8" Trailer Wheel Question

I’ll be travelling roughly a 1000 miles this summer for a vacation. Because I have a small car (Subaru Impreza sedan) and 4 people total riding in it I’ll need some extra room. What I am considering is pulling a small trailer (40"x48") with 8" wheels.

My question is would you trust those little wheels on the highway for that long? I do intend to have a spare and to replace and pack the bearings before the trip.

P.S. I am also considering putting my 450lb motorcycle on the trailer too. What the hell, right? :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance!

4 people AND a trailer…NOT going to happen…

Rent a van…you’ll be far better off.

Those small trailer tires are inflated to 50 lbs as a rule. Make sure the tires are in good condition, and the pressure is kept up. I towed a trailer for many years, and never had a flat, but after 15 years replaced all tires because of ozone dmage. These tires often have TUBES. Make sure the lug nuts are tightened to spec, and don’t drive too fast.

I am, however, worried about your car. You are likely going to exceed the maximum gross weight with all the things you are planning. So do not overload the car or the trailer. Check the manuals of both.

These small trailers do not have brakes, so your car’s brakes will be working very hard. If you are travelling in the mountains, make sure to gear down 2 speeds when descending steep slopes or going up those switchbacks.

I would not take the motorcycle; it will be a pain in the neck. Instead. you can pack a couple of folding bicycles, weighing about 35-40 lbs each. That will give you some exercise in the process.

I have seen numerous trailer/car combinations stuck by the road side over the years. Usual causes were blown tires on the trailers, overheated car, car’s automatic failed due to no cooler installed and no maintenance done.

These trips require careful planning but can be done trouble-free with all precautions taken.

Bon Voyage!

Better check the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating for your Impreza.

The total weight of four people, a trailer, and the stuff on the trailer may exceed the GRWR, in which case, towing the trailer would be dangerous.

You may need a larger vehicle.

In addition to checking the Imprezza’s GVW rating and reading the owner’s manual for towing recommendations, I’'d suggest checking the tire sidewalls for maximum speed and load ratings. I’ll bet my morning muffins that the tires are not rated for highway speeds.

My recommendation would be to either rent something proper for you needs, perhaps an SUV or larger station wagon or take two vehicles, and put the luggage in the vehicle(s). Either option will be much cheaper than destroying the Subie and much, much safer than what you’re planning.

I think you are going to find that they allow zero towing with that car. If not though, I always carried a spare hub in addition to the tire and wheel. They are very cheap and should be pre-greased and ready to go when a bearing goes out.

I have used a lightweight folding 4’ x 8’ trailer with 8" tires for many years; have used it for thousands of miles to haul many loads of lumber to a building site about 100 miles away. I suspect that some of those loads may have been 600 or 700 lbs. The car used was a compact 2.0 liter and suffered no ill effects from pulling the trailer at normal highway speeds, keeping up with traffic. After the lumber hauling was finished I used the trailer to haul numerous loads of sand for a distance of several miles. Some of these loads were close to 2000 lbs. One time I had 2100 lbs of gravel on the trailer and it blew a tire. The axle would slowly become more bent and for that I would tip the lightweight trailer upside down and jump on the rear axle to straighten it.

I have also used it to haul a 500 lb motorcycle 200 miles round trip. For that I installed eyebolts on either side of the MC tires and used rope to secure the tires. A block of wood kept the bike from rolling and ratchet straps to the handlebars and rear shocks kept the bike upright.

One day more people will come to the realization that you don’t need to own a pickup to haul occasional loads. The trailer’s bed is much lower than a pickup’s for easier loading and you can pass the trailer along from one car to the next. Extending it past the front and rear, I have hauled 18 foot long lumber. I don’t believe that a pickup can do that.

Trailer towing always compromises your car’s ability to go, turn and stop but this can be managed if you keep a wary eye on traffic.

What does your owner’s manual say about towing?

If it doesn’t list a towing capacity, don’t tow with it. Get a roof rack instead, and leave the motorcycle at home.

Well, I don’t mean to be overly harsh, but there’s no other way to put this that gets the point across:

Just because you did something stupid and got away with it doesn’t mean the next guy will be so lucky. A compact car hauling 2,100lbs is moronic. Beyond the massive stress to the car, it’s a safety hazard for you and everyone else on the road. The fact that you were overloading the trailer to the point of bending the axle should have given you that clue.

Can the OP do it? Yeah, probably, for a few miles anyway. Should he? Most likely not.

WW, you got one thing right. You don’t need a truck to haul a trailer. Many minivans and large V6 and V8 sedans also do a pretty good job of towing, especially old police cruisers.

Yes, towing a trailer always compromises a car’s abilities, but it compromises some of them beyond their design limits, which is not safe.

I once jumped off a 25 foot balcony when I was a kid and managed to not hurt myself. That doesn’t mean it was a good idea. Following your logic, I should be able to do it again and escape harm.

Not towing if the owner’s manual does not permit it is, of course, the safe answer. Any car can tow something. If you don’t believe that then you will not believe that people with motorcycles pull trailers.

For Mr. shadowfax, I neglected to say that I towed 2100 lbs for only a few miles in a very rural area. Need I say that traffic was light? Sometimes it is possible be able to manage an occasional risk and not permit legal and other nannies to run your life.

You’re correct, Wha Who?, any car can tow something for a short distance on rural roads with limited traffic, but the OP is talking about driving 1,000 miles at highway speeds with a fully loaded Impreza and a fully loaded trailer.

Not a good idea, IMHO.

Braking would be my major concern. Seems like an accident waiting to happen.

We all need to note the fact that the OP has not returned, or at least has not posted, so we’re just talking among ourselves, as so often happens.

Quote: “Yes, towing a trailer always compromises a car’s abilities, but it compromises some of them beyond their design limits, which is not safe.” Unquote

You have stated the obvious in a general way regarding a car’s abilities but nothing that can be useful unless you proceed to provide an example from your own experience to help the OP formulate some judgement. The fearmongering is not necessary.

So let me get this straight. I have to actually jump off a cliff and die before I can be useful in telling someone not to jump off a cliff?

YOUR example is all we need. You bent your freakin’ axle, man! You think jumping up and down on a trailer axle to re-shape it after you bent it by loading it up with over a ton of sand is a proper maintenance procedure! Anyone who says that as matter-of-factly as you did is not someone who should be listened to regarding towing advice. Ever.

I still recommend staying within the limitations set by the owner’s manual and by the specific trailor tires. Fried trannys are expensive, accidents are dangerous, and a tire suddenly blowing at highway speed on a trailor being towed behind a car that shouldn’t have been towing it to begin with can cause an accident.

There’s more than just the ability of the engine in play here, there’s also the ability of the drivetrain to withstand the load and the ability to safely brake as well as the stability of the tow vehicle. Jackknifes happen. The “tail wagging the dog” syndrom is real. More than once I’ve seen a trailor wagging a vehicle.

I strongly recommend to the OP as well as to anyone considering pulling a trailor that they be sure they’re within design limitations and towing safely. Even if others choose not to.

Renting a van(mini or full size) is your best choice here, find one that’ll allow out of state travel

Trailer towing always compromises your car’s ability to go, turn and stop but this can be managed if you keep a wary eye on traffic.

You cannot change the laws of physics by keeping a wary eye on traffic.

thanantos, this is terrible advice from “Wha_Who”, and I hope you are smart enough to ignore it.