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Trailering 'Rules of the Road' Updated

Written By: Eric Anderson, Jun 08, 2016
There are a wide variety of trailer regulations imposed across Canada - these regulations cover everything from annual inspections, to dimensions, to brake requirements.  Your trailer my conform to your province’s regulations, but what happens when you travel into another province?
You may be completely law-abiding in your province, then travel into the neighboring one and find-out an inspection is required the instant you enter the other jurisdiction.  Or maybe your trailer is fine, but now since  you have attached a trailer to your truck, the truck now requires an inspection.  Or maybe the load this time is heavier than last time, so last time you were OK in the next jurisdiction but this time you are not.
Flaman Trailers has grown to become North America’s largest trailer retailer.  This growth is in part due to, and brings with it a responsibility to be aware of the various provincial regulations regarding trailers.
So, Flaman Trailers VP – Steve Whittington created a “Rules of the Road” presentation to address these issues.   This presentation was first conducted at NATDA (North American Trailer Dealers Association) in 2012 and has been updated to 2016 regulations
“Rules of the Road” is available for free download here
If you have any questions or concerns about trailering, we are happy to help!
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Posted in Trailer Tips | Tagged with Information Regulations | More articles by Eric Anderson

What is the NATM?

Written By: Flaman, Marketing and Communications CoordinatorFeb 23, 2015
Before I started working at Flaman, I had never given much thought to trailer safety. I certainly had never heard of the NATM or what they did. I assumed that all trailers were built properly and that manufacturers legally had to follow a list of safety guidelines for each trailer they manufacture. Now that I have done a bit of research, I have learnt that this wasn’t always the case and that only recently NATM has implemented these guidelines. Before 1987, consumers had no way of ensuring that their trailer was safe enough to travel on the roads. Can you imagine if other industries didn’t have safety guidelines? What if car manufacturers weren’t regularly screened for safety? Trailers need to be built properly to ensure no one on the road or the loads that they carry get injured or damaged.
Trailers and safety are two words that should go hand in hand. The National Association of Trailer Manufacturing (NATM) is an organization that takes trailer safety to a new level. “NATM seeks to promote awareness of safety and best industry practices and provide a voice for trailer manufacturers and their suppliers when issues of trailer safety and regulation are considered by relevant government agencies.” As stated on their website. This has to have everyone shopping in the trailer market breathing a sigh of relief.
As a manufacturer, being a member of the NATM and producing NATM approved trailers will benefit you because it helps you maintain a degree of control over your production process. By following the guidelines that are compiled from FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) and industry best practices, you know you are making safe trailers. The inspection process involves an 80-point checklist that is filled out by NATM consultants during their initial visit. After the manufacturer is deemed successful applicants to the NATM program, they are granted a 2-year membership.
As a consumer, buying a trailer from a manufacturer who is an NATM member ensures that the trailer you are purchasing adheres to a strict set of safety guidelines. This gives you peace of mind in knowing that you are buying something that has gone through multiple safety inspections.

So if you’re looking for a new or used trailer, keep this in mind. Look for NATM dealer associate marked trailers and do your research. It’s worth it. 

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Posted in Trailer Tips | Tagged with NATM trailers safety Flaman | More articles by Flaman

Picking a Sled Trailer part 2

Written By: Steve Whittington, Trailer ManagerSep 30, 2013

Part 2 of Steve's Sled Trailer guide. To see part 1 which focuses on steel vs. aluminum click here

Picking an Enclosed Sled Trailer:  You decided you did not want to clean off your sleds every time you reach your destination. Or you need somewhere to store your machines in the summer, or you want to work on your sleds out of the wind in the staging area.  Whatever your reasons, you’re going to buy an enclosed trailer; now which type? Your options are many.

 To help you understand your options here are how they’re generally classified:

The first way enclosed sled trailers are classified is by how many sleds they carry: 2 place, 3 place or 4 place. 

The second way they are classified is by deck height: lowboy (deck is as low to the ground as possible) mid-deck (the deck is raised for some clearance but not too high, keeping the ramp angle down) and highboy (the deck is above the wheels so the platform is a full 8’ wide).

The third way the trailers are classified by is width, which tends to fall into two broad categories 7’ or 8’ wide (which is really 8’6” wide).

Lastly, the frames will either be steel or aluminum.  

 When it comes to deciding which class of trailer is right for you, it really comes down to your specific needs, but I will give you some things to consider with the most popular classes that may help your decision making.

 2 place, highboy, 8’ 6” wide:  This class of enclosed sled trailer tends to be the most economical.  It is usually single axle without brakes, so a half tonne truck can pull it with no problem.  They are often aluminum so they are quite light, which makes them even easier to move around.   It is a great starter enclosed trailer. The down side of this trailer is that unless you bump up to tandem axles you do not have a drive off front ramp, and if you add another axle and a front ramp your costs sky rocket.  That said, with a reverse option on today’s sleds, is the front drive-off ramp really needed?

