How to Select a Trailer
What should I look for when choosing a trailer company?
Experience. Sooner has been building trailers for over 60 years. No other aluminum trailer company has a team of key people with so many years of experience in producing high-quality aluminum gooseneck trailers. We can provide you peace-of-mind that we will there for you, providing support, including warranty work.
Why should I buy an aluminum trailer instead of a steel trailer?
Horse owners now have a choice between aluminum and steel trailers. Aluminum trailers traditionally hold their value longer and, with just minimum maintenance, are far less likely to rust and corrode. Plus, most trailer owners report that aluminum trailers pull much easier. However, if you choose to purchase an aluminum trailer, make sure that's what you're actually getting. Many companies producing "aluminum" trailers are in fact only wrapping the frame in aluminum sheeting. Unfortunately, beneath the sheeting on these so-called "aluminum" trailers is a heavy steel frame. Steel will rust if exposed to the elements. Even if it is painted or coated, rocks, debris and the constant flex of the trailer as it travels can peel or chip the coating and allow moisture to do its dirty work.
What type of floor do you recommend?
Sooner trailers are manufactured with an extruded floor that is corrugated allowing the floor mat to “air out” underneath. Some trailer manufacturers use a flat floor that will “sag” between the cross members or an all extruded board that is flat, allowing the rubber mat no “breathing” room to air out. Some other trailer manufacturers use side-to-side extruded planks that lack proper drainage. The Sooner extruded flooring is interlocking, and when our extrusion locks together it provides for one of the strongest floors in the industry. With a full-length extruded floor running length wise and 4 inch I-beams running width wise, our floors are built like a house!
What type of wall construction is best?
The interior wall and floor frame on every Sooner trailer is all-aluminum. Many trailer manufacturers use a heavy steel inner wall and floor frame that is covered with an exterior aluminum floor or wall sheet providing a rust and deterioration point inside of your new “aluminum” trailer. Be sure and do the “magnet test” on the floor and side-wall sections when shopping for your next trailer. Some manufacturers attempt to side step the rust issue on the steel frames they use by powder coating them, and then they breech the coating by drilling thousands of holes into the steel, allowing for the rust process to begin.
How important is the roof of a trailer?
The roof on your trailer is an extremely important component for the overall structure and for climate control. All Sooner trailers feature a one-piece roof system that ties to the upright posts adding additional strength and durability. Some trailer manufacturers use composite materials that are laminated, which can be affected by the elements, are subject to de-lamination and water leaks, and don’t add strength to the construction of the trailer.
How can I tell if my trailer is built with safety in mind?
In the trailer industry, safety starts up front. With safety in mind, we designed our kingpin so that our coupler tube uses a pass-through design that allows for two-point welding, thus creating a much safer design than the butt-welded design used by many other manufacturers. We have a full-frame modular nose design that extends into the drop area, which is designed to absorb impact to help keep your precious cargo safe. Other aluminum trailer manufacturers do not use a full-frame nose construction in order to save money but at the expense of safety.
What type of wiring is best?
All Sooner aluminum trailers feature sealed beam exterior lighting that provides a lighting system requiring less maintenance than the traditional “Light Bulb” type systems found on most other trailers. All of the wiring on Sooner trailers is enclosed but easily exposed for occasional maintenance and inspection that is required from time to time. All electrical wiring that passes through aluminum is protected with rubber grommets to “minimize” wear and potential electrical shorts. All electrical connections on Sooner trailers feature more expensive heat shrink type connectors eliminating the “rust” factor that causes many cheaper connectors found on most other brand trailers to fail. All Sooner trailers feature a “plug in” type pre-fabricated wiring harness much like the wiring harness found on your automobile. This type of harness system is more expensive but provides for a wiring system with the quality and longevity found in the automobile industry; make sure your trailer doesn’t have clip or pinch type connectors.
How can I tell if my horses will stay warm in the winter?
All Sooner horse and livestock trailers with inside lining are insulated with 1 5/8” insulation. Even our doors are insulated. Insulation not only moderates the temperature but also allows for a quieter and calming horse area. Be sure your new aluminum horse trailer comes standard with wall insulation.
How can I tell if a trailer’s construction will hold up against rust?
One area to look at is the trailer’s fasteners. Sooner trailers are manufactured with huck bolt type fasteners. These are the same fasteners used in the semi-trailer industry. These fasteners are xylan coated and will not rust, turn black or bleed onto your new aluminum trailer. Be sure your next trailer is built with the xylan - huck type fasteners installed in the sub-frame and kingpin areas.
What kind of warranty can I expect?
Sooner trailers have some of the longest warranties in the business. We stand behind our horse and livestock trailers with a 8-year warranty on the frame, which includes top rail, bottom rail, cross member, I-beam and main drop gussets. All other manufactured parts (excluding wear items) come with a three-year warranty.
How can I tell if the horse area of my horse trailer will hold up?
All interior walls in the horse area on all Sooner models are lined floor to roof. All horse trailers are lined with .100 thickness aluminum side sheets on the bottom 4 feet of the horse area for safety and longevity. Some other trailer manufacturers line their horse area too, but remember to ask about the thickness and make sure it's aluminum!
How can I tell if the horse area is safe enough for my horses?
Inspect the horse area and make sure that there are not any unsafe, protruding parts. Divider latches found on all Sooner products are by far the best in the industry. Our patented divider latch is flush mounted in a sidewall providing for a clean, smooth wall surface when the dividers are in the open position. Each divider features a spring loaded hinge point allowing your dividers to remain open when loading your trailer, which reduces the chance of injury during loading and unloading that is possible when the dividers are swinging in a half open, half closed position. Be sure and look at the latch system when shopping for your next aluminum trailer.