The Best Aftermarket Pickup Flatbeds on the Market

At Country Blacksmith Trailers, we know what our customers need when it comes to aftermarket pickup flatbeds. We know they need something heavy-duty and reliable at an affordable price.

Right now, we have over 180 pickup flatbeds for trucks for sale and in stock at our Carterville and Mount Vernon, IL stores. We sell and install pickup flatbeds, pickup dump bodies, dump beds, dump flatbeds, and service bodies. We’re full service so we can be a one-stop-shop to you. We have Zimmerman flatbedsCM flatbedsBradford Built flatbedsCM Service Bodies, dump bodies, platform beds, and Aluminum Flatbeds, and we can get any Knapheide Service body or Knapheide Flatbed you want.

We have many years of experience specifying and installing aftermarket bodies on pick trucks and will put that experience to work for you! We will make sure you get the right flatbed for your truck. We have experienced, professional installers that will take good care of your truck and make sure the bed is installed correctly. Alongside our excellent customer service, this is what sets us apart from our competitors.

Here are a few things to think about before purchasing a flatbed.

 

Converting Your Truck to a Heavy Duty Work Truck

Aluminum vs. Steel

While many people assume steel is the best choice due to its strength, but it can easily rust, unlike aluminum. Aluminum isn’t as strong as steel and it scratches easily, but it won’t rust. This is an important feature because your flatbed will see a lot of wear and tear and more than likely will be rained on. This is why it’s often the superior choice over steel. Not to mention it’s much lighter!

Extra Lights

This might not be something you consider until you’re in a situation in which you need extra lighting. However, a few additional lights are required in most, if not every, state, when the factory lights can’t be easily seen by others around you.

One of the best things about choosing Country Blacksmith Trailers? We install the pickup bed while you wait at the store! We’re here to give you the best customer service around, and we feel this is a unique feature of ours that you don’t see anywhere else.

Tapered vs. Straight Back Corners

Most flatbeds give you a choice between tapered and straight back corners. Tapered corners are the way to go if you’re driving through mountains, hills, and turns and need a better turn radius. This will also help if you’re driving on narrow roads. For some, though, straight back corners work best if you need as much room as possible.

 

Converting Your Truck to a Heavy Duty Work Truck

Why Do I Need a Flatbed?

You might be wondering if you even need a pickup flatbed. The extra space you get with having one is reason enough to us, but think about the time, space, and even money you’ll save in the long run. You won’t be making as many trips back and forth, because you’ve installed extra space, you’ll save gas due to fewer trips, and lesser trips will save you time.

Hopefully, this has helped steer you in the right direction of finding an aftermarket pickup flatbed that’s best for you and your needs. Know that you can trust us at Country Blacksmith Trailers for the highest degree of customer service and attention to detail. We know what it takes to find the best pickup, and we’re here to help you every step of the way.

 

Getting Your Trailer Ready for Winter

No matter how much experience you have hauling a trailer, winter weather conditions can quickly leave you questioning your preparedness. However, there are a few safety precautions you can take to keep safe and save yourself money during the frigid months ahead.

Winter-Weather Hauling

At Country Blacksmith Trailers, your safety is our priority. That’s why we’ve compiled this winter-weather guide — to keep you safe, and help you get the job done — because we know your work doesn’t stop when the snow starts falling.

Proper Maintenance

City park gardening tools

  • Check Your Tow Vehicle: Ensure your lights work and that your tires are filled to the factory-confirmed PSI. If you typically use snow tires or tire chains, be sure to add them as needed.
  • Check Your Trailer: Double check that your hitch is properly connected, along with the lights and brakes on the cargo trailer. Ensure any routine maintenance has been completed and the tires are fit for travel.
Safe Driving

Watch the Weather: If you’re going to be hauling during winter weather, it’s your responsibility to be aware of the driving conditions. By paying close attention to the weather and road conditions, you may be able to map out a safer route.

Maximize Visibility: Before you get on the road, be sure to clear the ice from your lights, hood and windshield. You should also consider using anti-freeze windshield wiper fluid.

