How to Choose a Trailer

Is a trailer worth the investment? For many owner-operators, yes. It can take less than four years to earn back that investment, even when buying new equipment. Here’s how to get the best bang for your buck.

Know Your Application

Understand fully what your trailer will mainly haul. Hauling heavy-footprint products such as paper rolls requires higher floor ratings. Applications with additional equipment such as automotive racks require interior designs that protect the trailer from damage during loading and unloading.

Minimize Maintenance

Look for premium quality components such as long-life brake linings, wide brakes, long-life wheel ends, and seals. Some trailer manufacturers offer galvanizing to protect door frames, hinges, and the entire subframe. You’ll reduce your cost per mile and maintenance costs by using special coatings that protect trailer parts.

Reduce Weight

The biggest weight saver is aluminum, which also is more corrosion-resistant than steel. Aluminum can be substituted for steel in cross members that support the floor and for hardwood flooring. Aluminum rims can also replace steel disc wheels.

Keep Fuel Savings in Mind

An owner-operator could add $10,000 or more to his or her bottom line in one year by using a trailer with strong aerodynamic features. That means the trailer would pay for itself long before it wears out. The more aerodynamic the tractor, the more critical it is for the trailer to play a complementary role in streamlining airflow.

There are a lot more factors to consider when purchasing a trailer, but these main points will help you get a start on what to look for.

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