Tom's Trailer TalkQUICK TIP

CONSTRUCTION - The DOT regulates lights, hitches, and more, but not construction. Choosing a safe well-constructed trailer is on you. Here’s what you need to know:

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates lighting, brakes, running gear and safety hitching equipment. They do not regulate how horse trailers should be constructed. Choosing a durable, safe, well-constructed trailer for your horses is on you.

  • Aluminum is 1/3rd the strength of steel. A quality constructed aluminum trailer will use more aluminum to compensate for the lack of strength. A low quality aluminum constructed trailer will not. The strength, quality and price of an aluminum constructed trailer is related to the amount of aluminum used and explains the wide gap in the prices.
  • A lower priced aluminum constructed trailer will usually be lighter in weight than a higher priced aluminum trailer. 
  • Lightweight aluminum dividers, breast/butt bars, and center posts are more apt to break in a minor incident from sudden stops or sudden swerving resulting in rips and tears that can cause lacerations.
  • Steel dividers, breast/butt bars and center posts that are the same size and thickness as aluminum divider, bars and posts are approximately 3 times their strength. Steel can be stressed beyond its capacity if impact is strong enough, but usually bends rather than breaks.
  • Aluminum corrodes; untreated steel rusts. Alkaline in urine and manure is the primary cause of corrosion in aluminum floors. Salt and water are the primary causes of rust in untreated steel. Trailers using Galvanized, Galvanealed, and powder coated steel eliminates rust. Most all today’s manufacturers use treated steel.
    Corroded Aluminum Floor and Rusting Trailer
  • Aluminum floors should be scrubbed often with soap and water to prevent corrosion.
  • High grade pressure treated pine floors with boards laid front to back, supported by well-placed galvanized cross members are less likely to deteriorate and are easy to maintain and replace if needed.
  • Quality rubber mats give relief to horses’ legs when trailering.
  • Rumber flooring needs additional bracing to reduce the flexing and requires rubber mats to compensate for the hard surface.
  • A steel-like structure surrounding your horse will withstand a greater impact than an aluminum structure.
  • Aluminum conducts heat. Single and double aluminum sidewalls and aluminum roofs will retain and radiate heat.
Tom's Trailer Talk "Quick Tips" are provided by EquiSpirit Trailer Co.
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