Take your Time: As roadways become icier, you may need to decrease your speed to ensure your safety, that’s why it’s important to factor in additional time during time-sensitive trips. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure you leave more space between you and the car in front of you. This will give you time to better react to any situation that occurs ahead, including sudden breaking.

Anti – Freeze

Carry a Kit: When you’re hauling in icy conditions, you’ll want to be sure you have the essentials in case of an emergency. Aside from your normal every-day items such as jumper cables and a multipurpose flashlight and/or pocket knife, you may consider packing a wool blanket, “hot hands”, gloves, non-perishable food, water, and an emergency snow shovel.

  • Insulate the Trailer: If you’re going to be spending any significant time loading or unloading the trailer, or if you plan to haul any temperate gear, you may need to consider insulating your trailer. There are many different ways you can do this including adding blueboard to the walls of your trailer, insulating the ceiling vent, and even putting down an area rug.

Winter-Weather Trailer Storage

Mid Adult Woman Attaching Trailer on Car - Stock Photo

If you use your trailer for lawn maintenance, farm work, or other warm-weather activities, you may find that you don’t need to use your cargo trailer during the winter. However, that doesn’t mean that you can skip out on winter-weather preparations this season. To ensure your trailer is prepared for the next spring, you’ll want to take the following precautions — it may even end up saving you money in the long run.

  •  
  • Maintain: Before storing your trailer, you’ll want to check for any holes or rust spots in the top and bottom of the trailer to ensure its contents don’t get wet. If you notice worn-down spots, you may need to visit a trailer service expert or purchase a new trailer. In the event you cannot afford these changes, you’ll want to ensure anything of value is removed from your trailer.
  • Empty: Speaking of emptying your trailer, if you don’t have holes and plan to keep your gear in your trailer during the winter, make sure it’s locked up so no one can access your supplies. You’ll want to remove the battery from your power hydraulics or emergency breakaway system, if applicable, as the winter months can be particularly hard on these devices.
  • Lubricate: Use grease or other lubricants to thoroughly coat all of the moving parts such as the hitch, hinges and wheel bearings — especially if you aren’t storing your trailer indoors. You want to protect your trailer from any rust or corrosion that may occur, so you can get back to work without a hitch next spring.
  • Jack: Consider using your trailer’s jack to remove the pressure from the tires to prolong their life. This action should be especially helpful in presenting dry-rotting. If you do lift your trailer, consider periodically spinning the tires to help grease the wheel bearings while not in use.
  • Store: Carefully pick where you want to store your vehicle  — preferably somewhere safe and dry. If you do have to leave your trailer outside, try to cover it with a breathable tarp to avoid undue condensation, but ensure you cover the wheels as best as you can to avoid dry rotting.

Trailer Super Store In Carterville and Mt Vernon Illinois

If, after completing your maintenance check, you realize that your trailer isn’t fit for the upcoming winter season, let the knowledgeable team at Country Blacksmith Trailers’ service center help you get prepared for the cooler months ahead. If you’re interested in upgrading your trailer, we accept trade-ins, and special financing is also available.

 

At Country Blacksmith Trailers, we are committed to keeping our community safely sporting and working, no matter the road conditions. We are proud of our 15+ years of experience providing an exceptional trailer-buying and servicing experience to our Illinois neighbors.

Dump Truck Vs Dump Trailer

Today’s trailers feature different technology because times are forever changing and because they serve different purposes. In addition to ensuring your trailer works for you, it’s about longevity – we all want our trailers to last. At Country Blacksmith Trailers, we take pride in making sure our trailers will serve you. Having a trailer that lasts also means choosing the right one for your needs. Thinking about how you will use your trailer will help you determine which one is best for you.

When it comes to dump trucks and trailers, it can be difficult to know which one is best for your business or whatever job you’re tackling. Below, we go through things to consider before buying a dump truck or trailer. We’ll also try to help you choose between the two!

Garbage truck in the forest

Budget

Before we get into it – creating and sticking to a budget is important when searching for any kind of truck or trailer, especially if this is your first purchase. It will be easier to come up with a budget once you decide the size of what you need and any features that come along with it. If you need it for your business, it’s worth having a higher budget, because it will more than likely grow over time and that extra space will not go unused.

