Transporting paving equipment has become a specialized industry for a lot of trailer manufacturers. In fact, many companies now offer models designed exclusively for hauling paving equipment.
"The days of building a trailer in the backyard are gone," says John DeGeorge, national sales manager, Eager Beaver Trailers. "Today, trailers are very high tech with air ride suspension, automatic ride height adjustment and ABS brakes."
One of the most identifiable characteristics of a paving trailer is its low load angle, which is often necessary for loading paving equipment due to low clearances and overhangs.
"A lot of paving equipment requires a low approach angle," says Rick Bodnar, sales manager, Load King Trailers. "Obstructions on the front of the machines prevent climbing at steep angles."
To accommodate those obstructions, paving trailers typically have less than a 12-degree loading angle, compared to about 18 to 22 degrees for a more traditional, general-purpose trailer. Some trailers currently on the market have ramps with load angles as low as 8 and 9 degrees.
Beyond a low load angle, there are several factors you will want to consider when spec'ing a trailer to haul your paving equipment. Manufacturers suggest you ask yourself the following questions.
How much weight will it carry?
Weight is one of the most influential aspects you will want to consider when spec'ing a trailer. "You need to start by understanding what you're going to haul," says Jim Ladner, national sales manager, Landoll. "This will allow you to purchase the right capacity trailer to handle the payload you want to move."
Consider all of the pieces of equipment you intend to haul. Be sure to include any rollers, brooms, grinders, etc. "People have a tendency to want to haul multiple pieces on a trailer," says Bret Jorgensen, district sales manager, Trail King. That's okay, he indicates, as long as you don't overload the trailer and push it over the legal weight limit.
This limit varies from state to state, so you need to know which route you plan to take, especially if you cross state borders. For example, Kansas has different weight limits than Missouri, and New Jersey has different limits than New York.
"If you undersize the trailer for the load, you can't permit it," says Bodnar. "Pennsylvania, for instance, will permit 52,000 pounds on two axles, whereas Tennessee will only permit 40,000 pounds on two axles."
A good starting point for determining weight limits is your local DOT permitting office. "It's also a good idea to periodically check the weight limits even if you think you know what they are," says Ladner. "Sometimes there are new regulations or changes that you might not be aware of."
Weight will also help determine which type of trailer is the best option for you. A tagalong trailer can typically accommodate up to about 25 tons. They're a good choice if you have smaller paving equipment, or if you only need to haul a single piece of equipment.
For moving multiple smaller pieces, some manufacturers offer extended decks. "Pavers, in relationship to cranes, excavators, etc., aren't that heavy," says DeGeorge. "With a dozer, you might have extra space for additional equipment, but it would be too heavy. Paving equipment isn't as heavy, so you can get multiple pieces of equipment on it if we stretch the deck length."
However, with larger-capacity tagalongs, make sure the towing vehicle is large enough to pull the intended weight. Undersizing the vehicle can compromise braking capabilities, as well as create handling issues.
Lowboy trailers can carry up to or more than double the amount of weight of the largest tagalongs. They are typically used by contractors with larger equipment, and those who want to haul multiple pieces of heavy equipment in a single load - one trailer, one tractor, one driver.
When sizing lowboys for your hauling needs, consider usable deck space between various models. Several models give you the ability to load rollers or brooms on deck space over the axles.