13 Questions To Ask Before You Buy An Enclosed Cargo Trailer!

Thinking about investing in a new trailer? We can help! Enclosed trailers are an excellent choice for a wide range of applications, from hauling building supplies to transporting motorcycles. Whether you go for top-of-the-line or cheap, enclosed trailers all have a similar configuration with a variety of different factors to consider. In this guide, we’re going over important things like material (steel or aluminum), skin thickness, nose type, roof type, and more to help you decide on the best option.

At Leonard, there’s an enclosed trailer for sale in our selection that suits your specific needs. In order to help match you with the right one, be sure to reference the list of questions below. They will help you get answers to the most fundamental trailer questions so you know it’s a good fit. From there, you can read enclosed trailer reviews and decide on the best cargo trailer brand for your budget and application. Trailers by Leonard are made in the U.S. with top-quality materials, so they’re always an excellent choice for personal and commercial use.

1. Steel or Aluminum: Weighing Your Options

When choosing between steel and aluminum for your enclosed cargo trailer, it's essential to consider both cost and performance. Steel trailers are generally more affordable than aluminum ones. However, the weight difference between steel and aluminum can vary depending on the trailer's design and manufacturer. Aluminum is celebrated for its resistance to rust, which is a significant advantage. On the other hand, a well-coated steel trailer can be just as enduring. Steel does have a tendency to be heavier, which could impact fuel efficiency and towing requirements.

Aluminum trailers require regular maintenance to retain their appearance and need to be inspected for cracks due to their composition. Steel trailers, while potentially prone to rust, can be more resilient to cracks. Your choice will largely depend on your budget, the intended use of the trailer, and your willingness to maintain it.

2. Outer Skin Thickness: More Than Just Aesthetic

The thickness of the outer skin on an enclosed cargo trailer plays a crucial role in its durability and performance. Most manufacturers offer a range from entry-level products to premium lines, with skin thickness being a key differentiator. Entry-level trailers often have thinner skins, making them more suitable for casual or light use. In contrast, premium trailers feature thicker skins that can withstand more rigorous demands and frequent use.

A thicker skin is especially beneficial for trailers in darker colors, as they are more susceptible to warping due to heat exposure. The general rule is: the thicker the skin, the higher the durability and resistance to temperature-induced warping. When selecting a trailer, consider how often and in what conditions it will be used to determine the appropriate skin thickness.

3.Floor Cross Members' Support: Ensuring Stability and Strength

Floor cross members are critical in providing the structural support needed for the loads your trailer will carry. The industry standard for these supports is 24 inches on center, which is adequate for most general purposes. However, if you're planning to transport heavier equipment like zero-turn lawnmowers or scissor lifts, upgrading to a 16-inch or even a 12-inch on-center configuration can provide much-needed additional support.

The material and build of these supports are also important. For instance, a 2"x3" tube used in a 12” on-center setting offers significantly more stability and weight-bearing capacity than the standard configuration. Upgrading the floor to a double-thick layer or adding diamond plate reinforcement can further enhance the trailer's ability to handle heavy loads safely.

4. Choosing the Right Axle: Leaf Spring or Torsion?

The choice between a leaf spring and a torsion axle for your enclosed cargo trailer hinges on your preference for ride quality and maintenance considerations.

EZ Lube Spring Idler

Leaf spring axles are typically more affordable and offer a smoother ride when the trailer is empty. They are also known for their simplicity in terms of repair and replacement. However, they usually result in a slightly higher ride height, which might affect handling and fuel efficiency.


  • Cheaper
  • Rides Smoother Empty
  • Easier to repair or replace


  • Slightly Higher ride height

Torsion Axle

Torsion axles, on the other hand, are valued for their smoother ride quality when loaded. They offer independent tire and wheel movement, which can be beneficial for uneven terrains and heavy loads. The downside is the higher cost and a generally lower ride height, which could be a consideration depending on your towing vehicle and the trailer's intended use.


  • Slightly Smoother Loaded Ride Quality
  • Independent Tire/Wheel Movement


  • More Expensive
  • Lower Ride Height

5.Tire Selection: Radial or Bias Ply?

The type of tires you choose for your enclosed cargo trailer can significantly impact its performance and longevity. Radial tires are often recommended for their superior ride quality, durability, and longer lifespan. They are constructed to provide better ground contact, stability, and tread wear, making them a suitable choice for a variety of road conditions and long-distance hauling.

Bias ply tires, while generally less expensive, do not offer the same level of performance, especially in terms of tread life and fuel efficiency. Given the advantages of radial tires, they are a wise investment for ensuring a safer, more efficient towing experience.

