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About those Harbor Freight trailers...

I'm thinking of getting a small, non folding, Harbor Freight trailer in order to make a Delco Light display for shows in the future. The generator itself weighs perhaps 275 lbs. and the batteries (four 8 volt golf cart) about 270 lbs. so even with a few light bulbs and perhaps an awning, it's still well within the limits of Harbor Freight's "optimistic" limit of 1070 lbs. total. Brakes of course, aren't necessary on such a light trailer.

I have no problem with purchasing such an inexpensive trailer. After all, a few tastefully placed reinforcements should bring it up to my standards. My question is about the TIRES they supply.

Has anyone actually used the 12" tires that come with these trailers for highway use? Aside from hauling it to local events, my longest trip might be to Brooks, Oregon.....a distance of perhaps 300 miles.

Any "real experience" input on the trailer frame quality and tires gratefully appreciated!


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I built a 4x8 x4 foot tall enclosed trailer a couple years back and used a boat trailer axle and springs. The 12 inch wheels were in good shape and I bought 2 new 12 inch tires for it. 5.30 x 12 's not the 4.80's.
There is 2 different weight ratings,I got the higher 1.I have pulled it on 2 trips on the interstate totaling over 600 miles and no problems at all. I was concerned and I stopped and checked for heat and there was none as I ran about 65-70 in the sections of interstate it was legal. No problems.
Of course the trailer and contents are light,I would say in the 1200 pound range. I think the tires I have are rated at 1280 pounds each?
I can check further. I got the tires at a tire dealer,but honestly they are all made overseas, so I aint so sure there is a difference in the quality of the harbor frieght tires and the dealer 1's.

I bumped the thread in regards to my trailer.
Thanks fellahs, that's what I needed to hear. Although I'd have everything bolted securely to the deck and frame, my biggest concern would be a blow out.......either from heat or "cheesy" quality. Of course, the tires could be replaced immediately when building the trailer, but then where's the savings?

I have a trailer that I built for transporting a 6000 lb. oilfield engine, all the way from West Virginia back out to California. It's only 12' x 6' but is all heavy box construction and has two 5600 lb. axles with brakes on both. Kind of overkill for a little Delco and some batteries!:D
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I like oldstuff

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A neighbor had one and within 6 months one of the bearings went out.
Take the spindles apart and clean out whatever grease is in there. Repack the lot with good stuff.


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Basically those little yard trailers aren't intended for any serious use. Especially if Harbor Freight has any thing to do with them. Their cheap for good reason.
I've seen the remains of them lay on the side of the road way too often, all their good for is to haul your lawn mower around the block and back period. If you want a trailer go and spend the money for a good one so you don't get your self or someone else killed!


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I will be honest,if springs and axles didn't cost so much as separate items you could build a suitable trailer fairly easy that would not give any trouble for many years.

But for a light load, and some bracing and such,you should be ok. The idea of taking out their excuse for grease is spot on.I would not suggest the "bearing buddies" or whatever they are called either. Folks over grease them and it can cause failure as well of the seal that will let out the grease.


I would consider buying a 5x8 trailer from TSC...best if you could wait unit those are on sale for $499. They have 13 inch tires, mesh floor and ramp gate. They are heavier then the HF trailers but cost more as well.

Dave H.

I've been using one of those small HF trailers with 12" wheels for about a half a dozen years now. The trailer has made several 1600 mile round trips between PA and GA with a 400 lb. load & used constantly around my property. It has hauled 600 lb. barrels of methanol with no problem. The original tires are still in good shape. I did have to replace a bearing on it once though, so keep them greased.
Regardz, Dave H.
Okay........so the general consensus is that the basic trailer frame (I'd weld it), axle (put in good grease immediately) and tires are probably okay.

I happened to think while reading the replies that there's a guy in town with one. I think I'll mosey over and take a good, hard, critical look at it.


I've got one that is around 10 years old. I bought it when I needed a trailer at the last minute for a snowmobile trailer. It's cheesy, but I can't complain about the service it has provided. My experience with the trailer tires is the same as with any of the Chinese trailer tires...and that is to say they all eventually start leaking air right through the rubber. You'll need to replace them to stop it, unless you want to run tubes, which I'd rather not on a trailer. They see enough heat without begging for more.
I also recommend repacking the bearings before going any where.
I'd never trust one for hauling heavy stuff, but I certainly can't complain about the service mine has provided.

Weld Engineer

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Never had an issue and it made several trips from MI to IA. 3000 miles or more. Buy a spare and mount it just in case. Check the air pressure most tire failures are due to inability of people to bend at the waist with a tire gauge.


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Depending upon availability in your area, perhaps look into a used boat trailer. Sometimes they are free if you are willing to haul away the boat. :)

Seriously, a twin personal watercraft or boat trailer for a 14' or so speedboat would fit the bill. Better axles, bearings, tires and wheels.