Benefits of a dump truck

A dump truck is a vehicle with the dump body attached to the vehicle. The main appeal to dump trucks is their power. You can load them up with the heaviest of materials and still relocate the load with no issue. You can choose from multiple models, like any RV, trailer or vehicle, but they all have a powerful engine and truck with a huge bed attached already integrated.

Because the dump body and vehicle are attached, it means dump trucks are stable during any kind of tipping – even if the load is heavy or the weight isn’t equally distributed. This also means everything was made at the factory to work together, which is something you might not get from a dump trailer.

Disadvantages of dump trucks

The major drawback of these is the cost. Some trucks like this can cost $100,000. We also understand that this is only a drawback for some, not everyone. If you know you’ll use it often, and your business will benefit from having one, invest in one.

One more thing to consider about dump trucks before we move on – they’re one size fits all. There isn’t much room for customization.

Trailer with many bags of plant garbage in the garden.Periodic garbage collection.

Benefits of dump trailers

Dump trailers can do the same things trucks can without the high price tag. They have a wide bed, and they have the strong lifting mechanisms like trucks. They come in quite a few varieties, like size and designs, which is sort of similar to dump trucks. They are varieties in those, too – just not as much.

One main consideration when choosing between the two is to think about whether you already have a vehicle appropriate for a dump trailer. If so, is it strong enough to pull over the terrain you plan to be on?

Some people say dump trailers are better because of their ability for customization in size and dimensions to the weight of the load you’re taking.

When shopping for a trailer or truck, remember to conduct lots of research before choosing, and try not to rush into a decision based on a great deal or being pressure from a salesperson. We’ll treat you like family here at Country Blacksmith, and we want you to be comfortable asking us any questions you have about your trailer needs.

 

Load of DirtWe hope this blog has helped you decide which one is better for you, but if you’re still unsure, no worries! We suggest creating a short pros and cons list to focus on the positives and negatives of each. Looking at a tangible list made you will provide more answers than you think! As always, reach out to us for any questions you have – dump trailer-related or not.

Top 5 Things to Look for When Buying a Concession Trailer

You’ve decided to purchase a concession trailer – great! In order to make this purchase well worth it, there are a few things to know and be well-versed on. You can trust the staff here at Country Blacksmith Trailers to support you through each step of the buying process, and they’re always ready to answer any questions you have.

Here are a few things to look for when shopping for a concession trailer!

Your Budget Matters

How much you want to spend upfront on a trailer depends on what kind of trailer you’ll be browsing for. Think of a clear budget and stick to it. Once you have a range in mind, it’ll be easier to knock out any trailers with fancy bells and whistles because they’re simply out of your budget. It’s great to arm yourself with this information so you don’t waste time considering any that are too expensive.

New or Used?

Once you settle on a budget, you’ll need to decide if you want to buy a used trailer or a new one. Can’t decide? There are pros and cons to both.

If you choose a new trailer, you’ll be backed by its warranty. And, they’re in near-perfect shape. You won’t have as high of a chance for a breakdown, maintenance issue or system failure. Expect to pay a bit more for a new trailer, of course.

Used trailers, however, are often much more affordable. You can compare them online to see where you’ll get the best deal. Buying used will save you a ton of cash up front, but be careful. Some used trailers are covered with maintenance problems, so be sure you ask for a list of everything that’s been fixed on it maintenance wise.

Food Cart

Storage Capacity and Capabilities

Now that you’ve decided on your budget and whether you’re buying new or used, it’s time to look at the actual trailer. To ensure enough storage space, you should ask yourself a few questions:

  • What kinds of food am I selling?
  • Will I need any special storage, like refrigeration or freezer storage?
  • How many customers do I expect to feed?

So, looking at how much storage space a trailer has compared to how much space you anticipate needing is important to a successful concession stand business.

