Pickup Trucks 101: What Type of Work Trailer Do You Need?

IMG_1162 II

By Matthew Barnes

In the first part of our two-part trailer series, we focused on leisure trailers. In our second part we cover the types of trailers most commonly used for work. There are a variety of connection and brake types for work trailers, but the focus here will be on the trailers themselves. Many of the trailers below pull double duty, serving as work and leisure haulers, car haulers are a good example. No matter how they're used, below we describe what these trailers' capabilities.

Flatbed Trailers

Gooseneck Flatbed II

Flatbed trailers are some of the most versatile trailers on the market. Their weight ratings range from as little as a few thousand pounds to more than 30,000 pounds. They can have one single-wheel axle or up to three dual-wheel axles. They usually connect to the tow vehicle with gooseneck or conventional bumper-pull connections, but some use a fifth-wheel connection. While there are different setups for flatbed trailers, the most prevalent style is a deck that sits above the wheels. This provides the largest, flattest load area possible. While metal load decks are available, most are wooden deck. The flat nature of this trailer allows a forklift to reach any position on the trailer, which makes loading and unloading items quick and easy compared with other trailer types.

Utility Trailers

Utility II

Utility trailers are similar to flatbed trailers, except they have rails. The deck is usually placed between the wheels, and some have a full-width ramp at the rear that works like a drawbridge. Utility trailers have the same range of weight ratings as flatbed trailers, but most have weight ratings of 14,000 pounds and lower. They are available with bumper-pull and gooseneck connections. These trailers work great for items that are loaded by hand or for wheeled vehicles that can be rolled or driven onto the trailer. Forklift loading doesn't work well with utility trailers due to the rails and trailer wheels getting in the way. The rails make it easier to keep cargo on the trailer, but items must be tied down properly. Like flatbeds, utility trailers usually have wood decks, but can be outfitted with a metal deck if desired.

Car Haulers

Car Hauler II

Single-car-hauler trailers usually are flatbed trailers with a deck between the trailer wheels to keep it low. The trailers usually have a rail along the front to help keep the vehicle from rolling forward off the trailer. They can have either a wood or metal deck. Some are made from aluminum to keep the weight down. Most are designed to haul one vehicle. This means they are often less than 20 feet long with two axles and they have weight ratings of 14,000 pounds or less. For people with higher-capacity transport needs, there are two-deck car haulers more than 30 feet long. These larger trailers use gooseneck connections, have weight ratings in the 25,000-to-30,000-pound range and can haul five to eight vehicles depending on the size of the trailer and size of the vehicles being hauled.

Enclosed Cargo Trailers

Enclosed Cargo II

Enclosed cargo trailers protect their load from weather, theft and travel hazards such as wind and rocks. They vary in size from less than 10 feet long to more than 30 feet long, with weight ratings ranging from 3,500 to 30,000-plus pounds. Enclosed trailers are available with different roof heights, interior widths, deck materials, door types and more. With the protection these trailers provide, they can be used to store or move just about anything.

Tilt-Deck Trailers

Tilt Deck II

Most tilt-deck trailers are flatbed trailers with the deck sitting between the axles. What makes them different is that a portion of the deck or the whole deck can be tilted to make loading vehicles easier. They can be found with either gooseneck connections or bumper-pull connections. They are available in a variety of lengths with most being less than 20 feet long. They are also available with weight ratings from a few thousand pounds to more than 24,000 pounds. While some are hydraulically powered, most just use leverage to tilt the deck. While they can be used the same way as a flatbed trailer, tilt decks are most commonly used to transport vehicles and construction equipment that can move under its own power.

Dump Trailers

Rasm 3500 Dumping II

For landscaping, garbage hauling and equipment hauling, dump trailers are a great option. They are designed for heavy-duty applications and are often much heavier than a similar-sized trailer of a different type. What sets dump trailers apart from others is that the front of the bed of the trailer can be hydraulically lifted while the rear pivots on hinges. This allows for cargo to be unloaded without manual labor. Dump trailers come in a variety of different wall heights, lengths and weight ratings. While there are some dump trailers rated to 5,000 pounds or less, most are in the 10,000-to-30,000-pound range. They typically connect to a tow vehicle with either a gooseneck or bumper-pull connection. The rear doors may open to the sides or hinge on the top to allow the material to slide out easily when the bed is raised. Landscapers love this type of trailer for its ability to haul a skid steer or mini excavator to and from a job site.

Livestock/Horse Trailers

Horse Trailer with Living Quarters II

Livestock trailers are designed to haul large animals such as horses, cows, pigs and sheep. They range in size from short, single-axle, 3,000-pound-rated trailers to long, dual- or triple-axle, 20,000-plus-pound trailers. Some have living quarters or a load ramp for all-terrain vehicles in the front portion. Livestock trailers offer many options, including hay storage areas, roof racks, rear ramps and interior dividers. They can have bumper-pull or gooseneck connections.

Summing Things Up

With such a large variety of work trailers on the market there is bound to be one that meets your needs or can be customized to meet your needs. While they range in size, price, style and features, they are all designed to do one thing: Get the job done.

Cars.com photos by Matthew Barnes

 

Dump Trailer II


 

Comments

Yup, that's right. A RAM pulling a man trailer while the GM pulls a lawnmower trailer. Enough said.

I would love to have a dump trailer but one thing holding me back is that all I can find only raise to 45 degrees. In my experience that is marginal for gravel and totally inadequate for dirt or anything sticky. I guess that they are afraid of them tipping over.

Since I own a chevy, I need a smaller trailer so my 6.2 wont be such a dog. I wish Chevy would release good engines like For does.

