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Heavy-duty

Buying used trailers: Flatbeds, unique trailer applications

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Jason Morgan is the editor of Fleet Equipment. He has more than 14 years of B2B journalism experience covering the likes of trucking and construction equipment, real estate, movies and craft beer industries.

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Adding a used vocational trailer such as a flatbed, drop deck or dump trailers to your fleet requires different considerations compared with dry vans.

“The most important thing for fleet managers is that they take the time required to do the due diligence when purchasing any piece of used equipment,” stressed Mark Sabol, director of retail sales for East Manufacturing. Sabol explained that East accepts and may stock up to 300 used trade-in trailers at various times. Typically, these are flatbed, drop deck, dump and refuse trailers, and range in age from five to 40-plus years old.

When you’re shopping around for a specialty trailer, you’ll want to stay focused on the overall condition of the unit, looking for excessive dirt and grime and excessive wear—all of which are red flags. Be sure to check the following components:

✓ Kingpin wear;
✓ Kingpin plate wear;
✓ Galvanic corrosion between dissimilar metal surfaces (especially at the suspension and fifth wheel plate areas);
✓ Suspension bushings;
✓ Tire and brake condition;
✓ Tarp condition (dump/refuse trailers);
✓ Floor liner condition; and
✓ Floor wear conditions.

You’ll also want to talk with your trailer dealer about the history of the trailer.

“There is no national service history database available in the truck industry like you find on the automotive side, so service history availability is typically dependent on where a trailer has been serviced,” Sabol said. “If work was done at East, then we would be able to obtain any work history by reviewing past customer invoices.”

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You should expect a reputable trailer dealer to do a full evaluation of a used trailer before it hits the lot. East, for example, takes the following steps:

  1. The trailer undergoes a complete service inspection.
  2. The completed inspection is reviewed by management to determine the work to be done to the trailer.
  3. East can update FHWA certification if required by the customer or sell the trailer “as is, where is.” For the latter, East discloses the inspection report if requested by the potential buyer.
  4. East can also employs its East Service Center, which can refurbish a trailer as a customer requests.

“With a 24-bay Service Center, we provide maintenance and repair services on-site for all makes and all models of flatbed, drop deck, dump and refuse trailers,” Sabol said. Service, diagnostics and preventive maintenance procedures include: brake systems (ABS diagnostics and air systems); suspensions: re-bushing and rebuilding, alignments and complete suspension replacement; floor repair and replacement; and frame straightening and repair.

This is just one part of the June issue’s series of used trailer articles. Read the rest here:

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