Power and Plumbing

These two aspects are huge and really cannot be overlooked! For power, think about all the equipment you’ll have in the trailer and whether or not the trailer in question has the right outlets to power them. If so, does the circuit board have enough energy to power everything, at the same time, on the busiest day? It’s not a bad idea to ensure the board can handle even more than that. You might also want to consider investing in a good generator. If you plan to travel, your energy sources can be inconsistent. A generator will be a reliable source of power – regardless of whether you plan to travel or not

When it comes to plumbing in a concession trailer, you’ll learn it’s actually required to have some sort of water supply. You’ll need at least one sink for hand washing and a set of three sinks for cleaning and sanitizing any dishes or appliances. You’ll also need a fresh water tank, a waste water tank and a hot water tank. Make sure the trailer comes with all of these or has the room for these to be installed.

Construction, Materials and Durability

Because you’ll be handling food, the materials your trailer is made from is a bit different than any other trailer. Food-grade stainless steel is always a great option for surfaces that food will touch. It’s sanitary, easy to clean and can handle the harshness of a daily food business.

For the walls, ceiling and flooring, think about how messy your food prep will be. If grease will be splattering constantly, you’ll want to steer clear of vinyl or any slippery flooring.

There’s a lot to consider when you’ve decided to buy a concession trailer. Put time and dedication into these decisions, and you’ll find a trailer that will help you create a killer concession stand business.

Have a concession trailer of your own? Let us know about it in the comments!

Getting The Best Deal For Your Used Utility Trailer

Utility trailers are classified as something that is hitched to the back of a vehicle and used to transport goods or equipment. This is a general definition, but trailers do come in all shapes and sizes! They vary in models, weight, materials, and other factors.

As trailer owners, we’re always on the lookout for something new, exciting, and just a bit better than what we already have. It doesn’t mean we aren’t happy with our trailer, but sometimes, it really is time to trade-in! Let us walk you through each step of the way.

Ready to sell yours and get the best deal out there? We can help!

Dealer or Private Seller?

One of the most important things to consider when selling your utility trailer is finding an honest dealership in your area. Here at Country Blacksmith Trailers, our friendly staff is always ready to help you sell your trailer and get the best price around for your trade.

Inspect Your Trailer

It’s time to clean your trailer and have it evaluated! Be as subjective as you can here.  Here’s a shortlist of items to check to get you started:

Paint – are there any chips in the interior or exterior? Is it fading?

Wheels – check the tread. Is there air in them? Are they beginning to rot?

Roof – How’s it holding up to the weather? Is it still sturdy?

Walls – are there dents, stains, or rust? Is anything beginning to warp?

Still not sure your trailer is ready? Don’t be afraid to ask for a professional’s help!

Find a Dealer You Trust

Once you’ve had your trailer looked at, find a dealer in (or even out of) your area that you know you can trust. Having to deal with a questionable dealer only makes the process more difficult and you won’t feel confident in any of your choices. Head to the dealer with a quote in hand, and sit down with a professional. Even if you don’t have a quote, they’ll be able to give you one and tell you what they think their trailer is worth. Finding a dealer you can depend on puts all your worries at ease. If you’re interested in trading with us, you can fill out our simple online trade-in form to see how much your trailer could be worth. It only takes a few minutes, and you’ll be glad you filled it out!

Making the Right Decision

A dealer may make you an offer you just can’t turn down, and you walk away knowing what you chose was right. You can take their deal no questions asked, or you can think about it and go to another dealer. It’s ultimately up to you, and no one can tell you the right thing to do. Don’t let a dealer talk you into something you don’t want to do. Stick to your guns and stand up for yourself. At Country Blacksmith Trailers, you know you won’t be bothered by any pushy salespeople anywhere on the lot, because we care about our customers’ happiness.

Our ultimate priority is helping you find a trailer that you love. We offer high-quality products at competitive prices with the best customer service around. What’s important about trading in your trailer is that you’re happy and feel confident about your decision. We’re always here to answer your questions and inquiries about trade-ins, so give us a call today!

