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Old 09-01-2011, 03:52 PM   #1
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Default Trailer crew, help me make decisions

I'm getting very close to buying a van. I need to get a trailer, and I live in an apartment so I'll need a place to store the trailer. Here we go with the facts:

Fees:
Trailer storage is no cheaper than $45/month
$50 annual registration
~$300 Title fees
bullshit maintenence
So we're looking at $600 in annual expenses.

Renting a trailer is $25/day.
I'll probably need 4-days if I leave on Friday, and return on Sunday to return on Monday morning.

If I use the tire trailer for local events, then I'll only use the van and trailer for over-night stuff.
I plan to attend:
MSR-H
College Station
HHR
Hallett
Hallett
HHR
College Station
NOLA

So, that's roughly $800 before tax to rent the trailer from Penske. What do you guys think about all this nonsense?
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:02 PM   #2
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Think of it as paying $100/year for someone else to do maintenance on a trailer for you. (w/maintenance, it's really $700/year if you do all the work involved and not $600 to own).

Is it worth $100 a year to you to have someone else do all maintenance/et al for you?

(Edit: Hint, if your answer is no, your free time isn't worth very much to you.)
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:09 PM   #3
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The real motivating factor is here is the rental place is about 1000' from my apartment and the storage place is 8-miles, lol.
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:10 PM   #4
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Where do you pay $25 a day to rent a trailer? I know every time I have rented one from U-Haul it is $55 a day.
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:10 PM   #5
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Personal opinion:

I've used Penske's 4-wheel car carriers to haul my vehicles across the country several times. They are big and very heavy, but quite nice.

Minuses: you probably won't be able to open the door of your Miata while it's on the trailer, as it won't clear the left fender. I've learned over the years to carry some pieces of wood which I park the Miata on top of in order to raise it up. Also, they don't really "maintain" the trailers as such- I've never gotten one with working brakes.
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:11 PM   #6
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What does your insurance say about coverage of a trailer you own vice rent... could be added expense either way... might swing the vote though.
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shuiend View Post
Where do you pay $25 a day to rent a trailer? I know every time I have rented one from U-Haul it is $55 a day.
Penske. I agree that it sounded really low. I may need to call another location and confirm. If a car hauler is $25 per day, is a tow-dolly free?
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:13 PM   #8
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What does your insurance say about coverage of a trailer you own vice rent... could be added expense either way... might swing the vote though.
I don't think we have to insure trailers in Texas.
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Personal opinion:

I've used Penske's 4-wheel car carriers to haul my vehicles across the country several times. They are big and very heavy, but quite nice.

Minuses: you probably won't be able to open the door of your Miata while it's on the trailer, as it won't clear the left fender. I've learned over the years to carry some pieces of wood which I park the Miata on top of in order to raise it up. Also, they don't really "maintain" the trailers as such- I've never gotten one with working brakes.
What are the chances that I'll get my car up the ramps...when it's low enough to tuck tire in the front.

The real pain here is that I'm giving away $600/year in storage fees just to own the god damned thing.
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:16 PM   #10
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Find a place to store the trailer that doesn't involve paying $45/mo. Mine sits on the street half a block from the shop.

Texas really rapes you on licensing fees. In CA, trailer fees are $38 for the plates plus $10 every 5 years.
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Also, they don't really "maintain" the trailers as such- I've never gotten one with working brakes.
+1 Some of the most white knuckle driving I've ever done was hauling my 4Runner on a trailer behind a loaded moving truck. I don't know how much of a surge is required to activate surge brakes, but it was certainly beyond the range of sphincter pucker.

The main issue is the storage fees. Can you not leave it parked on a public street somewhere near your house/apt.? I see a few street parked around here that never seem to move, though I admit I don't know if it's legal. Just leave a sawed-off hitch ball locked into the trailer so someone can't just hook up and drive off with it.
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:31 PM   #12
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or find someone with space and allow them to use it on occasion. tell them you will need it every weekend.
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:38 PM   #13
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You are getting to the point now that you should really consider the investment of a trailer.

I would be willing to bet that your track time will increase over the years, and you can also trailer your car for dyno work or other services you may encounter.
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Old 09-01-2011, 05:01 PM   #14
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It's kind of bothering me to realize that it's going to cost me about $1200 per year just to own a van and trailer, before I drive them around and floss.
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Old 09-01-2011, 05:04 PM   #15
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Just wait until the first fuel stop.
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Old 09-01-2011, 05:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottFW View Post
Just leave a sawed-off hitch ball locked into the trailer so someone can't just hook up and drive off with it.
Won't stop a thief. They usually just hook the safety chains up and go--they don't even deal with the coupler. Makes you feel safe sharing the roads with them, right?

You can take a few measures to prevent trailer theft, but at the end of the day, if someone wants to steal it they will. Insurance is cheap. My trailer is insured for $5k comp/collision at $100/year. Liability is on the tow vehicle when coupled.

My trailer is boss, but I am lucky enough to be able to leave it in a secured area, behind a fence and a lock. If I didn't have a place to store such a large trailer, I'd have a 14' single axle that fit in the garage, and would store the car on it.
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Old 09-01-2011, 05:21 PM   #17
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Miatas fit on 14' Trailors? How small of a trailor will they fit on?
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Old 09-01-2011, 05:22 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottFW View Post
+1 Some of the most white knuckle driving I've ever done was hauling my 4Runner on a trailer behind a loaded moving truck. I don't know how much of a surge is required to activate surge brakes, but it was certainly beyond the range of sphincter pucker.
Try driving one through Vail pass, at night, in January, in a snowstorm.

I didn't really think that one through ahead of time...



Quote:
Originally Posted by hustler View Post
What are the chances that I'll get my car up the ramps...when it's low enough to tuck tire in the front.
The ramps are quite long, and the bed isn't all that high, so I wouldn't think that getting onto and off of the trailer would be a major problem. It's easy enough to drive down to your local Penske shop and try it out.

One interesting design feature about the trailers I just remembered is that when you're loading and unloading the car, there's nothing supporting the back of the trailer, so as you drive the car onto the trailer, it tries to see-saw on the axles and pick up the back of your tow vehicle by the ball. Hardly noticeable on a 16' box truck, but it might be interesting on something lighter-weight.
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Old 09-01-2011, 05:36 PM   #19
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Move to Houston and store your trailer at my shop for free. Problem solved.

If you could really rent the trailer for that much and you know you will always be able to, then that would be my route. You will have a fixed cost with it and little to no variable cost. I do agree that they do not maintain their trailers worth a crap, but you can give it a good once over before you get it to make sure it is road worthy.

Eventually, if I were you, I would buy a trailer when I knew I was going to be in one spot for a while or knew you were going to at least have space for it wherever you go. My single car stays at the house with the bus and the two car is locked up at the shop. Having all your crap easily accessible is awesome, but having too much to have to pay to go store it somewhere else can be stressful and a pain in the ***.
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Old 09-01-2011, 05:40 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
One interesting design feature about the trailers I just remembered is that when you're loading and unloading the car, there's nothing supporting the back of the trailer, so as you drive the car onto the trailer, it tries to see-saw on the axles and pick up the back of your tow vehicle by the ball. Hardly noticeable on a 16' box truck, but it might be interesting on something lighter-weight.
Mine actually plants the rear of the trailer into the ground when loading (the bed tilts), but on most you can add small leveling jacks on the rear sides of a trailer to help with loading. They can also enable loading without the need for a coupled tow vehicle.
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