If you’re planning to buy a new truck and trailer, one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make has to do with choosing between a bumper pull and a gooseneck hitch. Each option has its own advantages and may significantly affect the type and weight of the loads you can possibly haul.
Bumper pull is a slightly misleading name because in reality, it doesn’t connect to the vehicle’s bumper. Also known as tag-along or drag trailer, a bumper pull has a tongue that fits the ball hitch of the tow vehicles’ rear frame which could be a pickup truck, SUV, agricultural vehicle or any larger car.
A gooseneck trailer differs from a bumper pull as it has a hitch that slides over in the bed of a pick-up truck. Trailers with a gooseneck hitch are typically bigger in size and with higher loading capacities than bumper pull trailers. Below are some notable factors to consider:
Ease of Use
Compared to a gooseneck hitch trailer, a bumper pull trailer is less intimidating to drive for first-time hotshot truckers as it is a more common type of trailer. You can also use it out of the box with different types of light-duty passenger vehicles such as capable station wagons, minivans and crossovers, and not just a pickup truck or larger vehicles.
The biggest advantage of gooseneck trailers has to do with their stability. As its weight is over the vehicle’s rear axle and not at the rear frame, it minimizes swaying and thus, also reduces the movement of your load. This is especially important if you are hauling fragile items. Even at higher speed, a gooseneck is less likely to sway than a bumper pull.
One of the challenges of driving with an attached trailer has to do with making turns and backing up. With a gooseneck, you can easily cut corners since it has a tighter turn radius. But it is not as easy as it sounds. It could take a few tries before you can learn this. A bumper pull, on the other hand, has a normal turn radius so it follows the towing vehicle when making a turn and feels more natural for first-time trailer owners.
Backing up though with a gooseneck is not as challenging compared to one with a bumper pull.
With hotshot trucking, you need to be careful that your truck and your trailer are properly rated for the weight you’ll be hauling. Otherwise, you’ll encounter serious problems on the road such as loss of control and trailer swaying. If you frequently haul heavy loads, gooseneck trailers are better as they generally have bigger weight capacities than bumper pulls.
If you know your surroundings and what you are up against, a bumper pull can be a good option especially for local hauls. However, if you drive through an interstate carrying a lighter and taller profile, side winds could rock the vehicle up and down real hard and your safety could be compromised. Even experienced drivers will find this situation very challenging to handle.
With goosenecks, since the weight is over the axle, even strong side winds that can sway the trailer would not rock the vehicle as hard as bumper pulls would.
As pick-up trucks generally don’t come with gooseneck hitches, you’ll spend a couple of hundred dollars for the kit and installation cost. Gooseneck trailers are also generally more expensive than bumper pulls.
Gooseneck and bumper pull trailers have their own advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to choose the right hitch for the kind of load you haul and the kind of road you frequently navigate so you can enjoy a better and safer ride and optimize you hotshot trucking experience.
Takeaway: If you are looking for a trailer for smaller loads and short distances, a bumper pull is a perfect choice. For larger and heavier loads as well as interstate hauling, a gooseneck is the right choice.