Converting Your Truck to a Heavy Duty Work Truck

A great pickup truck can be the best companion at work. But if you’re in a field such as agriculture, towing, or construction, there are some jobs that an everyday pickup truck just can’t handle. If you’re looking for a way to up the ante and use your pickup truck as a heavy-duty work truck, we recommend converting your truck to a flatbed pickup. Pickup flatbeds can make carrying oversized loads or awkwardly shaped items a breeze, and with how much more they can handle, they can dramatically cut down the number of trips it takes to finish hauling a load. They’re also easier to clean and easier to load than a traditional pickup bed. Here at Country Blacksmith Trailers, we’ve got everything you need to get the job done. We’ve come up with a few things you need to know in order to choose the perfect pickup flatbed and get your truck ready for heavy-duty work in no time.

Converting Your Truck to a Heavy Duty Work Truck

Identify the size you need

The first step in your search for a pickup flatbed is to know what size flatbed you’re looking for. Though we carry pickup flatbeds in every size, we’ve broken our search features down into the most important identifiers: dual vs. single wheel, and shortbed vs. longbed. For example, you can search for a 7 foot single wheel shortbed or an 8.6 dual wheel longbed, as well as every variation in between.

Decide on aluminum vs. steel

Pickup flatbeds are made out of one of two materials: aluminum or steel. There are pros and cons to both types, so it’s best to decide ahead what’s important to you. Typically, steel is more low maintenance and can give you greater hauling power, but aluminum is lighter and less expensive. If your priority is to keep things lightweight, you may want to go aluminum. We stock Aluma Trailers aluminum flatbeds which rival steel in terms of load capacity. Bradford Built is one of the most popular brands we carry, and we also sell Zimmerman, CM, Cadet, and Knapheide, which all provide a variety of aluminum and steel.

Converting Your Truck to a Heavy Duty Work Truck

Know what kind of hitch you need

Depending on the kind of work you’ll be doing, you may want to look at a flatbed with a gooseneck hitch, which uses a ball and coupler in the center of the bed. This is helpful if you also plan on towing in addition to hauling. You can also buy beds with straight or tapered corners – the tapered corners allow you to have a better turn radius if you’re using that gooseneck hitch, so keep that in mind if you decide on a gooseneck hitch.

Figure out the extra features

Once you’ve decided on the big things such as the size, construction material, and the type of hitch, there are plenty of extra features you can get to dress things up as little or as much as you’d like depending on your needs and price range. Headache racks can be simple and straightforward, or they can be lighted or tapered. We also have service bodies with custom toolboxes built-in, some of which are complete with flat siding so that you can add decals to brand your truck for your business. You can also add on things like tie downs, ball hitches, and tongue toolboxes when you purchase a Country Blacksmith Trailers pickup flatbed. The options are endless and we stock a pickup flatbed for every need.

Converting Your Truck to a Heavy Duty Work Truck

Find an expert to complete the installation

This is where you need to be picky and where we can make things extremely easy. When you purchase a pickup flatbed with us, our experts will install it while you wait. Our staff is experienced in installing aftermarket bodies on pickup trucks and we will take great care of your truck and ensure the flatbed is installed correctly.

We offer a courtesy car for your use on the day we install the truck bed. We can typically install your new truckbed in one day and install price is generally $785.

There are a lot of things to consider when you’re wondering how to choose a pickup flatbed, but our online search makes it easy and our in-person staff can match you to the perfect flatbed for you. We’ll have you back on the job, hauling and towing like never before when you convert your pickup into a flatbed work truck with us!

What Trailer Should I Buy For My Landscaping Business?

So, you’ve decided to start a landscaping business. Or, you’re in the market for a new trailer to haul your materials in because your current one is on its last leg. Before you make the decision on which trailer to buy, you’ll need to do ample research and shopping around before you find the right one for you.

There isn’t a one size fits all deal when it comes to trailers.  Everyone has different needs, so having just a few trailers to choose from certainly wouldn’t make sense.

That’s why you should choose an experienced dealer to help you with choosing the perfect landscaping trailer for you. We’ll help you every step of the way, but here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding which trailer to buy for your business.

