Trucking is a massive industry in the United States of America. As of 2017, its domestic worth was valued at over 700 billion dollars.
Whether you’re driving a 16-wheeler or a consumer-grade truck, there are many commercial applications that you can compel your truck to carry out. The vast majority of those jobs require a trailer.
What’s tricky about trailers is that not all of them are created equal. As a matter of fact, 10 different jobs could require 10 different trailer types.
To give yourself the best opportunity for success in the trucking space, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the most popular types of trailers and what they do best. This post is dedicated to helping you attain that information!
Types of Trailers for Your Truck
If you go on the freeway, chances are you’re going to see a pretty common kind of trailer. Usually an enclosed, metallic rectangle with a company’s logo on the side.
That trailer is called a dry van and it’s the most popular kind of trailer in the United States.
People love dry vans because they’re expansive, relatively easy to pull, and protect cargo from weather and theft. If you’re looking to pick up a trailer that has the widest amount of applications, grabbing a “52-foot van” (as dry vans are sometimes called) is a solid way to go.
Most dry vans are capable of pulling just over 40,000 pounds. They range in length from 48 to 52-feet.
Imagine a dry van without an enclosure around it. That’s what a flatbed is.
You’ll see many flatbeds in use in the middle states because they’re extremely handy when transporting farm equipment. Flatbeds can carry heavy loads and are partially suited for cargo that isn’t prone to weather damage.
In some cases, to protect semi-susceptible cargo from the elements (and to protect cargo from flying off of the trailer) drivers tightly fasten tarps over their loads.
If you’re hauling a load that is higher than what a traditional trailer would allow, you might be able to get away with your haul by opting for a lowboy trailer.
Low boy trailers (or “lowboys”) ride lower to the ground. This unique feature reduces the overall height of your load which can give your cargo a couple of feet of wiggle room vertically.
Furthermore, lowboy’s low nature allows them to shoulder more weight. While a flatbed can pull around 40,000 pounds, lowboys can pull up to 80,000 pounds depending on the number of axles your trailer has.
Drop Deck Trailers
Keeping with our theme of being low, air tow drop deck trailers (drop decks) is a convenient trailer choice for people driving consumer-grade trucks that need to haul heavy equipment.
Uses for drop deck trailers aren’t limited to pulling tractors of course. They make for a convenient choice when hauling motorcycles, safes, and other heavy cargo.
What we love about this trailer type is that you don’t have to lift heavy equipment to get it loaded onto the trailer. Its drop deck disposition makes rolling all of your heaviest equipment into your truck an absolute breeze.
Interested in moving perishables? Then you’re going to want to get into the refrigerated trailer business.
Refrigerated trailers represent a steep price hike over similarly styled dry vans given their ability to keep cargo cool while in transit. That price hike is often compensated for in the way of drivers demanding higher rates from shippers.
Be sure to have your refrigerated trailer checked out thoroughly prior to purchasing it, particularly if you’re buying pre-owned.
The cooling components in this trailer type are malfunction prone and can be expensive to fix.
Gooseneck trailers specialize in pulling exceptionally heavy loads. Depending on the number of axles that your trailer is sporting, you can pull freight that’s up to 150,000 pounds with this trailer.
Given how heavy some loads are in Gooseneck trailers, the legal length of a Gooseneck is capped at just below 30-feet. Furthermore, the acceptable load height is quite low at only 11 feet or so.
Any trailer that’s pulling loads that exceed those dimensions will need special permits in order to travel.
There are over 271 million cars on the road in the United States. The way that those cars make it from manufacturers to dealers is via large multi-car trailers.
You’ve probably seen these trailers on the road towing vehicles on two separate decks.
Use of these trailer types is regulated on a state-by-state basis so you’ll want to look into limitations prior to investing in this “types of trailers” option.
Furthermore, multi-car trailers aren’t technically considered traditional trailers. Their true classification is as a “specialty carrier”.
Still, given the rising popularity of this hauling device, we thought it pertinent to include it in our types of trailers list.
Wrapping Up Essential Types of Trailers for Your Truck to Handle Any Job
When you’re making living pulling loads, you’ll want to make sure that you’re armed with the right equipment for the job. Our types of trailers run down above have laid out for you the most popular kinds of equipment so you know where you should invest your money.
A word of caution: Some trailer regulations may vary from state to state. Be sure to discuss any specific trailer questions that you have with your local DMV office.
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