Welcome back to our series How to Buy the Best Flatbed Trailer

Today we’re talking about the 5 ways of how to prevent semi-trailer flatbed damage while Loading 

Flatbeds are prone to damage, whether top, rear, or side-loaded; here are some pointers to help prevent damage while loading your flatbed semi-trailer.

Preventing Damage to Your Flatbed Side Rails

Most of the time, you’re loading from the side with a forklift, which can cause damage to the side rail, sometimes called rub rails.


Pipe Spools on a Flatbed Semi Trailer.


Consider the following upgrades on the front end for a more durable side rail.

  • Upgrade to ½” Side Rails
    We recommend upgrading your side rails to as much as 1/2″ to help prevent damage.
  • Double Up on Pipe Spools
    Doubling pipe spools provides additional support and increases your options for load securement.

How to Prevent Damage from Rear Loading

What if you’re rear-loading? Most flatbeds are not properly set up to back up to a dock with a forklift loading from the rear.

  • Add a Cross Member to the Rear of the Trailer
    Adding a cross member can help prevent forklift damage to the end of the trailer. We typically recommend this on any flatbed for additional support.
  • Add a Rear Tread Plate
    Help prevent damage from a dock plate coming down by adding a tread plate to the rear. It adds extra support and will help prevent damage over the long run.

Prevent Screws From Popping and Waves in the Floor.

Consider your cross member spacing and composition to help prevent those popping crews and waves in your floor.

  • Aluminum Crossmember Spacing
    If you are rear loading or have concentrated loads, we recommend decreasing your cross members to a maximum spacing of 12″ because aluminum cross members have more deflection than steel.
  • Steel Crossmember Spacing
    Steel cross members are stronger, so you can get away with spacing your cross members at 16″; however, you might still want to consider 12″ spacing.


Know What Your Trailer is Capable of Hauling

Most importantly, you need to understand how your trailer is spec’d and the load it’s equipped to handle.

A trailer with 24″ cross member spacing, and no side cross braces, should not be rear-loaded; also, be mindful of the load toward the outside of the rail because the trailer is not set up to support the weight.

Utility Keystone works hard at finding the best solution to meet the demands of your hauling requirements.



Read more in this series, How to Buy the Best Flatbed Trailer.



Shop Trailer Inventory

New and Used

Shop Parts

Over 24k Parts OEM and Aftermarket

Don’t Miss Out On Deals!




Read Articles on How to Buy the Best Dry Beds

Everything There is to Know Before Buying Your Next Flatbed Trailer

How to Buy Flatbeds Posts, Semi-Trailer Blog|

Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy Your Next Reefer Trailer. We’ll take a deep dive into how you can buy the best reefer trailer spec’d with your particular requirements and needs in mind.

Go to Top