Buy The Right Flatbed Semi Trailers

January 26, 2012

Whether you own a company with a huge fleet of tractor-trailers or you're an owner operator with only one truck, there will come a time when you need to replace your flatbed trailer. A flatbed trailer is specially designed to haul different materials than a covered or refrigerated trailer, and there are multiple options available, depending on what types of materials you plan to haul.

Trailers come in 40, 42, 45, 38 and 53 foot options. Those that are 45 feet long or less are mostly used for specialized jobs, and are the shortest possible you should get for multi-purpose use. Most shippers require at least a 48 foot trailer, so these are the most frequently available as both new and used trailers. The 53 foot trailer has only been around in the past as specialized trailers until the past few years, when some of the largest companies have been moving more toward an entire 53 foot fleet. While they are convenient and open up a truck to multiple uses, there will not be very many available used for a few more years.

The majority of companies and owner-operators need a spread axle trailer that allows up to 20,000 pounds of weight per axle for the ability to safely and legally axle up to 40,000 pounds. A closed tandem trailer only allows 34,000 total pounds axle weight , limiting loading capabilities.

As for trailer composition, there are all aluminum, combination aluminum and steel and all steel options. The all steel trailers are the heaviest, but are also the most durable and will last the longest. When used for lighter loads only, these trailers will last for years without any need of replacement. The combination steel and aluminum trailer is most versatile. Combo trailers are lighter and durable, but have parts that are easier to bend or break than those on the all steel variety. All aluminum is the lightest option, but is more susceptible to cracking and damage than steel or combo trailers. The most common trailer on the road today, and the easiest to find used, is the 48 foot combination. They are also very affordable as new trailers, and are a viable option if you plan to maintain them well.

Coil packages are a recent addition to flatbed trailers. As of now they are not required, but can be very convenient to have on a flatbed. A traditional coil rack can be used on any flatbed, as long as the trailer is rated to haul a heavy load in a short space. Coil packages are not necessary unless you will be hauling coils regularly.

With some good research and a working knowledge of what you plan to haul in the future, finding a good new or used flatbed trailer is not difficult. Just make sure what you purchase is exactly what you need, and make plans to maintain your new purchase regularly to extend the life of the trailer.

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