The answer is simple, radial tires.

6.Nose Type: V-Nose or Flat Nose?

The choice between a V-nose and a flat nose for your enclosed cargo trailer often comes down to personal preference and specific use cases. While many believe that a V-nose trailer significantly improves fuel efficiency due to better aerodynamics, the difference is usually marginal. What hurts a trailer with fuel mileage is the flat back. The primary advantage of a V-nose trailer lies in its handling characteristics, offering slightly better mileage and ease of towing.

Flat nose trailers, while potentially less aerodynamic, can provide more internal storage space. This could be a deciding factor if maximizing cargo space is a priority. Ultimately, the decision should be based on your specific needs and preferences regarding handling, space, and aesthetic appeal.

7.Height Considerations: Standard, Lowered, or Extra Tall?

Selecting the right height for your enclosed cargo trailer is essential for balancing cargo capacity and aerodynamic efficiency. A standard height is often sufficient for general purposes, but if you're looking to reduce drag and possibly improve fuel efficiency, a lowered height could be beneficial. This is particularly true if you can match the trailer's height to that of your towing vehicle.

Conversely, an extra tall trailer might be necessary if you're transporting particularly large items or need additional headroom. Keep in mind, though, that a taller trailer can catch more wind and may affect handling and fuel consumption. Consider your typical cargo and towing conditions when making this decision.

We recommend choosing the lowest height. The reason behind that is that you want to minimize drag. The ideal situation is to match the trailer and truck height.

8. Roof Type: Flat or Rounded?

The choice between a flat or rounded roof for your enclosed cargo trailer largely depends on the weather conditions it will face and your space requirements. A flat roof might have a lower interior ceiling, which can be beneficial for reducing overall height and potentially improving fuel efficiency. However, in regions with heavy snowfall, a rounded roof is advantageous as it aids in the natural shedding of snow and reduces the load on the trailer's structure.

In terms of interior space, a rounded roof provides extra headroom, which can be significant if you’re transporting tall items or require more vertical space. Regardless of the roof type you choose, proper maintenance is key to ensuring the long-term integrity and functionality of your trailer.

9. Exterior Finish: Screws or Screwless?

The exterior finish of your enclosed cargo trailer, whether it's assembled with screws or a screwless design, can affect both its appearance and functionality. Screwless exteriors offer a sleek, smooth look and are often easier to wrap with graphics, making them a popular choice for business branding or personal customization. They also tend to have a higher resale value.

On the other hand, trailers with screwed exteriors are generally more affordable and can be easier to repair, as individual panels can be removed and replaced if damaged. Your choice will depend on your budget, aesthetic preferences, and whether you anticipate needing to make repairs.

10. Door Type: Ramp or Barn Door?

The right door type for your enclosed cargo trailer is determined by your loading and unloading needs. If you need to drive equipment into the trailer, such as motorcycles or ATVs, a ramp door is essential. It provides easy access and makes loading large or heavy items a breeze.

Barn doors are more suitable for general cargo loading and are particularly advantageous in tight spaces. Unlike ramp doors, which require additional clearance to open, barn doors can be more convenient in crowded venues like flea markets or festivals. Consider your typical usage scenarios to decide which door type best suits your needs.

11. Do I need to upgrade my driver’s license?

Before purchasing an enclosed cargo trailer, it's important to check whether you need to upgrade your driver's license. In some states, towing a trailer with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) over a certain threshold (often 2601 lbs) requires a special endorsement or a different class of driver’s license. Failing to comply with these regulations can lead to fines and other legal complications, so it's crucial to be informed about the laws in your state and any others you plan to travel through.

12. Do I need to upgrade my vehicle registration?

The type of vehicle you plan to use for towing the enclosed cargo trailer might affect your vehicle registration requirements. Especially if you own a diesel truck, the trailer's GVWR could necessitate an upgrade in your registration due to the combined weight of the vehicle and the trailer. Similarly, different models of trucks, like an F250, might have varying capabilities and legal requirements for towing. Always consult your vehicle’s manual and local laws to ensure compliance and safety when towing.

13. Do you need expert help?

If you need help, you have three options. You can stop by your local store, email or call. We would be happy to answer any of your questions.

ATP = aluminum tread plate (aka aluminum diamond plate)

SA = single axle trailer

TA2 = tandem axle trailer (2 axles x 3,500lb capacity = 7,000GVW)

GVW = gross vehicle weight (empty weight of the trailer and carg0 the trailer can haul together)

on center = distance from one support to the next (floor, wall, & ceiling)

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