Red Lawn mower cutting grass. Gardening concept

Safety and Quality

The main purpose of a trailer is to safely transport all your equipment from site to site. You’re more than likely hauling thousands of pounds of equipment around, so your trailer needs to be sturdy and efficient. It’s also important to consider ease of loading and unloading your equipment to make sure your work as safe as possible. Think about the quality here, too, because you don’t want to save a few hundred bucks now just to keep replacing cheap parts down the road.

Size

It’s a good idea to think about how much equipment you have now or may accumulate over the years. How much space does your current equipment take up? How much does it weigh altogether? Is there a possibility of you buying more equipment to keep up with business demands? All of these questions factor into the size and finding the right one for you. Knowing the dimensions and weight of all your tools will give you a great starting point on what size trailer to look for. If you do plan to grow your business (we’re sure you do), think about buying a trailer you can grow into. It’s also unsafe to overload a trailer, so giving yourself a bit of wiggle room will save you from a possible disaster later on.

Also think about where you plan to store your trailer. Do you have space at your house to store it? Will it be outside or in a garage? If it’s outside, how will you shield it from the elements? All of these questions you should consider while figuring out the right trailer size.

Design

Ride On Mowers

Last but not least, let’s talk about the design! It’s loads of fun sorting through all types of landscaping trailers, imagining yourself using each and every gadget your dream trailer comes with. Before we get to the bells and whistles, think about your equipment and their shapes. Do you want an enclosed trailer? Or, will you need an open one? Have you considered a lift or would you prefer a ramp? Each design has its pros and cons, but it’s up to you to decide what you can and can’t do your best and most efficient work without. Once you choose which of these options is right for you, you can move onto the smaller details.

Open trailers may seem like they’d ruin your things, but they have a lot going for them! First, you’re able to reach in for whatever you need without having to crawl into a hot trailer in the middle of the summer. They can be more convenient and significantly lighter because there simply isn’t as much material used as an enclosed trailer. And, because they don’t have as much resistance to wind, they’re easier to haul and are better for the gas mileage of the vehicle you’re towing with.

Enclosed trailers tend to be more expensive, but offer more security than open trailers. Rather than having to lock every piece of equipment you have onto your open trailer, it’s just one simple latch with an enclosed trailer and you’re ready to go! Theft isn’t as much of a problem either, because all of your items are hidden and the temptation simple isn’t there.

Steady as she goes

Considering all of these factors is critical in finding the ideal landscaping trailer for you, thus keeping your business booming. If you’re in the market for a new trailer, we know it can be easy to pick the first one you see because you’re so excited to buy it, but it will pay off to do plenty of research on figuring out what your perfect trailer looks like. It could be different than your competitors, and that’s okay! It’s just important to think about safety, size, and design before you buy it.

 

Custom Trailers for Every Need & Industry! Enclosed Trailers, Utility Trailers, Toy Haulers and More!

A custom trailer can set you apart from the crowd.  Whether you want a custom-built trailer for your business or for personal use, we know how important it is to get exactly what you want.

That’s why we here at Country Blacksmith Trailers are dedicated to designing and fabricating high-quality custom-built trailers to fit every need.

When looking to get a custom trailer, especially one for your business, we want to make sure we take all of your unique needs into account.

What Are You Looking For In A Custom Trailer?

What kind of trailer are you looking for?  We have experience creating custom builds and designs for numerous different industries, and we want to use our expertise to help you!

Catering, Concession or Food Service Trailers

Custom Trailer 9

No matter if you are a large catering business or a small up and coming business, when you are in the foodservice industry you need to make sure your trailer works for you.

Options include complete kitchens, refrigeration cooking, storage, and more. Just let us know what you need and we will make it happen!

Custom Built Race Trailers

Be a star on and off the track with a custom car hauler. No matter if you are heading to the races or on the classic car show circuit, we can create you the perfect trailer to haul your precious cargo.

If you need a custom option to haul your vehicle, motorcycle, snowmobile and more, we can build it!

Mobile Office

Custom Trailer 6

If you need to get work done on the go, then a mobile office may be perfect for you! We can create a mobile office or classroom that can serve a variety of on-the-road business and educational activities!

