Step Trailer - Truck Agents - A smart place for smart agents (2023)

A deck trailer is an ordinary open deck trailer that is versatile in its abilities. A step deck, or commonly known as a drop deck, is capable of transporting a wide range of legal goods and oversized shipments. This article covers the details of the deck trailer. A general discussion of the towing capacities, trailer dimensions, cargo dimensions, axle assemblies, and weights and accessories that make it an effective trailer type for the flatbed market. The pros and cons are discussed in the various trailer specifications.

A note on measurements.

Dimensions may vary based on trailer and government regulations. Make sure you understand the condition and towing requirements before transporting cargo. Please do NOT use any of the dimensions listed below as they are average values ​​and for general industry understanding.


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transport freight

A step platform can support a variety of loads, from palletized goods to machinery. Flatbed trailers have a distinct advantage over box trailers or box trailers because a stepped deck allows side or top loading with a crane.

Step platform dimensions

As with most trailer types, the dimensions may differ from both the actual dimensions of the trailer and the dimensions of the goods.

Step platform length

The main benefit of a tiered deck is that the lower deck height allows for larger pieces while still being cool. The sacrifice that a tiered deck makes for this benefit is typically less cargo weight and less deck space to carry longer items.

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When it comes to the length of a low-loader, there are several dimensions to consider.

  1. Largo overall- Overall length between 48' and 53'. Many drivers choose 53ft trailers as they may have more space on the lower deck.
  2. Bottom cover length- The lower deck or lower deck usually ranges from 37' to 41'.
  3. Top cover length- The upper deck or upper deck ranges from 10' - 12'.
  4. goods length- Because low bed trailers are so versatile in terms of the goods they can transport, you'll see all versions of the product in Top Bed, Bottom Bed, Top Bed Overhang, and Rear Bed Overhang.
  5. Excess loads- The permissible overloads generally refer to the rear overhang of the trailer. The amount of legal deductible varies between states before a license is required. Some states allow a 3 foot overhang on 48 foot trailers and no overhang on 53 foot trailers.

Width of step platform

The width is pretty straight. Most flatbed trailers are 8'6" (102") wide. This is also the legal limit for the width of cargo, making it one of the first dimensions known and understood in the trucking industry.

  1. trailer width- Most flatbed trailers are 8'6" (102") tall. Deck Width is often referred to as "102" and refers to the 102 inch dimension.
  2. Legal goods width- The maximum legal dimension of the merchandise is 8'6" (102"). Any load that exceeds this limit is considered oversized and requires government approval.
  3. width loads- If goods are larger than 8ft 6in, full size state license is required. If the cargo gets too wide, about 12 feet wide or more, a full-size escort is also required. This depends on many factors.
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Height of the step platform

There are several height measurements to consider with a step deck trailer. It is important to consider the actual height of the goods when determining what is required for transportation as trailer dimensions can vary between trailers.

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  1. Deckhöhe- This generally refers to the height of the lower deck from the floor to the top of the lower deck. As these platform heights can vary, it is very important to know the exact height of the goods to ensure the transport team can legally transport them.
    • 3'6" (42") - standard platform height.
    • 3' (36") - Low Profile Step Height
  2. step height or incline- The trailer step or drop is the transition height from the upper (front) deck to the lower deck. This step is approximately 1'6" - 1'9" tall.
  3. goods height- The advantage of a step car over a flatbed truck is that the loading height of a step car can legally support heights of 10 feet and sometimes more, depending on the trailer.
  4. extra high altitude- Step decks can carry goods over 10ft, but full-size permit is required for cargo, and in some cases a large wagon or escort is required. Shipping high-altitude cargo is more expensive due to the specific nature of the cargo, the government permits required, and any additional escort fees that may also be required.

Tandem vs. axle groups

The difference between the two is mainly in weight. Most 5 axle semi-trailer combinations use a trailer configured with a trailer tandem axle configuration. The step decks you'll find use both methods.

Any trailer configuration must not exceed the gross weight limit of 80,000 pounds.


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This is the traditional trailer axle set and allows for 17,000 pounds per axle or 34,000 pounds per tandem set.


  • Tandem axles can be moved forward or backward to adjust load weight.
  • Slower tire wear.
  • more manoeuvrable.

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An open axle divides the tandem axle group 10'. Each axle is treated as a single axle group that has a weight limit of 20,000 lbs. In this combination, the extended axle can support 40,000 lbs.


  • More forgiving in load balancing.
  • Smoother ride.

In contrast

  • Some state and provincial restrictions.


There are many Step Deck accessories that add versatility and functionality to a Step Deck trailer for both the customer and the rider. Some accessories have added value because there are additional costs in the load. Canvas is a prime example of an accessory that requires more expense. Some of the accessories listed below are not team oriented, an accessory can also be truck or driver supplied, meaning a driver or truck has a license or experience that not all drivers or trucks have and therefore adds value.

  • The plan- Open deck trailers, including stepped decks, for hauling cargo exposed to weather, road debris and wind (even at highway speeds). A tarpaulin can help protect the goods, but it is also not infallible. Banners can tear or have holes in them, and if a customer has delicate items, additional protection is needed, e.g. e.g. boxes etc.
  • mortgage process- The ramps allow the vehicles to drive onto the rear trailer or also onto the upper platform. Not all ramps can support the same weight, so the driver can confirm the capabilities of his ramps.
  • Ownlevelierer- A dock leveler to extend the upper platform is available for long goods or when the platform is fully utilized. Multiple load levelers can provide the necessary support for goods and allow a stage to function more like a platform. Cargo Levelers can also be built from materials such as 4x4 wood.
  • stretched trailer- An extendable step deck allows for the extension of the lower deck to carry longer goods that are typically oversized for over-length.
  • bobbin frame- These racks are specially designed to provide security to steel coils and prevent them from rolling or shifting.
  • tubular piles- Most commonly found on flatbed trailers, they act as a fence to provide more security when transporting certain materials. The piles rise vertically from the sides of the trailer.
  • TWIC-Karte- The Transportation Worker Identification Credential is a government-issued card that gives drivers access to secure areas of the country's maritime facilities and ships, often referred to as ports.
  • California legal- California is a state that has certain wheel spacing restrictions. These limitations can often affect low-loaders with an open axle configuration. Some coverages do not meet these requirements and are therefore not legal in California.
  • You have- Not all porters, devices and riders are allowed to travel to Canada.


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