Is A Single Axle Travel Trailer Safe?

Whether you are hauling an RV, boat, or anything else that requires a trailer you will have to worry about what could happen if there’s a blowout or a braking issue. However, there is a fairly simple answer as to which travel trailer is safer between single axles and tandem axles.

Is a single axle travel trailer safe?

Single axle travel trailers are safe to tow and have been in use for many years. The drawbacks of a single axle trailer are its cargo carrying capacity, braking distance, and if you have a blow out. Single axle trailers can maneuver better than its double axle counterpart.

Tandem axle travel trailers are the safer of the two but this does not mean single axle trailers are unsafe. If you are towing a lighter load a single axle trailer is certainly safe to use for a long time, provided you take good care of it.

For the rest of this article, there are plenty more details to go into about these two trailers and the safety features they offer. Keep in mind, a single axle trailer is safe to use but not everyone has a perfect experience using these. Let’s begin by delving a little further into a single axle travel trailer’s safety features.

How Safe Are Single Axle Travel Trailers?

How safe it is to use a single axle travel trailer will depend on a few factors that are important to know before you set out on the road using one of these. These factors include:

  • Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

This indicates how much weight your vehicle can handle all together. This includes the passengers, the cargo inside, and the car itself.

  • Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR)

GCWR is the max amount of weight of the loaded trailer, tow vehicle, and everything included in the GVWR as well.

  • Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)

This is the total weight that one axle can hold safely. For single axle travel trailers, this is one of the most important things to know to ensure you can tow something safely.

  • Towing Capacity

Towing capacity is the total weight that your car is able to pull. This has more to do with your car’s health but if your car experiences problems, your trailer can also experience some because of it.

Exceeding any of these weight capacities can mean bad news for your single axle trailer and, if one of the tires blows out because of it, you could not only wreck your trailer but your car as well.

The reason many claim that tandem axle trailers are safer is because they can carry more weight. However, this has really nothing to do with its safety because if these trailers experience blowouts or brake failure they can become just as dangerous to tow.

So, if you are planning on towing something that is very heavy it may be unsafe to use a single axle travel trailer but that has more to do with the trailer’s weight capacity rather than an unsafe design.

What Are the Pros And Cons of A Single Axle Travel Trailer?

Single axle travel trailers get their name from the fact that they have just a single axle connected to the wheel on one side or the other. In total, these trailers have just two tires that allow it to ride along the pavement and turn with your vehicle.

Because of its design, there are some pros and cons that you should consider when looking at one. Some of these features help it stay a safe choice for RV and boat haulers, so let’s go through what these are.


  • Lightweight

Single axle travel trailers are lighter than their tandem axle counterparts and, if something were to actually go wrong with them, the single axle trailer itself would not cause as much damage simply because it is not as heavy.

  • Greater Fuel Economy

While this is mostly good for your wallet it is also great for your vehicle as well. If you have a smaller van or truck, hauling a single axle trailer is better to keep your car from running out of fuel which can be very dangerous on a busy highway.

  • Better Maneuverability

Single axle travel trailers are smaller and thus are easier to turn and maneuver through tight spaces. This is a great feature to keep both your trailer and whatever you’re hauling safe if you have to get it through a tight turn or smaller driveway.

  • Easier Maintenance

These trailers will experience some wear after a fair amount of use but maintaining them is much easier because there are simply less parts to worry about. Keeping it in a safe, working form is very doable and it even costs less than tandem axle trailers.


  • Less Stable at Higher Speeds

Because it only has two small tires to work with, hauling a single axle trailer in the left lane of the interstate can be very dangerous. You will want to keep your speed at a lower level to make sure you can tow it safely.

  • Weight Restrictions

These trailers cannot carry as much weight as a tandem axle trailer and are thus a bit more limited in what they can safely haul.

  • Is Easier to Sway

A scary sight that no one likes to see their trailer do is sway back and forth. While this is not a sure sign your haul is going to fall off the trailer, too much swaying could detach the trailer from the car and single axle trailers are more prone to doing this.

  • Only Two Brakes

Two tires means only two brakes and this will make it more difficult to stop quickly if necessary. Especially if the brakes are getting worn down, this could be very dangerous if you find yourself needing to stop on a dime.

Why People Believe Tandem Axle Trailers Are Safer

Many people will claim that tandem axle trailers are safer to use than single axles and there is some truth to this. Unlike single axle trailers, tandem axle trailers have two axles that are both connected to the four wheels on the trailer.

Those that believe the tandem axle trailer is safer than the single axle typically say it is because of these extra two tires that can support more weight and distribute it better. You can also handle going faster using these trailers without worrying about too much sway even with heavier hauls.

Plus there are four total brakes on tandem travel trailers which makes it twice as easy to come to a stop as single axles trailers. Of course, these will help prevent a disaster if you find yourself in the situation where you need to really slam the brakes.

Lastly, if you do experience a blowout it will be much easier to manage with the support of the other three tires. Tandem axle travel trailers are certainly more expensive than their single axle counterparts and, for some cases, they are more safe to use as well.

Single Axle Trailers Vs. Tandem Axle Trailers: Which is the Safer Buy?

Both of these trailers are plenty safe in their own designs. The tandem axle trailer leaves a bit more leeway for mistakes and allows for a bit more freedom than single axle trailers. However, this by no means takes away from the single axle trailers being perfectly safe to use.

Keep in mind what you are towing and how much weight your car can handle to ensure you are using either of these trailers safely and you should not experience many problems.

The safer buy between these two is the tandem axle trailers, however, you should not expect it to be able to handle anything you throw at it. Be careful when towing anything and keep up on trailer maintenance to make them last a long time and be able to safely carry whatever you need to tow.

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