Mobile Marketing Trailers

Take your business on the road, to your customer! A Mobile Marketing Trailer can transform your business from a single location to a traveling sales force.

Let us help you transform your business with our unique, custom trailer designs. If you find yourself asking more questions then give us a call and let us help you with any that you may have.

Single Axle Tilt Trailer Selection

Aluma Tilt Trailer

Single axle, full deck gravity tilt trailers have been a problem trailer for years. Let me start with the advantages, Easy to load, Pulls easier and weighs less than a trailer with a rear mesh gate. Now for the problem. Tows TERRIBLE! What do I mean? The full tilt single axle trailer can sway back and forth violently at speeds over 40-50 MPH, potentially leading to loss of control and most certainly panic attacks. Why? The axle is set forward of the middle of the trailer so the tilt deck is heavy enough to the rear to tilt down to the ground when unlatched. This makes the empty trailer almost equal in weight forward and rear of the axle and this balance is what creates the violent sway. The solutions. Always haul 100 lbs on the very front of the deck or better yet, get a split deck tilt single axle! This allows the axle to be behind the center of the deck and the trailer will tow safely! You can also choose an Aluma tilt deck. They are very light and have a tilt assist system that allows proper axle placement for safe towing.

This also applies to tandem axle tilts as well. Generally a split deck tilt or a full power tilt deck let’s the MFG move the axle back far enough for comfortable towing. Always remember to take extra care to load the tongue of your tilt deck trailer 20% heavier than the rear so you stay safe while towing.

Neil Kurtz for the Country Blacksmith Trailers Team

Enclosed Cargo Trailers – Your Buying Guide

We get many calls from customers asking us about the wide range of brands and prices that are available in the enclosed cargo trailer market. It is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking “It’s just a box on wheels with painted aluminum sheeting and a steel frame”. Enclosed cargo trailers may look similar on the outside, but let the buyer be aware that there are many differences between cargo trailer manufacturers!

We can broadly categorize the enclosed cargo trailers into two categories. Cheap and short to very short life or more costly and durable to very durable. If your use is primarily storage or occasional (6 times a year) and local (50 mile radius), you will find the lower priced trailers will serve you fine. If your use is more than that you will want to select a better and more expensive enclosed cargo trailer from a reputable dealer with a warranty center and it will save you money down the road. The mantra that “you get what you pay for” applies very well to the enclosed cargo trailer industry.

What problems does frequent use of a cheap enclosed cargo trailer bring? Here’s a short list!

  1. The screws holding the exterior panels WILL come out! (This is because the steel frame is way too light and has too much flex under load, and just because your wall posts are 16″ on center is no guarantee, putting more thin tube wall posts that are spot welded to a bottom angle iron side frame won’t help!)
  2.  The spot welds holding the wall posts to the trailer side frame can break and the sidewalls will come loose. (yes, fast is what makes cheap, and a frightful amount of cargo trailer companies minimally spot weld the trailers together!)
  3.  The aluminum side panels can corrode completely through somewhere in the bottom 6″in about a year. (the steel frames have no coating so the aluminum and steel react when moisture is present and the aluminum panel gets corrosion holes real fast)
  4.  The axle hangers can break off. (this is especially true of trailers that have an I-beam frame. NEVER buy an enclosed cargo trailer with an I-beam or channel frame!)
  5.  The roof is very prone to leak. (this is due to the Galvalume roof metal used on economy trailers and carelessness in the fabricating/sealing process.)
  6.  The interior wood trim comes off very easily. (a combination of frame flex and very few trim staples)
  7.  Warranty is logistically very expensive and difficult for the buyer. (the cheapest enclosed cargo trailers are sold by the factory or a low priced online agent and getting warranty service requires the buyer to return it hundreds or thousands of miles to the manufacturer for service.)
  8.  The wiring is very poorly done. (it is not protected when it passes through the steel frame and we have worked on brand new trailers that had developed shorts in the wiring from being transported empty!)
  9.  This is a not a complete list, we should also mention poor fit and finish. Some of the cheaper cargo trailers you can see through cracks in between the floor and sidewalls right down to the road! (major design issues cause this)

What makes the difference? In general, the trailers made in the South are cheaper and more disposable than those made in the North. Here is a list of items and questions to help you select a quality enclosed trailer.