 2 or 3 place, lowboy, 7 wide:  This trailer with a steel frame is also very economical.  Being 7’ wide and lower to the ground means they pull well behind a truck. Plus, they are tandem axles so their ride is smoother than a bouncy single axle trailer.  They also have a front ramp so you can drive your sleds in and out with ease.  Beyond those points this trailer is also being used year round as a traditional cargo trailer because it is just the right size – not too big, not too small. Contractors love the access to the trailer with two ramps.  The downside of these trailers is that the loading of three sleds can be difficult, but once you figure out the configuration needed it is not an issue.  As well, being only 7’ wide there is not a lot of room on the inside for cabinets and racking.

 3 or 4 place, lowboy, 8 wide:  These enclosed units have become more popular as a multi-use unit or toy haulers.  Instead of just sled trailers the ramp can be reinforced and you can haul a car or side by side MUV if you make the rear door opening high enough.  If you have a lot of different toys this becomes a really economical option. Instead of two trailers you can get one built for all your toys.  The down side is that you have full size fender boxes inside the trailer to maneuver around when loading your sleds, but trust me that is not a difficult issue, and if it is, are you sure you want to chase powder  between the trees?  The other issue with the lowboys is adding a heater. Generally the propane tanks will have to go on an extended hitch so your trailer gets a little longer overall.

 3 or 4 place, mid-deck, 8 wide: These units are another popular class of toy hauler, but with a little bit more clearance.  The extra clearance comes in handy for added features such an underbelly mounted fuel tank and propane tanks.  The fender boxes inside the units are not as high and can be easily driven over. The disadvantage of these units is the extra clearance; if it is going to be a toy hauler trailer a lot of cars will not be able to make it up the higher angled ramp.

 3 or 4 place, highboy, 8 wide: If there is a traditional enclosed sled trailer, this is it. It is still the most popular option for an enclosed sled trailer. They have a full width deck so it is very easy to drive and position your sleds for travel. The full width provides lots of room for cabinets and racking on the walls.  They have lots of clearance, they track well behind a vehicle on snowy roads, plus with all the deck clearance there are no problems adding options such as on board fueling stations or under deck mounted propane tanks.  Quite simply, they are specifically designed to load sleds and all their accessories the easiest out of all the trailers on the market and as a result, people buy them the most.  The downside of the units is the fact that they are specifically designed for hauling sleds, being so high up you have a hard time loading cargo or recreational power sport vehicles.  Lastly, again being so high up in a cross wind they act as a big sail and they push the tow vehicle around a lot.

 There many other options to consider when buying a sled trailer such as adding heat or cabinets, the type of interior walls, little features such as kick plates and floor drains...the list is endless.  I was talking to a manufacturer about his enclosed sled trailer production run this year and he estimated that 90% of the trailers will be unique coming down the line. The point is, there are a lot of choices in the market place. Make sure that when you are looking for a trailer you talk with someone that can educate you and provide you with all the options so you can get your trailer, your way.

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Posted in Trailer Tips | Tagged with sled trailer steel trailer aluminum trailer enclosed trailers | More articles by Steve Whittington

Picking a Sled Trailer part 1

Written By: Steve Whittington, Trailer ManagerSep 26, 2013

 I grew up in the small northern mining town of Thompson, Manitoba.  We were a family of sledders, four of us, but at times we had upwards of six sleds. For my brother and I we had a red Yamaha Bravo, an orange Élan and a yellow Tundra. Mom and dad had bigger machines, both Polaris, a Cutlass SS and Indie Trail. The Cutlass was eventually upgraded to a liquid cooled Indie 400, and when we got older we could take it for a rip. It was fast.

Despite having all those sleds we never had a trailer. We transported our sleds by loading them in the back of our truck by running up a snow bank or a ¾” sheet of plywood as a ramp.  Usually we took one sled but sometimes we needed to transport two.  That was a chore, turning the sleds perpendicular to the truck and hanging the tracks over the side of the box.  Those were the days.
I am sure the struggles of loading sleds in the back of trucks helped bring about the evolution of the recreational sled trailer; much as loading horses and cattle in pickups prompted the building and selling of horse and stock trailers.  Either way, the expensive cargo moved from the back of the truck to behind the truck and the differentiation started there.
I won’t bore you with all the bumps and steps along the way, but fast forward to today and there are a lot of choices out there.  Here are some points to consider:
Picking an open deck or an enclosed trailer:  An open deck trailer is significantly less cost than an enclosed sled trailer, and easier to tow than a large enclosed trailer.   If you do not mind some road slush on your sleds (salt shields/rock guards mitigate this some) and you want something easy to move around, this is the choice for you.  Now you just need to decide between steel and aluminum. 
Steel vs aluminum:  Aluminum will last longer and does not suffer as badly from weathering or mechanical road chip damage. The trailers tend to have the same capacity, but if you go with a well-built steel trailer they will be stronger and will be able to do more than just haul your sleds or recreational vehicles.  That tends to be the deciding factor between buying aluminum open deck sled trailers or steel open deck sled trailer. If you think you’re going to use it for more than just sleds, buy a steel open sled deck trailer, it will handle the abuse better.  Otherwise buy the aluminum, it pulls way easier and if you are putting on some miles you will appreciate that fact.
Stay tuned for part 2 which will look at how to choose the right enclosed trailer for you.
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Posted in Trailer Tips | Tagged with Information | More articles by Steve Whittington

