Car Hauler vs. Utility Trailer: What’s The Difference?

Car Hauler vs. Utility Trailer: What’s The Difference?

Whether at your supplies store or during a camping trip, utility trailers and car haulers are a common sight. These massive metal contraptions help in transporting equipment of various weights and sizes without ruining the interior of your tow.

Utility Trailer Vs Car Hauler

As such, they ensure convenience and reduced cost of hiring trucks for various tasks. While each is designed for specific purposes, utility trailers and car haulers can perform similar functions with modifications and weight limits.

This article checks the differences between a car hauler and a utility trailer to determine if they can be used interchangeably. However, it is key to note that these differences apply to standard models that haven’t been modified.

Side Railings

As the name suggests, a car hauler is a frame geared to transport vehicles. Unlike their counterparts, car haulers do not have side railings as these compromises the easy opening of car doors.

It is for this reason that various car haulers have a removable fender on the driver’s side.

However, for utility trailers, side railings provide support for bulky items and prevent the dropping of the elements being transported. In some utility trailers, the side railings can be inclined to create more carriage space.

Some utility trailers also have removable railings, which allow for easy loading from the side. However, car haulers include stake pockets, which can be used to mount racks; thus can double as utility trailers.


Owing to their purpose, car haulers are fitted with ramps, which allow for smooth loading of vehicles. This is as opposed to multiple utility trailers.

Some utility trailers have strategies in place which allow for the loading of racecourse buggies and lighter vehicles. In most utility trailers, the ramp is a rack that doubles as a rear gate for carried items.


Although various models vary in size, most car haulers and utility trailers have a sizable space ranging from 16-20 feet in length and 83” width. However, some car haulers can span to 40 feet in length and 90” in width.

Another element that differs among car haulers and utility trailers is the coupler tongue. While utility trailers have various designs, car haulers have a uniform full wrap A-frame tongue that accommodates the high weight of cars without wobbling.


The carrying capacity is dependent on the structure of your frame, the jack, and the axels fitted to your frame.

In-car haulers, tongue rails extend to the axle’s front, thus providing enough support for larger weights. For utility trailers, however, the tongue does not extend past the cross member.

Car haulers feature a 7k drop leg jack with a 5200-pound capacity axel, which yields a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds. This makes for easy carriage of a variety of cars without surpassing the weight limit.

Conversely, utility trailers have a limited set-back jack that accommodates roughly 2000-pound capacity and a 3500-pound axel. As such, utility trailers are limited to a gross vehicle weight rating between 7000 and 8000 pounds.

As such, car haulers are better suited for transporting heavier weights.

Can Car Haulers And Utility Trailers Be Used Interchangeably?

Yes. Car haulers can be used to carry luggage when side guards are installed. Even better, the higher carrying capacity of a car hauler allows for the delivery of larger luggage per round. This reduces the number of trips to and from your store and, in turn, makes for fuel savings.

Although utility trailers can carry race cars, they are limited in weight and compromise the accessibility due to the side railings.

Factors To Consider When Buying A Car Hauler Or Utility Trailer

Car Hauler Vs Utility Trailer


When selecting your trailer, consider whether you want a closed or open frame. While an open structure allows for carrying slightly larger loads, closed frames ensure safe carriage of goods in rainy seasons.


Hauling huge luggage on your tow may prove hectic. Besides, maneuvering tight corners is the hassle to handle various terrains while planning for your trailer.

For this, it is essential to have a quality braking system installed on your trailer. While a single-axel electric braking system is enough for many, various states have different regulations. As such, consult with authorities to determine whether you need a single-axel system or a double-axel braking system.


While the car hauler won the skirmish in carrying capacity, various models offer different load capacities. When selecting your trailer, ensure that it allows for a large capacity that accommodates your vehicle or material without putting stress on the frame.

When at this, ensure that the axels and jack on your trailer accommodate a large load capacity without swaying your trailer.


A fairly new dice played on the trailer design field is the addition of hydraulic levers to trailers. Unlike typical trailers, this incline to various angles to allow for effortless loading of goods.

This is ideal as it ensures fast mounting of items into your trailer without the hassle of mounting and unmounting the rails.


Space is a crucial consideration for car haulers and utility trailers. For this, ensure that the trailer you invest in covers your needs in terms of width and length. For utility trailers, consider investing in a model with reclining rails as these create room for placing more loads.

Also, consider investing in a utility trailer with a fold flat-gate/ramp to provide support to loads placed at the rear end of your trailer.

Regulation Compliance

Various states have in place different rules by which utility trailers and car haulers should abide. These regulations range from braking systems to lighting and installing of indicators. Before hitching your trailer to your tow, consult relevant authorities to determine what is required of you.

Final Verdict

From this information, it is clear that there is a slight difference between a car hauler and a utility trailer. A car hauler varies with a utility trailer in the capacity it can carry, absence of railings, axel strength, and jack-weight capacity.

As such, a car hauler is an ideal option as rails can be attached to its body to carry larger loads and this without comprising your ability to haul a vehicle.