(This article first appeared in the July 2013 Trucks & Trailers Issue of The Equiery)
The Equiery asked its readers a series of questions related to the types of towing vehicles and trailers they own. The responses were varied but one common theme seemed to shine through: buyers do a lot of research before purchasing and are loyal to the brands they currently have.
Questions concerning towing vehicles and trailers related to the make, model and year of the vehicle as well as engine size, towing power and “must-have” features. We also asked where they purchased each and why they chose that make and model. Finally, we wanted to know how satisfied readers were with their current towing package and if they would recommend either to others.
Below is a quick summary of what we learned and quotes and comments from various readers. Thank you to all who participated!
What You Tow With
According to the responses to our survey, Ford is the make that is the most popular among our readers with 61.76% saying they tow with Ford pickup trucks. The next most popular brand was Chevy with 23.52% followed by GMC with 8.82% and Dodge with 5.88%. Most readers who took the survey tow with a midsize truck in the 250/2500 model size. The 350/3500 model and 150/1500 model size were tied.
Christine Jennings of Bentwood Farm in Owings bought her 2002 Ford F250 because of its power and previous positive Ford experiences. Brenda Senseney owns a 2009 Chevy 3⁄4 ton Diesel Extended Cab and bought it because she loved GM products and said, “They are dependable, comfortable for long distances and have an excellent turn ratio.”
In terms of sport utility vehicles, it was a dead tie between Ford, Toyota, GMC and Land Rover, though an overwhelming 89.47% tow with a pickup truck versus an SUV. Bernadette Kilcer of Brandywine tows with a 2005 Toyota 4Runner that she bought “because it was small, yet powerful, and in my budget. I love this one and have an excellent mechanic that keeps it in tip-top shape.”
Denise Parsons of Boyds has two towing vehicles, one of which is a 2010 Land Rover Range Rover Sport. “The Range Rover is a great little truck for a two-horse bumper pull that can be used as a daily driver as well. It has plenty of towing and stopping power,” she said.
Gas engines outweighed diesel 63.6% to 36.4% but what was interesting were the reasons people bought one over the other. Krista Martinko of Frederick County, who owns a 2010 Ford F250 Super Duty Extended Cab, said she would have loved to buy a diesel but she just does not tow enough to make the added costs worth it. Jeanne Bond (Halcyon Farm, Warwick) agrees, stating, “I don’t use my truck enough to warrant the extra expense of a diesel engine or diesel fuel.” Jeanne currently tows with a 2002 Chevy 2500 HD Extended Cab.
Only 11.11% stated that if they were to buy another vehicle, they would switch to diesel.
There was a wide variety of engine sizes reported from a 5-liter to an 8-liter and everything in between. For the most part, the size of the engine correlated to the size of the trailer. Larger trailers are being towed by larger engines, as they should be. However, there were a few readers who reported towing large trailers with small engines. Those readers did comment that when purchasing a future vehicle, they want to upgrade to a larger engine with more towing capacity.
Janine Borofka (Quiet Rock Farm, Frederick) currently owns a 1996 Ford F150 but says she is dreaming of getting “the same but with an extended cab and bigger engine. Some hills are a strain [for the F150] and the small cab is tough for hauling people.”
Buying a new vehicle versus a used one was nearly evenly split with 52.6% buying new and 47.4% buying used. Most vehicles in the survey were made in 2001 through 2005 (40.5%) with 24.3% being made in the 1990 to 2000 range and the same amount made in the 2006 to 2010 range. Only 10.8% of our readers reported owning a towing vehicle that was 2011 or newer.
Most readers (42.9%) went directly to dealerships to find their current towing vehicles while 31.4% found their vehicles through various online sites. The rest of our survey participants either found their vehicles through local newspapers, auto auctions, Horse World Expo or friends and family. The majority of readers (80.65%) purchased their vehicles right here in Maryland with Virginia and Pennsylvania being other states mentioned.
The most popular feature that people said they just could not live without was four-wheel drive. The second most popular must-have feature was a large engine and maximum towing power. After that, readers liked having four doors and a full back seat for more interior carrying space. Jennifer Tanio of Avalon Farm in Sparks said she just cannot live without the full back seat and full four doors in her 2004 Ford F250. “I have two young kids who are often with me when I am trailering and so the full cab is essential,” she explained.
Interior features like navigation systems and heated seats were also popular, with many people saying if they were to get a new vehicle, they would want both. Some readers even said cooling seats would be a great feature in a future vehicle.
