch (bumper pull or gooseneck) and materials. Options include special tow mirrors, rear stabilizer jacks (to load or unload while the trailer is unhooked from the tow vehicle), interior lights, ratchet-type tie-down straps, a winch or vents (to reduce heat buildup). The aluminum-skin Haulmark 24' Edge Pro Series Car Trailer[6] starts at about $15,000-$16,000 or more new, depending on the options chosen.
  • Prices for used car trailers vary significantly depending on the age, type, size and condition. A 1-year-old car trailer in good condition might sell for 15%-20% less than its original purchase price; at 5 years old it might be 40%-60% less.
Related articles: Enclosed Trailer, Cargo Trailer, Towing a Car, Trailer Hitch, Towing Equipment

What should be included:
  • Most trailers come with D-rings for securing tie-down straps. Included equipment varies significantly by manufacturer. A spare tire may be optional equipment for one brand but part of another's standard package. Other necessary items that might not be included are break-away controls and safety chains.
  • Open car trailers are typically lighter and easier to maneuver than enclosed models, making towing easier and giving better fuel mileage. However, an enclosed unit protects the towed vehicle better, and is more secure when parked overnight.
Additional costs:
  • Car trailers use two main styles of hitches, a receiver ball mounted on the rear of the tow vehicle or a gooseneck hitch. If the tow vehicle doesn't already have a trailer hitch, it can cost $100 -$850 to add a rear-mounted receiver ball or $400 -$800 for a gooseneck hitch.
  • Insurance costs and requirements vary. In some areas a trailer is automatically covered for liability (damages to others) under the tow vehicle's policy when the trailer is hitched to the tow vehicle, but it costs extra to add comprehensive coverage (damage to the trailer such as fire or theft).
  • Trailer tires are often non-standard sizes, so prices vary significantly, and in some areas trailer tires are difficult to replace.
  • Parking a trailer at an outdoor storage facility can cost $20-$100 a month.
  • For those with strong mechanical skills, Circle Track magazine explains how to build a simple race car trailer[7] for $300 plus the cost of wheels.
  • Less expensive do-it-yourself towing options include a tow dolly, which raises only the front wheels of the towed vehicle off the ground, or a tow bar, with all of the towed vehicle's wheels riding on the ground.
Shopping for a car trailer:
  • explains how to calculate the total towing capacity[8] .
  • provides guidelines[9] for buying a car trailer, including choosing either an open or enclosed trailer, and offers detailed and illustrated tips[10] for selecting a car trailer for an off-road vehicle. These apply to both new and used car trailers.
  • Used car trailers are often posted on craigslist[11] or eBay[12] .
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