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The Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Enclosed Trailer Axles

August 26, 2020 /
race car trailer

Single axle, tandem axle, torsion axles, oh my? Truth is, we receive a lot of questions from our customers concerning enclosed trailer axles. That’s because this component really defines how much of a load your new trailer can safely carry. So, in today’s spotlight series, we sat down with our trailer pros and decided to focus and expand on the top 10 questions we’ve received about enclosed trailer axles.

10. Are trailer axles meant to be bent?

You may have noticed that many trailer axles you’re looking at have a slight bow in them. Don’t fret, this isn’t the manufacturer getting sloppy and putting out deformed trailers. Rather, this is an engineering marvel that is very much meant to be there. Trailer axles will typically have this bow in order to provide a means for compensating the load they’re taking on. The bending helps them deflect the load down and out which will help maintain the proper camber in the trailer’s wheels. 

Camber is the angle of the wheels and when it isn’t calibrated correctly, can lead to uneven tread wear. Think of it this way, if you have two wheels connected with a board and then load up that board with a ton of weight in the middle, the board would tend to sag and then pull the wheels down towards it. These wheels would then be out of camber. So instead of a design flaw, the bend in your trailer axle is very much an intended design feature and will ensure your trailer can handle the load it’s specified for.

9. Is a torsion axle superior to a leaf spring?

This depends on the application you are looking for with your trailer as each of these offers their own unique benefits. Torsion axles are actually mounted to the trailer’s frame which adds durability. Torsion axles use long rubber cords within the axle itself, which also help to absorb force. This makes them generally less noisy and provide a smoother ride than a leaf spring. The design of a torsion axle makes them virtually maintenance free beyond greasing the wheel bearing from time to time. 

Torsion axles also offer great corrosion resistance and are therefore better used when water or salt spray may be encountered. With better shock absorption, they’re also a better bet for bumpy and uneven terrain or where a lot of vibrations may be present as perhaps with a commercial wood chipper operation. On the minus side, torsion axle repairs can be really difficult and can require cutting the axle itself.

Leaf springs are the more common type of trailer axles because they are less expensive than a torsion axle and are far easier to maintain or replace. Selecting the best between the two depends on where and how you intend to put your trailer to use. Talking to our expert trailer pros can help you understand which option would work best for your situation.

8. Are all trailer axles straight?

Nope. As we explained above, a slight bow in your trailer axle is desired to help deflect the weight of the vertical load over it. This helps keep the wheels in the proper camber to avoid uneven tread wear.

7. What is the average lifespan of a trailer axle?

This varies greatly depending on where and how the trailer is driven. If your enclosed trailer axles are being subjected to extreme temperature swings, water, or salt spray, these variables are especially harsh and can all affect various components within the axle and shorten their respective lifespans. 

Preventative maintenance like proper lubrication can dramatically improve how long your components last. That being said, the lifespan for a leaf spring is generally around 10-15 years and a torsion axle is around 15-20 years. 

6. How do I know what my trailer axles are rated for?

Generally, you can find the weight rating on an enclosed trailer axle by locating where the VIN number is displayed. This can be a plate or sticker which should list both the VIN and the weight rating for your trailer’s axles. If you’re having trouble locating this, you can also do a little measuring to find a general capacity number based on the axle’s diameter. For example, a 1,000 to 2,000-pound axle will usually run around 1.5” to 1.75” in diameter. 

As always, when in doubt, give our experts a shout. Overloading your axles can have some really negative effects on the axles and other vital components.

5. How can I tell which axle my trailer has?

If you’re looking over your axle, you should see a sign, placard, or even a stamping into the axle itself that will help you ID your trailer’s axle-type. If you can’t find anything, you can look elsewhere on the axle or trailer. First up, is your trailer’s weight rating. For example, if your trailer is weight-rated to 7,000 lbs and you have a tandem axle trailer, it’s a safe bet to assume you have two, 3500-lb axles. Other parts around the axle like the bearings and seals may also have industry standard numbers, or ISNs, that can help narrow your search and aid in finding replacement parts. 

4. What are the different types of trailer axles available?

In the wide world, there are many different types of trailer axles, used for different purposes and applications. You’ll see coil spring axles, leaf spring axles, trailing arm axles, rubber compression axles, and torsion axles out there. However, by far the two most commonly used trailer axles used today are drop leaf spring and torsion. 

Drop Leaf Spring Axles – this is the most commonly used axle as it is generally cheaper and easier to work on than a torsion axle. Leaf spring axles have a flat stack of springs that are placed underneath the axle. This helps stabilize the load and distribute the weight of the cargo. Attached components like springs are done so individually which means they can be easily taken on and off when they need to be maintained or replaced. 

Torsion Axles – use long, dense rubber cords as opposed to steel springs.The rubber cords run inside a square tube which surrounds an inner piece and is attached to the torsion arms. The lack of metal-to-metal contact means torsion axles offer quieter, smoother rides than that of a leaf spring. These axles require little maintenance but if a repair is ever needed, it can require cutting into the axle itself.

3. Should a trailer axle bow up or down?

The trailer axle should bow up slightly when it is unloaded. After you load up the enclosed trailer, you’ll notice the axle straightens out. As we mentioned above, this helps maintain the correct camber for the wheels, which helps distribute the load evenly and avoids excessive or uneven tread wear on the trailer’s tires. If you trailer axles are bowing downward, this can mean the trailer axles have been overloaded and may even need to be replaced. 

2. What are the best trailer axles on the market today?

Trailer axles range anywhere from being able to carry 400 pounds to 25,000 pounds. Simply put, there is a great diversity of trailer axles available. Our manufacturers use the very best components in their trailers so you can be sure the axles you are getting are quality-made and can stand up to the loads they’ve been rated for. 

1. Which enclosed cargo trailer axles do I need?

When looking over your options, you’ll notice Renown carries single axles, tandem axles, and a triple torsion axle option for our 38’ and above Gooseneck Trailers. Which type of axle is best for your enclosed cargo trailer depends on how you want to use your trailer as each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. 

Our smallest trailer size is a 6×12 single axle. This is a very popular model because it gives you a great amount of space to secure all your gear but is still small enough to be maneuverable and is also the most inexpensive model available. The 6×12 single axle has one 3500lb-rated drop leaf spring axle. Contrary to what you may think, the 6x12SA actually has a higher payload capacity than a 7x14SA. With a higher empty weight and trailer tongue weight, the 7x14SA simply has less weight to spare for payload capacity. 

For deciding between torsion or spring, consider again your load. For goosenecks, we include torsion axles to give a smoother ride for carrying livestock or a lot of equipment long distance. The 8.5×16 tandem axle employs two 3500-lb drop leaf spring axles with electric brakes on both axles to assist in controlling stops.

Finding the Best Enclosed Trailer Axles for Your Cargo Hauler

For finding the right trailer for the right price, look no further than Renown. You can browse our huge selection, get financed, check out, and even have your trailer delivered, all online. Contact our team now.

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