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Trailer purchase advice needed – inspecting and registering (Calif)

 
Old 07-06-2017, 02:55 PM
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pvgolfer
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Default Trailer purchase advice needed – inspecting and registering (Calif)

I’ve purchased VEHICLES from out of state before and am familiar with PPI and California registration. Now I’m considering purchasing a used open TRAILER from out of state and need some advice:

1) Is there any type of trailer pre-purchase inspection that I can ask for, or do myself?
2) What things do I look for?:
i. Check for loose welds/bolts, cracks, dents, corrosion
ii. Wheel bearings – jack the trailer up, spin wheels, check for play in the wheel bearings by rocking wheel side-to-side and top-to-bottom?
iii. Check tires – dates codes, wear patterns, tread depth
iv. Electric – verify signals, brake lights work when harness is connected
v. Brakes – how do I inspect surge or electrical brakes?
vi. Ask for service/maintenance records
3) Is the California registration process for a trailer the same as vehicle registration?

Thanks in advance for your advice.
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Old 07-06-2017, 03:13 PM
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re: reg in CA. you will need to take it to DMV/CHP to get the VIN verified. no emissions, so you don't smog. other than that, it's simple
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Old 07-06-2017, 03:41 PM
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Frank 993 C4S
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Unless the trailer is relatively new, I'd have a professional look at it. Companies that sell used trailers and related supplies will do this for you. Maintenance history is key. If there isn't any with a good explanation, assume that no maintenance has ever been done. I would throw away tires that are more than 3 years old. Have somebody check for structural repairs of the frame and axles.
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Old 07-06-2017, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by pvgolfer View Post
I’ve purchased VEHICLES from out of state before and am familiar with PPI and California registration. Now I’m considering purchasing a used open TRAILER from out of state and need some advice:

1) Is there any type of trailer pre-purchase inspection that I can ask for, or do myself?
2) What things do I look for?:
i. Check for loose welds/bolts, cracks, dents, corrosion
ii. Wheel bearings – jack the trailer up, spin wheels, check for play in the wheel bearings by rocking wheel side-to-side and top-to-bottom?
iii. Check tires – dates codes, wear patterns, tread depth
iv. Electric – verify signals, brake lights work when harness is connected
v. Brakes – how do I inspect surge or electrical brakes?
vi. Ask for service/maintenance records
3) Is the California registration process for a trailer the same as vehicle registration?

Thanks in advance for your advice.
Hey! Happy to look at one if local. I have a featherlite open that I love. Got it used and it's been perfect with just basic maintenance.

But you have a really good trailer shop just down the hill from you called wallstrong trailers. They service mine annually. It's all they do is service trailers. I'm sure they'd be willing to inspect one for you.

But, the main things to check if buying a featherlite or trailex:
Tires are newer and not cracking or splitting
Brakes work on all wheels
No damage to the trailer

For registration if you have AAA just go there. They will do it. There is a once every 4 year fee (or something like that ) for permanent trailer. Also get trailer insurance, its cheap, like 50/yr will cover theft and liability.
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Old 07-07-2017, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Frank 993 C4S View Post
Unless the trailer is relatively new, I'd have a professional look at it. Companies that sell used trailers and related supplies will do this for you. Maintenance history is key. If there isn't any with a good explanation, assume that no maintenance has ever been done. I would throw away tires that are more than 3 years old. Have somebody check for structural repairs of the frame and axles.
Unless, like me, you buy a trailer from Frank and don't have to have it inspected because you know he is the most meticulous person out there!
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Old 07-07-2017, 03:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Spyerx View Post
Hey! Happy to look at one if local. I have a featherlite open that I love. Got it used and it's been perfect with just basic maintenance.

But you have a really good trailer shop just down the hill from you called wallstrong trailers. They service mine annually. It's all they do is service trailers. I'm sure they'd be willing to inspect one for you.

But, the main things to check if buying a featherlite or trailex:
Tires are newer and not cracking or splitting
Brakes work on all wheels
No damage to the trailer

For registration if you have AAA just go there. They will do it. There is a once every 4 year fee (or something like that ) for permanent trailer. Also get trailer insurance, its cheap, like 50/yr will cover theft and liability.
Thanks Chris. Great info!
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Old 07-07-2017, 04:24 AM
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Thanks everyone for the advice...

I was initially thinking that I'd be saving $2k-$3k by purchasing a used trailer. However, unless I find one that has up-to-date service records and fresh tires, it may not be much savings after all. I'm guessing that it would cost an additional $1k - $1.5k to service a used trailer (fresh tires, wheel bearings, check brakes, etc)?
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Old 07-07-2017, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by pvgolfer View Post
Thanks everyone for the advice...

I was initially thinking that I'd be saving $2k-$3k by purchasing a used trailer. However, unless I find one that has up-to-date service records and fresh tires, it may not be much savings after all. I'm guessing that it would cost an additional $1k - $1.5k to service a used trailer (fresh tires, wheel bearings, check brakes, etc)?
I think your numbers are way high, both on savings as well as additional expense. A lot will depend on age, steel vs aluminum, annual usage (4-6/yr vs 20+/yr, distance), divorce sale , etc, etc, etc
I.E., on tires it all depends what brand you are willing to accept. I just picked up 4 new Carlisle on the recent discounttiredirect special for $160 after rebate.
You will most likely find that most used trailers are not serviced yearly at shops like cars and have those maintenance/service records (RL is not a good gauge here). Unless you are willing to accept owner kept records since basic maintenance is easy (watch youtube).
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Old 07-07-2017, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by pvgolfer View Post
Thanks everyone for the advice...

I was initially thinking that I'd be saving $2k-$3k by purchasing a used trailer. However, unless I find one that has up-to-date service records and fresh tires, it may not be much savings after all. I'm guessing that it would cost an additional $1k - $1.5k to service a used trailer (fresh tires, wheel bearings, check brakes, etc)?
At Wallstrong my annual maintenance (not including tires which would be about $500 for all 4) is about $200. That includes, full inspection, pull hubs, repack bearings, new seals, adjust bearings, adjust brakes. If it needed bearings or brake shoes that would be more.

You can definitely save $ on a used trailer. I think I saved about $3k on mine, 2.5k if you count the tires I replaced a year later. There are ones out there for sure, but I'd stick with the 'high value' brands here on the west coast for resale, which are Trailex and Featherlite, maybe Jim Glo.
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