Trailtech Multideck: The solution to almost all of your problems.

Written By: Mark Flaman, Jul 03, 2013

So imagine this. You've got a weekend warrior that you run at the track, and you need a lowboy trailer to throw your high horsepower car on top of. You've subsequently purchased a garden shed that measures eight feet by twelve, and you need a highboy to haul it up to the lake so that you don't have to worry about fitting it in between the fender wells. You need something that can tilt in either configuration so that you don't have to mess around with heavy ramps. Well fortunately for those of you who need this kind of versatility, we have an option that you may want to look further into.

In 2012, we started carrying the Multideck built by Trailtech in Gravelbourg SK, and saw that the optional towing configurations of this trailer are the closest thing to endless we've seen yet. You can order them with a stationary deck on the front in case you've got a skid steer and you need a place to store a bucket that doesn't move. It features a four way lift system that not only elevates from a lowboy up to a highboy and back down, but also a two-way tilt feature to get the back of the deck on the ground for ease of loading. The trailer uses an electric / hydraulic pump to actuate the lift systems, and has an optional fast-charge kit so that you can plug the trailer right into the truck to charge it.

Like the idea, but concerned about the weight on the hitch? No problem. We offer the Multideck in a gooseneck option as well. Some models come with hinged dovetails. It would be nice to one day see a charge kit built in so that you could simply plug it into a 110V receptacle, but I don't think it'll be too far down the road, as we're starting to see manufacturers implement this technology into trailers that feature electric components. Either way, you're sure to be hassled by your friends to use it on a constant basis.

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Posted in Trailer Tips | Tagged with trailtech multideck lowboy highboy configurable | More articles by Mark Flaman

First time buying a trailer?

Written By: Steve Whittington, Vice President of Marketing and CommunicationsAug 10, 2010

The first thing you need to do is qualify what your intended use is:

  • Often (2- 5 times a week)
  • Frequent (2 -5 times a month)
  • Infrequent (2 -5 times a year)

Next set of basic questions you need to answer are as follows:

  • Size required
  • Payload to be hauled
  • Any special requirements (i.e. extra tie downs)

Armed with this information you should have an idea of the amount and type of use required from your future trailer. This will help you pick a unit in the quality class you need.

The trailer world is divided much like the car world into classes of trailers of different quality, for simplicity at Flaman Trailers we simply say:

  • Good
  • Better
  • Best

The differences between the classes depend on the type of trailer, enclosed, flat deck or utility: However some generalities are as follows:

As you move towards best the strength of the frame increases, for instance a good trailer may have all light channel construction, a better many combine tubing steel with heavier channel steel with the best unit being built entirely with HSS (High Structural Steel) tubing.

The same sequence will occur with the features on the units.Good trailers will have a straight springaxle, Better a torsion while Best may have an adjustable torsion.

So knowing the quality of the unit you require will help you and a trailer product specialist pick your required unit.

Another major item to consider is who are you buying from? There are so many manufacturers and dealers popping up that have only been in business for a few years one must question whether they will be present down the road to service your unit, or provide warranty.

Flaman Trailers has been in business for over 50 years as have several other dealers, but not many so be aware! Buy from accredited dealerships that can support you and the product you have purchased. Your trailer needs to be serviced at least annually and you want a dealership that cantake care of you. The final and a very important consideration is the trailer brand which you are purchasing. Flaman has partner manufacturers that have been in business for many years, known in the industry, and stand behind their products. As well Flaman Trailers support Canadian manufacturers. Trailtech Inc and Southland Trailer Corp are the two largest and oldest Canadian manufacturers that build for Canadian conditions. Do you think a trailer built in Texas has the heavy gauge wire to stand up to a Canadian winter?

So there are a lot of things to consider but to summarize

  1. Determine the amount of use and what you need to haul
  2. Determine the class of trailer that will work for you
  3. Chose a dealer that has a proven track record in the industry
  4. Pick a quality brand of trailer. (I would pick Canadian)

All the other details in between a professional trailer product specialist will be able to guide you through… have fun!

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Posted in Trailer Tips | Tagged with Information | More articles by Steve Whittington