Choosing the right trailer is a tough job.

As a hotshot trucker, you know there are numerous models and brands on the market. How do you determine if it’s a good trailer? What features make it worth the price you pay? A trailer’s overall performance and longevity are affected by a variety of features and configurations.

To make it easier for you, we’ve listed some features for you to look for and consider when weighing your options:

1. Frame

When looking for a trailer, you should start by inspecting the frame, specifically the I-beam in the mainframe. The industry standard is a 12-inch I-beam, but if you’re looking for a heavy-duty trailer, consider one with a 19-pound-per-inch I-beam. Take also into consideration the cross-member spacing as well. A 16-inch center will suffice for lightweight hauling, but a 12-inch center is ideal for regular heavy hauling.

2. Decking & Durability

The intended use, cost, and durability should all be considered when deciding on decking material. Decking materials include Southern yellow pine (SYP), oak, steel, and aluminum. SYP is widely available in North America, making it an inexpensive decking material.

Aside from its low cost, SYP is also strong and solid, making it an excellent choice for heavy hauling. SYP readily absorbs treatment, so there is no need to be concerned. The disadvantage, however, is that it is susceptible to twisting and warping. Rough oak, on the other hand, is an excellent decking material for trailers designed to transport heavy equipment and vehicles.

Although oak is tough and strong, it does not permit optimal chemical absorption during treatment. Steel is another popular decking material. It is long-lasting and dependable, but its main drawback is that it is susceptible to rust. As a result, regular maintenance and monitoring are required to keep the deck in good condition. On the contrary, aluminum is resistant to rust and corrosion, unlike steel. It’s also lightweight, which means more cargo space and better fuel economy. Despite these benefits, some manufacturers avoid using this material because it is more expensive and not as dense and strong as steel.

3. Axles & Sizes

It is important to note that the size of the axles determines the GVWR or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of a hotshot trailer, which determines how much weight your trailer can haul. Many modern trailers are equipped with basic tandem 10,000-pound axles and dual wheels. However, you can increase your loading capacity by upgrading to 12,000-pound axles or higher.

4. Wirings & Lighting

The best combination is LED lights with an enclosed wiring harness. LED lights have several advantages over incandescent bulbs, including better illumination, lower power consumption, and lifetime service. Wires should also be enclosed to prevent moisture from entering. This will save you a lot of trouble in the future.

5. Brakes

The requirements for hotshot trailer brakes vary by state, with most states requiring an auxiliary brake system on trailers weighing more than 3,000 pounds. It should be noted that the three most common trailer brake systems are air brakes, hydraulic surge, and electric brakes, each of which is ideal for specific applications.

Hydraulic surge is best suited for trailers weighing up to 5,500 pounds. It is simple to install because no special wiring is required. Surge brakes perform smoothly and efficiently when properly adjusted, making them an excellent choice if you frequently transport fragile loads. The main disadvantage of this type of braking system is that it must be serviced and maintained on a regular basis to ensure proper operation.

Electric braking systems, on the other hand, are ideal for systems with low maintenance requirements. One difficult aspect of this type of brake is that it requires a brake controller that must be properly adjusted to match the trailer weight.

Another popular choice is air brakes. Because the air supply is infinite, the pressure remains constant, and the system will operate even if there are minor leaks. Air brakes are dependable, but they require regular maintenance and monitoring just like the hydraulic surge brake system.

6. Finish

Powder coating is a type of coating that is applied in the form of a dry powder. By negatively charging the powder particles, they seek a ground to hold the powder to the part and are applied by electrostatic spray. The powder is then baked with convection and infrared heat to form a hard, durable finish.

Powder coating is a more sophisticated method of applying a protective and decorative finish. It has a number of advantages over standard finishing, including greater resistance to scratching, chipping, fading, rusting, and wearing. Always look for this feature when buying a trailer for yourself.

7. Rust-Proofing

Keep in mind that your trailer has already been undercoated or rust-proofed, in addition to having a powder coating, which is an added bonus. Salt and road grime can eat your trailer alive if you frequently travel in an environment where it is exposed to ocean breezes or snow, and rustproofing provides additional protection.

Final Thoughts

Choosing which truck trailer type to purchase can be inconvenient at times, but it must be done. The sooner you know what type of trailer you need, the sooner you can start your company. Choosing a suitable gooseneck trailer can be difficult, but your understanding of the basic features we listed above should assist you in making a decision. Doing your research before purchasing a trailer will ensure that you get the most out of your investment.