After the cost of your rig and other business expenses, you may find the addition of a shiny new semi-truck trailer can come at a cost you’re not ready for. A used or damaged trailer can help mitigate that cost, but you must show care when you choose a fixer-upper trailer. Here are a few considerations to help you come out ahead when you choose a semi-truck trailer.
Find the Right Semi-Truck Trailer for Your Needs
Start with the type of trailer you want. Will you need a dry van or a reefer trailer? Maybe a flatbed will work best for your needs. The type of trailer can make a large difference when it comes to the type of maintenance and repairs your trailer will need.
For example, a reefer typically requires more fuel and care to maintain its insulation and refrigeration abilities. If you choose such a trailer, make sure you will use it for cargo that requires it to justify those increased costs.
From there, you can start to spec the needs of your trailer. Things to consider or look out for include:
- A reputable trailer manufacturing brand
- Recalls from the manufacturer
- A size to accommodate your hauling weight requirements
- The suspension type and configuration
- Tires and any tire wear patterns
- The age and history of the trailer
As you consider the size and load capacity for a semi-truck trailer, try to scale up to accommodate business growth.
You will also have to take regulations and laws into account. Your trailer will need to meet federal DOT requirements as well as individual state requirements. You may even have to pay attention to local trailer regulations depending on where your routes take you.
Some states you move through can have legal trailer requirements far more stringent than the federal guidelines. If you know where you plan to operate, you can choose a trailer that can travel legally wherever you want to take it.
Make Needed Repairs to the Used Semi-Truck Trailer You Settle On
When you identify the types of semi-truck trailers that will suit your needs, you will have to make sure there’s a possibility the used or damaged ones you’re considering can facilitate those needs. Because you know what you need from the trailer, you can look at the used offerings with a more critical eye.
Inspect the trailers you’re interested in. You can hire someone or you can go over the trailer yourself. Make sure to:
- Check the integrity of the floors
- Look inside for places where light come in
- Check for leaks of any fluids
- Look at the doors and test their integrity
- Check for signs of corrosion
- Check the brakes
- Make sure the electrical systems work
Don’t feel shy about getting under the trailer with a flashlight or getting on the roof to look for signs of damage and other issues. You should also take notes during this process. If you look at a damaged trailer, make sure all the important systems are intact and all you have to deal with is body damage.
Many used and damaged trailers have a lot of life in them. With a little care, diligence, and some shopping around, you can find a semi-truck trailer that will only need some repairs to put it in good condition. Such a trailer can serve you for years to come at a fraction of the cost of a new trailer.
Throughout this whole process, you should also envision what the trailer will look like once it’s fully repaired and painted. The visualization of your desired results can help when you let a professional service know what you expect.
At Downtown Garage & Auto Body we offer professional semi-truck trailer repair, painting, and reconditioning. If you want to make sure your used truck trailer can handle your operations, contact us today.