  1. Tube main frames and tongues – 2″x4″ on a single axle and 2″x6″ on a tandem axle up to 24′ long and 2″x8″ for trailers over 24′ is a must! (we learned the hard way on this one and replaced a mower contractors 26′ trailer!)
  2.  .030″ or thicker exterior aluminum sheeting – Go with .040″ or .050″  thick aluminum panels with 12″ wall post centers for severe duty use.
  3.  Exterior Panel Fasteners – Screwless is very nice looking and easy to put decals on, but stay away from an economy trailer with a screwless exterior. Panels have been known to blow completely off! Especially black! Make sure you are purchasing a top quality trailer if specifying a screwless exterior. Also, make sure the MFG has a barrier between the aluminum sheeting and steel frame, especially the bottom 6″!
  4.  Dexter or Lippert axles – The parts are interchangeable and easy to find and both companies have 5-6 year warranties on their axles and painless warranty departments.
  5.  Drymax or Advantech floor – instead of plywood. These products have held up very well in our under water tests!
  6.  What is the warranty and where can I get warranty service? 1-5 years is what you will be told, but the most important question is where can I get warranty service done and what is the process? Also ask the dealer for the track record of a MFG on taking care of warranty claims. Every MFG makes mistakes, what sets them apart is how they take care of those mistakes!
  7.  What are the MFG reviews? A good manufacturer will typically have a 3.5 star review or better. Why? Because when customers have to talk to a manufacturer, there are generally problems that the dealer is not taking care of. It pays to deal with a reputable dealer that will take care of you. The end user should never need to talk to the MFG! The review rating for a MFG is more of a testimony to the quality of their dealer network and their support of that network, than of the product they MFG.
  8.  Is this an economy or premium model offered by this MFG? Most MFG make competitively priced, economy models, such as a Stealth Mustang model, and premium, very good quality models , such as the Stealth Liberty model. This can make it difficult for the buyer to decipher what exactly he is purchasing. A Stealth or Haulmark or Wells Cargo trailer at one dealer may be a thousand dollars less than a similar trailer at another dealer, but the more expensive trailer could be the best value. Pay attention to the model and the particular options it has had added to it.
  9.  Be honest with yourself and your dealer about how you will use your enclosed cargo trailer, and don’t buy cheap with high expectations!
  10.  Axle Size – If you are getting an 8’5’x24′ or longer trailer, DON’T get 3.5K axles. Insist on 5.2K axles. These upgraded axles will benefit many contractors on smaller size trailers as well. In our rental fleet, we don’t want a tandem enclosed trailer with less than a 6K axle under it! Not even the 6’x12′ single axle! 🙂
  11. Torsion Suspension – If your use is above normal, or you want low maintenance, get Torsion Suspension axles. Smoother ride, the ability to get off at the next exit if you have a flat tire, and a 10 year warranty are what you will get for about $250 per axle!
  12.  Jack – Ask for the 7K dropleg jack option on your tandem axle enclosed trailer! It will be $140 well spent. Some dealers can do this simple upgrade to units they have in stock.
  13.  Radial Trailer Tires – If the trailer you are looking at has bias tires on it, run screaming the other way! They wear terrible, ride worse and save about $10 per tire!
  14.  Roof – Get a one piece aluminum or translucent fiberglass roof. Your cargo last much longer if you keep water off of it!
  15.  Side Door – For best security get a side door with a bar lock and flush lock. Also ask for an aluminum door hold back. The plastic ones break real easy! A really neat option is the door bar locks with built in key. They are called vice locks and eliminate the need for purchasing padlocks for your side and rear doors.

It takes research and effort to find an enclosed cargo trailer that is a quality product with an outstanding team behind it, but it is worth the effort! Happy Trailering!

Neil Kurtz for the Country Blacksmith Trailers Team

 

Enclosed Cargo Trailer Buying Guide

Enclosed Cargo Trailer Buying Guide