What Is a Tandem Axle Trailer?

by Sandra Rousseau
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Once you learn the meaning of the word "tandem," it's easy to figure out what a tandem-axle trailer is. Tandem means "one following or behind the other." A trailer with two axles, one behind the other, is a tandem-axle trailer.


When compared to a single-axle trailer, a tandem-axle trailer travels down the road in a straight line more easily. Tandem-axle trailers absorb more shock, so they produces less bounce, which keeps your cargo more secure. The second axle also makes the trailer more stable, durable and strong.


Tandem-axle trailers tend to be harder to maneuver. For example, their turning radius is limited. Additionally, they are usually more expensive to purchase than single-axle trailers, and require four tires instead of only two. Also, the second axle adds extra weight, which requires the vehicle pulling the trailer to use more power, in turn lowering gas mileage.

Term Confusion

There is sometimes confusion among the terms "tandem-axle trailer" and "tandem tractor trailer." They are not the same. A tandem tractor trailer is a big-rig tractor truck pulling two big-rig trailers, one behind the other. While these terms are sometimes confused because they sound similar, the fact that tandem-axle trailers are sometimes called tandem trailers, and tandem tractor trailers are sometimes called tandem tractors, only adds to the confusion.

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