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What Is a Single Axle Trailer?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

A single axle trailer is a towing unit that is pulled behind a vehicle, used to haul items from one location to another. This trailer features a single axle, to which two wheels are connected to allow the trailer to roll forward. The single axle trailer is often rated to haul only a certain amount of weight; beyond that weight, a larger, dual axle trailer will be necessary. The trailer is connected to a truck or SUV in most cases, though some cars can also haul smaller versions of the trailer.

The method by which a single axle trailer is attached to a truck or SUV involves connecting the trailer's hitch to a hitch receiver mounted on the vehicle. The hitch receiver's hauling capacity as well as the size of the vehicle will dictate how large of a trailer can be hauled. Chains are also connected between the trailer and the hitch as a back-up security system should the hitch system fail. In order for the single axle trailer to be considered street legal, it must be equipped with brake lights that will activate in sync with the vehicle's brake lights; the axle, wheels, and tires must also be of a certain size in most cases to be operated safely on the road. The frame of the trailer itself must be built straight and solidly to prevent a loss of control on the roadways.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Like other types of trailers, the single axle trailer design can vary. Some trailers are enclosed, protecting the contents from exposure to the elements as well as from theft or other types of damage. Other trailers are open-air designs, and the back gate of these trailers can often be lowered to create a ramp for loading or unloading. These trailers are popular among sportsmen hauling ATVs or motorcycles, as well as professionals hauling heavy equipment such as industrial lawn mowers.

Some single axle trailer designs are meant for specific purposes. A car hauler, for example, is a short, single axle design that allows a car or truck to be secured to the trailer unit and hauled by another vehicle. Other single axle trailers may be designed specifically to haul small boats, jet skis, motorcycles, ATVs, and so on. These designs can also often be either open-air or enclosed trailer designs depending on the user's needs. The size of the trailers will be limited, however, and some of these specialty trailers may require two or more axles, depending on the size of the items being hauled.

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