Choosing the right gooseneck trailer for your business can be a challenging task as these trailers aren’t ‘one-size-fits-all’. They are available in different makes and models with varying features and cost to choose from. If you are going to buy a new gooseneck trailer, this guide can help you make the right choice.
Why Choose a Gooseneck Trailer
Compared to other types of hotshot trailers, goosenecks are more stable, easy to maneuver and less prone to swaying or tipping over. Apart from that, they can also easily navigate through tight turns and narrow spaces. More importantly, gooseneck trailers typically have bigger rooms for cargo and greater hauling capacity.
Points to Consider When Comparing Gooseneck Trailers
These are the features and configurations that affect the overall performance and longevity of a gooseneck trailer. Make sure to take them into account when comparing your choices.
When you are looking to buy a gooseneck flatbed, you might want to start checking the frame specifically the I-beam in the mainframe. A 12-inch I-beam is the industry standard, but if you are looking for a heavy-duty trailer, you should consider getting one with a 19-pound-per-inch I-beam. Also check the crossmember spacing. For lightweight hauling, a 16-inch center will suffice but for regular heavy hauling, a 12-inch center is ideal.
The size of the axles determines the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of a hot shot trailer, which in turn dictates how much weight your trailer can haul. Many gooseneck trailers are fitted with a basic tandem 10,000-pound axles and dual wheels. However, you can upgrade to 12,000-pound axles or higher to increase your loading capacity.
Lights and Wiring
LED lights with enclosed wiring harness are the best pair. Compared to incandescent bulbs, LED lights offer numerous advantages including better illumination, less power draw and lifetime service. Wires should also be enclosed to avoid moisture from going in. This can save you a lot of headaches in the future.
Powder Coating is a more advanced method of applying a protective and decorative finish. It offers several advantages compared to ordinary finishing such as better resistance to scratching, chipping, fading and wearing. A powder-coated finish also lasts longer.
If you can get a gooseneck trailer that has already been undercoated or rust-proofed aside from having a powder coating, that is a bonus. If you frequently travel in an environment where your trailer is exposed to ocean breeze or snow, salt and road grime can eat your trailer alive and rustproofing provides additional protection.
Hotshot trailer brake requirements vary across different states, with most states requiring an auxiliary brake system on trailers weighing over 3,000 lbs. The three common brake systems for goosenecks are hydraulic surge, air brakes and electric brakes, of which each is ideal for certain applications.
Hydraulic surge is commonly used on trailers up to 5,500 lbs. It is easy to set up as it does not require special wiring. When properly adjusted, surge brakes perform smoothly and efficiently, making it a suitable option if you intend to frequently carry fragile loads. The main drawback though for this type of braking system is that it requires regular servicing and maintenance to ensure it will properly work.
If you are looking for a system with low maintenance requirements, you should go with electric braking systems. One tricky part though for this type of brake is that it requires a brake controller that should be properly adjusted to match the trailer weight.
Air brakes are also a popular option. As air supply is limitless, the pressure remains constant and it will operate even if the system has minor leaks. Air brakes are reliable; however, it also requires frequent maintenance and monitoring.
When deciding which decking material to choose, the intended use, cost and durability should come into play. Options for decking include the Southern yellow pine (SYP), oak, steel and aluminum. It’s easy to identify the right material for your trailer if you know the pros and cons of these materials.
SYP is widely available in North America, making it an affordable decking material. Aside from its low cost, SYP is also strong and solid which is why it is a suitable choice for heavy hauling. SYP easily absorbs treatment so you have nothing to worry about rot and decay. The downside is that it is prone to twisting and warping.
Rough oak is an ideal decking material for trailers that are intended for carrying heavy equipment and vehicles. Oak is tough and strong, but it does not allow for optimal chemical absorption during treatment.
Steel is another common material for decking. It is durable and dependable, but its biggest pitfall is the fact that it can rust. With this in mind, you can expect regular maintenance and monitoring to keep the deck in good shape.
Aluminum is rust and corrosion resistant. It is also lightweight which translates to higher cargo capacity and fuel economy. Even with these good qualities, some manufacturers shy away from using this material as it is more expensive and not as dense and strong as steel.
Choosing a suitable gooseneck trailer can be tricky but your knowledge on the fundamental features we listed above should help you in making a decision. Doing your homework before selecting a trailer will help you gain optimum benefits from your investment.