@ Fake TNTGMC

Lmfao....if u wanna pretend to be me, make sure u know what vehicle I drive. What a joke. Come on man. I don't drive a Chevy. Its a GMC. What a tool. Lol....you failed miserably!!! Geezz

Is that a Raptor being towed by the Ram in the top pick. Further evidence of a broken down Raptor or truck just being towed to show and shine events. HAHA!

The fake TNTGMC , formally known as Nitro and crunchtime isn't all that smart. He is a perfect candidate for a Ford fan.

All of the trucks doing any actual work in these photos are RAM trucks of course!! If you want to do any serious towing or hauling, RAM is the ONLY way to go.

GUTS

GLORY

CLASS LEADING RAM HEAVY DUTY

Love that photo of the Ram hauling a couple of cars and an F150. The cars were brand new but the F150 was stranded at the side of the road and the driver of the Ram took pity on the Ford driver.

Is that papajims truck broke down from towing that landscape trailer? Yup, it is.

You guys-TNT- and gms continue to pollute this site, PUTC please ban them.

HAHA, tnt-gms-papa all still here arguing with each other on which GM is the biggest joke! Then try to pull me into your fairy tale. I havent been posting on here cuz the forums are a joke becuz of you clowns. But I still read the articles, the only thing that is good. Peace out crazy people!....

You guys-TNT- and gms continue to pollute this site, PUTC please ban them.


Posted by: papajim | Jul 3, 2018 11:05:05 AM

Translation, whaaa, they are making fun of GM and not Ford. It's not fair.

The fiat truck is pure junk. If the fiat truck fan girls are bragging about the ram. How come ram doesn’t beat FORD in sales? Huh.

The fiat truck is pure junk. If the fiat truck fan girls are bragging about the ram. How come ram doesn’t beat FORD in sales? Huh.

https://youtu.be/qbWG07PS4hY

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

https://youtu.be/wrxu4iySpSY

Just for fun HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!


The fiat truck is pure junk. If the fiat truck fan girls are bragging about the ram. How come ram doesn’t beat FORD in sales? Huh.

Posted by: Chingon | Jul 3, 2018 12:35:08 PM

Spoken like a true dingleberry that posts in a ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME about the biggest bunch of nonsense that I have ever seen on this site. You have no credibility at all.

Everyone I know are ditching their heavy duty trucks for the F-150 Eco-Boost to pull construction equipment and 5 ton dump trailers cause the Eco-Boost does it soooo much better!
The local Ford Dealer in my area allows you to test drive a loaded 10,000 trailer hooked to a F-150 Eco-Boost and that's pulling it up a steep mountain highway with a 65 MPH speed limit.
The Eco-Boost is that wonderful.
I get respect for owning one.

Dump trailers -- "Landscapers love this type of trailer for its ability to haul a skid steer or mini excavator to and from a job site."

That's what I thought until I investigated buying one. There are three reasons why some landscapers still use a dedicated trailer for their equipment: 1) loading a skid steer into a high bed dump trailer is a white-knuckle affair, 2) high bed models accentuate the weight of equipment in slowing, accelerating and turning, and 3) attaching tie-downs inside the confines of the high sides of a dump trailer is a pain.

There are models with lower beds, but it's difficult to lower the bed of a dump trailer without compromising its ability to dump.

@ --Ecoboost Rules. BOY ECOTURD YOUR DUMBER THAN ME.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Now they post under my username HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA that tells me i hurt their feelings HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

@ ecoboost rules
You don't have any steep mountains where you live

@ Nitro

Grow up. Its probably your childish antics who has been posting under others user names. If we could get rid of u and Frank this site would actually be civil again.
But frank is easy to get rid of. We just throw facts at him and he runs.

Now they post under my username HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA that tells me i hurt their feelings HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Posted by: Chingon | Jul 3, 2018 7:16:51 PM

I believe they are mocking you and your stupid posts to be honest. HHAHAHAHAHAHHA DUUHHHHHH!!!

Now they post under my username HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA that tells me i hurt their feelings HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Posted by: Chingon | Jul 3, 2018 7:16:51 PM

I think they are really making fun of your moronic posts to be honest with you. HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA DUUHHHHHHH

@Ecoboost Rules
The ford 3.5L turbo is an impressive engine. And it’s good for 10,000 lbs once in a while. But he’s a big fool who will push that rig to pull over 10K Lbs on a weekly basis. It’s a half ton truck. Let me ask you, if Ford expected the ego boost to pull that weight regularly, why do they still produce the F250? If that’s what your doing to your half ton truck, I’d encourage everyone to avoid buying a used truck off of you. The chrome hubcaps would be worth more than the rest of the rig.

Pretty similar trailers in Australia but we do use the Low Loader(can be pulled by a Cab Chassis Van, light truck or semi)
European example shown
https://www.nooteboom.com/trailers/euro-px-low-loader/

HAHA, tnt-gms-papa all still here arguing with each other on which GM is the biggest joke! ...Posted by: Nitro | Jul 3, 2018

Hey, I was starting to miss Nitro but I assumed he was just taking some time off.

Sixty days? Ninety days? What's it been?

I wondered if he was in the county work camp or something. Then I thought that Nitro and Work don't go together. Anyway, welcome back. Let us know when Frank gets out.

Maybe there are some adults that comment on this site, but they are not grown up yet.

@Coolie

Your comment reminded me of Schrödinger's cat. Check it out.

Thanks for explaining types of trailers that can be good for a pickup truck. I didn't know that it's easy to load and unload items from a flatbed trailer. I wouldn't mind knowing how long the process could take depending on what items are loaded onto the flatbed.



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