Flatbed Trailer

7 Tips for Buying a Flatbed Trailer

What is a flatbed trailer?

It is a type of trailer designed to carry bulky cargo and containers suitably. These trailers are mostly used in transporting cargo between terminals and shipping facilities. The transportation equipment is majorly made with a steel frame. Other parts of the kit include brakes and lighting systems. Trailers are of different sizes and are available as 20 ft, 40ft, 48ft, and 53ft long trailers. These types of trailers do not feature any form of roofing or walls. Its structure is simple and loads carried on them are held in place using container locks.

There are several kinds of trailer flatbed in the market, and they are designed for different purposes. As such, you must understand your needs in order to decide what type of flatbed trailer will be appropriate for you. In fact, you will also find semi trailer flatbeds for sale in the market. Some of the essential considerations when buying this type of trailer are:

1. Size.

If you plan to buy a flatbed trailer, the first factor to consider is the size that will be appropriate for the task ahead. There are different sizes of flatbed trailers that are meant for carrying specific containers and cargoes. For instance, if you want to transport small but bulky cargo, you can go for a 20 ft trailer while more oversized loads may require 53 ft trailers. If you are shipping oversized loads, an extended flatbed trailer would be appropriate for you.

2. Load capacity.

The cargo amount that you want to ship will determine the kind of flatbed you purchase. Flatbed trailers can transport loads ranging from 10 tons to 80 tons. Here, you will need to review local laws and regulations that determine the legal load capacity you can carry. According to the experts at Hale Trailer, “When carrying heavier freight, many flatbeds have the option of adding additional axles to meet federal weight guidelines. Technically speaking, drop deck and step deck trailers are flatbeds with the addition of extra decks.” Note, however, that not all types of trailers have a similar load capacity. Campers can come with two or three axles while container chassis are designed to hold more load capacity. Single axle containers, on the other hand, are designed to carry lighter cargos.

3. Axles.

When buying a flatbed trailer, another factor that you should consider is the number of axles. Trailer container axle configurations should be compliant with local shipping laws and regulations. There are different load capacities of flatbed trailers based on axle configurations. After considering axle trailer configurations, make sure that you buy what is permissible in your jurisdiction. Each trailer structure is made to support different wheel axle assemblies in other parts of its length. The choice of the type of trailer to buy should be guided by the amount of cargo you are carrying and the shipping regulations that guide the use of flatbeds trailers in your area.

4. Tires.

The tires used on flatbed trailers are configured based on their cargo capacity. Various government regulations also dictate the kind of tires that can be used for flatbed trailers. As such, you need to consider local rules before you purchase a trailer designed to use a specific set of tires. Some jurisdictions might permit single-wheel trailers while others will only permit double tire trailers. When using single tires, ensure that they are evenly distributed along the trailer.

5. Type of corners.

Flatbed trailers come with either straight corners or tapered corners. Many flatbed trailers feature straight corners, although buying tapered corners comes with a bigger turning radius when pulling your trailer. Tapered corner trailers also come in handy when driving on a winding or rough road. As such, consider where you will be using your trailer and choose the type of corner best suited to it.

6. Decide what hitch is appropriate for you.

Before you buy your flatbed trailer, you will need to decide the type of hitch you want. A gooseneck hitch is appropriate for people who will use their pickup truck to haul the trailer. This is because they feature a ball and coupler, and they are mostly used in livestock trailers.

7. Flatbed material.

Another factor to prioritize when purchasing a flatbed trailer is the material used to make them. Some flatbed trailers are made from steel while others are made from aluminum. Aluminum trailers are light, do not rust, and are affordable. Steel trailers, on the other hand, offer great hauling power and are easy to maintain. This is to say that if you intend to work from an area where metal is prone to rusting, you are better off with aluminum. If you want more hauling power, however, you are better off buying a steel trailer instead of the one made from aluminum.

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