The first consideration in buying accessories for a trailer is safety. As tempting as it may be to give your trailer that fresh paint job, there's no point in painting it if it isn't safe to tow. Here are some things you can buy that will make your trailer safer:
Trailer lights. Lights on the outside of your trailer make it easier to see. Lights inside the trailer make it easier for you to find things. Trailer lights come in many varieties. There are side marker lights, to help drivers avoid you in the dark; reflectors, which do the same job a bit more economically; interior lights, so you don't have to carry a flashlight when you check out your cargo; replacement taillights and backup lights; and utility lights that can be placed inside or outside the trailer.
- Tire pressure monitors. If one of the tires on your trailer starts losing pressure, you might not know about it until it's too late. A tire pressure monitor helps you watch changes in the pressure of all your trailer's tires from the comfort of the tow vehicle's cabin. Other monitors are available to signal failures in brake lights, changes in tire temperature and problems with the trailer's batteries.
- Tie-down straps. These help you secure your cargo safely so it doesn't fly around the trailer. Types of strap include nylon straps, chains and bungee cords. You can also buy hooks to serve as anchors for the straps, if these aren't already available in the trailer.
- Wheel chocks. If you transport vehicles like motorcycles or tractors, these wedge-shaped blocks fit under their wheels to secure them in place. Most wheel chocks can be removed when you're hauling other cargo.
Once you've made your trailer safer, you can start thinking about making it more useful. Consider some of these accessories:
- Cargo trailer organizers. These let you keep your special items in special places so you can find them when you need them. Available organizers include racks designed to hold items as varied as gas cans, hedge trimmers and beverage coolers. Tool racks are also available. Or consider buying a shelf kit for constructing shelves on the trailer's interior walls.
- Toolboxes. What's a trailer without a toolbox? Toolboxes are available in a wide variety of sizes and styles, and many are designed to be secured inside the trailer for easy transport.
- Trailer jacks. These heavy-duty jacks are designed to handle the weight of a trailer and even have their own accessories available, including replacement handles and feet.
- Spare tire covers. Spare tire covers aren't just pretty. They protect the tire so that it's always ready when you need it.
Those are just a few ideas for utility trailer accessories that are both safe and useful. On the next page, we'll give you some links to Web sites where you can do some accessory shopping of your own. (It's OK to just window shop.)