What You Tow
Equiery readers own a wide variety of trailers but the top three most popular trailers according to our survey results were Adams (23.08%), Cotner (12.82%) and EquiSpirit (10.26%). Fifteen other trailer brands were mentioned, proving that trailer options for buyers are vast.
Elizabeth Carey of Second Wind Farm (Gaithersburg) is a big fan of her 2011 Adams 2+1 that she bought through H.R. Collins’ ads in The Equiery. “It’s a great trailer that we bought for a great price at the time and it was priced lower than other goosenecks that I looked at. I love, love the way this trailer is made with the drop-down windows and side-loaded ramp. It is a very user-friendly trailer,” she said.
Cheryl Swing of Hidden Tides Farm in Upper Marlboro had a 2010 Cox Signature (Warmblood) by Cimarron basically custom made for her. “It was the most trailer for the money, even with the modifications and additions,” sshe said, adding that plenty of room for her horses and good airflow were reasons for the purchase.
More people reported owning gooseneck trailers than bumper pull trailers, though two-horse trailers were the most popular no matter which type. Just over 63% stated they bought their trailers new, with 36.1% saying they bought used trailers.
An equal number of readers said that they found their trailer either through The Equiery, a friend or directly from a dealer (20% each). Seventeen percent said they found their trailer from online sites and another 17% said they got theirs through Horse World Expo. About 56% said they purchased their trailer in Maryland while some purchased nearby in Virginia, Pennsylvania or Delaware and others went as far as Florida to purchase their trailer.
Most trailers in the survey were made between 2006 and 2010.
When it comes to favorite trailer features, 43.3% said having a dressing room is a must-have. Other must-have features were the size of the stalls, type of flooring and the extra space at the nose of a gooseneck.
For the most part, readers are happy with the features they have on their current trailers. Some stated that roof vents and drop-down windows would be nice additions as would a larger dressing room and stall cameras.
How Often You Tow
The majority of our readers had their vehicles for long periods of time and put lots of mileage on them with 31.58% having between 51,000 and 100,000 miles. The same percentage reports 101,000 to 150,000 miles. Only 7.89% reported owning a vehicle with more than 150,000 miles on it while 28.95% have vehicles with less than 50,000 miles.
Readers reported that they tend to trailer less than five times a month and most of that distance is local. In terms of average towing mileage per year, 44.12% reported towing between 1,000 and 5,000 miles a year. Just over 26% said they tow less than 1,000 miles a year and just over 20% said they trailer between 6,000 and 15,000 miles a year. Very few reported trailering more than 15,000 miles a year.
The majority of survey participants stated that they trailer for personal use only with just 6.25% saying they trailer for business and 15.6% saying they use their towing vehicle and trailer for both business and personal uses.
Every single person who responded to our survey recommends his or her vehicles to others and 94.6% said there is no need for a new vehicle at this time but if they were to buy again, they would stick with the same brand they have now. Several stated, however, that they would upgrade in engine size.
Paul Cohen (Association Underwriters & Ziplow Horse Insurance, Inc.) of Westminster replaced his previous Ford F350 with a new Ford F350 Twin Turbo Diesel after he credits the old truck for saving his life: “This was a replacement for the previous F350 that I owned and it saved my life in a very serious accident caused by a drunk driver.”
Jeanne Bond, a current Chevy owner, said, “If I were to buy another truck, it would be from GM. This is my fourth GM truck, they have always been reliable, so I’m a loyal customer.”
Julia Beamish of Mayadinya Farm in Brookeville however, recently switched from a Ford to a Chevy for her newest towing vehicle stating, “After hearing good things about the Chevy truck transmission and having had many bad experiences with our Ford trucks and the Ford company we went with Chevy.”
Most readers are loyal about their trailers as well, staying loyal to what they have and feeling no need to buy another trailer at this time. Bernadette Kilcer said she got her 2012 Bockmann Portax trailer though Traveled Lane Trailers and would buy the same again, stating, “The folks at Traveled Lane are magnificent.” Seventy-five percent said they would buy the same trailer again if they were looking for a newer trailer with 25% saying they would either upgrade to a larger trailer or buy a different brand.
Only 6% said they would not recommend the trailer they have, although that was mainly due to the age of the trailer. One reader would not buy a Sundowner again due to large amounts of repairs that had to be done within the first few years of buying it new.
Amy Phillips of Red Horse Ranch in Gwyn Oak has a 1996 Collin Arndt trailer and feels it is a great “starter trailer.” She is not currently in the market for a trailer but said if she was, she’d want to upgrade to a three- or four-horse Hawk gooseneck because it is heavier and she feels that makes it a safer trailer.