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Car Haulers vs Utility Trailers

Published on
1/17/2024
Snow-covered utility trailer

If you own a trailer and are looking into a driving career or a side gig, hotshot trucking may be a good fit. Before you start, you should know which trailer you need or what you can do with the one you already have.

Here is a guide of the differences between two common types of trailers and what you should know about yours. 

Car Haulers Can Usually Handle More Weight 

First and foremost, you need to know the hauling capacity of your trailer. This will determine how much weight you can haul, and therefore what kind of jobs you can take. Hauling something larger than what your truck and trailer can handle can lead to damage on the trailer, truck, and cargo, and cause potentially serious injury.

Car haulers are built to carry the weight of a several ton vehicle. On average, they can haul around 7,100 pounds, which is still well within the towing capacity range of most consumer pickup trucks. Car haulers always use a heavy-duty A-frame tongue, and are built to be sturdier.

Utility trailers generally have a much lower towing capacity than car haulers. The most common utility trailers can hold around 1,800 pounds. They shouldn’t be your first choice for moving large vehicles, but can handle a motorcycle or two, or a recreational vehicle like an ATV.

However, there are some utility trailers that can do much more. Some large flatbed utility trailers can carry as high as 10,000 pounds, and sometimes more. It all depends on the size of the trailer and its construction. 

Utility Trailers Have Railings

Utility trailers come equipped with railings so that nothing falls off the sides or back. These railings allow someone to haul a load of small items such as multiple pieces of furniture or lumber. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in equipment like tie-downs to secure your cargo

Car haulers have stake pockets where you can add railings, but most people don’t use them when transporting vehicles. Railings can get in the way of opening doors or securing the vehicle to the trailer.

Car Haulers Have Built-in Ramps

Because car haulers are made to transport vehicles, they have built-in low-profile ramps to drive the vehicle onto the trailer.

Utility trailers are not typically used for hauling vehicles, so ramps are not usually necessary. However, you can get detachable ramps to use on your utility trailer. They can be useful when loading heavy cargo or using dollies.

Can You Use Car Haulers for Utility Hauling?

Yes, you sure can! 

If you want to utilize the ramps, the higher payload capacity, or if that’s just what you already own, you can use car haulers like a utility trailer. You may want to utilize those optional railings, or spend extra care securing the load.

Can You Use a Utility Trailer to Transport a Vehicle?

The answer to this one is not as straightforward. You can use a utility trailer to transport a vehicle depending on the utility trailer. Only high capacity trailers can handle the weight of a commercial vehicle.

If you can’t get your hands on a car trailer, and your utility trailer is large enough to do the job and you have ramps, there is no reason not to use it.

No Matter What You Can Haul, Open Road Has a Job For You

Even if all you have is a truck and a small utility trailer, you can still be a hotshot trucker through Open Road. Only pick-up jobs according to your schedule, and get paid just for driving

With the Open Road app, sign up is simple, and picking up jobs is even easier. Questions? Ready to start driving? Reach out today

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