JTI Inc. Cleveland

Trailers, Hitches, & Maintenance

JTI, Cleveland trailer experts

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Hitched Up and Ready to Roll in Cleveland 2016-2017

So another year is rolling by. We serviced and sold a lot of trailers, but that’s been true for 80+ years. What’s new?

In the trailer and hitch business, what’s new is technology. Automotive technology has become so familiar we find that our mechanical skills are even more rare than they were 5 years ago. As of today, trailers don’t come with indicator lights telling you your tire pressure is low or your battery’s about to die – but that may not be too far off in the future.

At this year’s NATDA show, trailer technology was on full display. While we have been in the business for more than 80 years, we don’t “just’ rely on our experience. We are constantly incorporating new techniques in our shop, keeping our technicians on their toes with training and new tools, and always working with our vendors to give our customers the best value for their money.

We know a trailer is an investment in your business – and it’s our business to keep you rolling!

Old Trailer? New Trailer? Ohio, We Can Fix That

Locally, we’re finding more of our customers want to customize their trailers to fit their needs and work even harder for them and their businesses. Whether you need to reinforce your ramp door or customize an enclosed trailer to meet your specifications, give us a call. We’ve #beenthere and #donethat as they say on Twitter.

Cleveland Predictions for 2017?

We’ll go out on a limb and say we might have predicted 2016’s Cavaliers would win the NBA Championship. We could say we knew how excited we’d be, but frankly, it was even better than we’d thought it would be. That Tribe/White Sox series was AMAZING and gave a whole new meaning to “wait til next year!”

(If there’s one thing Terry Francona knows about, it’s teamwork.)

Cleveland Browns Still Make Us Wonder

Cleveland Browns: Always something to talk about

We’re not ready to do any fortune-telling regarding the Browns…

What About Snow in Cleveland this Year?

We can absolutely, positively promise you, we’re going to get some snow! How much no one knows but all sources say it’ll be a lot more than last season. What we can promise: we’ll be here, six days a week, working on all makes and models of plows.

Trailer, hitch and road-tested tips on Twitter

What was new in your business in 2016? We’re incorporating more technology to serve our customers better.

Looking for predictions for Cleveland business in 2017? We really can’t claim to be fortune tellers.

Need trailer and hitch experts? That’s us. Give us a call at 440.232.4311 or contact us at JTIinc.com.

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Does it Make Sense to Buy a Used Trailer?

Many customers call us because they think they want a used trailer.  Not surprisingly, the primary reason they say that is because they want to save money – and that’s a good reason! But in most cases, we explain that buying a used trailer can be less of a “value” than they think at first.

Below, a little information about how we see it. But before we go there, a little disclosure is in order. Chiefly, we want to to explain that while we sell more new trailers than used trailers (and equipment), it’s not because we make more money on new equipment. In fact, the margin on a used trailer is often a tad higher than on a new one. It’s not exactly a straightforward equation, as the cost factors are different. For example, there are often more administrative expenses associated with selling used trailers (verifying actual ownership and obtaining certificates of origin, for example). But the point is this: we don’t really care whether we sell a new or a used trailer. What we strive to do is sell the RIGHT trailer to each customer for the job(s) they want to do.

Trailers, after all, are supposed to make our work – and therefore our lives – a little easier. Well. Enough with the philosophical side of things. Let’s talk about new and used trailers, and find out what makes sense for you!

Are Used Trailers Cheaper than New Ones?

Used trailers are, of course, typically cheaper than new trailers. In that way, they’re much like cars. However, while a used car with light mileage might be a good deal, there aren’t many trailers with “light mileage.” Trailers are typically used a lot, or not at all.

A trailer that’s been used a lot is likely to have been overloaded more than a few times, and possibly under-maintained as well. A trailer that’s not been used at all will have other problems. Dry rot on tires is a sure sign. Another common but less obvious sign is rust, can which can affect breaks, bearings and axles.

Evaluating a Used Trailer

We’ve written about this before. So much of the answer to the new-or- used question depends on the condition of the trailer. And that means you need to understand a little bit about trailer construction, materials, and the most likely points of failure. Another major consideration when thinking about buying a used trailer: how handy are you, and how experience

When looking at a used trailer, pay primary attention to these major items:

  • Trailer Frame  Is it sagging at all?  How does it feel when you stand on the floor of the trailer?
  • Trailer Brakes  Yes, most brake problems can be fixed, but like trailer lights, brakes are important. Make sure they work before you put the trailer to work for you.
  • Springs and shackles Springs can often be adjusted. If the bolts in spring shackles are elongated, however, that can tell you that the trailer has high mileage, has been seriously overloaded, and/or hasn’t been maintained on schedule. Both springs and shackles, however, can be replaced.
  • Axle condition  If your axle is broken, you’re not going. We recamber axles, can order new ones, and even make custom axles here.
  • Trailer equalizer and bushings  Like axles, important items to ensure the safe operation of your trailer.
  • Gate(s) and door functionality  If the gates, doors, or locking mechanisms are not working very well, you stand to lose your stuff. We can virtually guarantee that will ruin your day. While trailer locks and gates aren’t complicated, they’re critical to securing your stuff.

You’ll also want to check these minor, but still important, items on a used trailer: 

  • Exterior lights  Most lights problems can be fixed quickly, easily, and inexpensively. However, lights aren’t optional, so make sure yours work!
  • Coupler  Does the locking lever work? A crack underneath the coupler usually indicates the trailer has been backed into something. Also, check for thin spots in the ball socket.
  • Tongue and jack   These are important, but if they’re sub-par, don’t worry, as these can usually be easily fixed (or replaced)
  • Safety chain  You hope you’ll never need it, but it’s something you need to know you can depend on!

Just How Used Are the Trailer’s Tires? 

When you’re looking at a used trailer, tires are an easy item to check. Of course, you’re not “just” checking on tire condition. You want to look for uneven wear or signs of rubbing that may tell you there’s a ride problem. Once you understand the issue, you can determine how easy it is to fix (and how much it might cost!).

Good news: it’s really easy to check for tire dry rot. While there’s no way to fix dry rot, replacing the tires is a quick (and relatively inexpensive) solution. When checking for dry rot, inspect the tire all the way around, as dry rot typically shows up only in one place on the tire, particularly when the trailer has been stored in one spot for a long time. Oh, and more good news: there are a few things you can do to prolong the life of your tires and prevent dry rot.


JTI, Cleveland trailer expertsPeople who depend on their trailers depend on JTI. Since 1935, we’ve been Cleveland’s Trailer & Hitch experts. Yes, we love to sell new trailers. We also love to help people keep their trailers working safely for as long as possible. Need trailer repair (new axle?), routine maintenance, parts, or something else?

Call or stop in to see why our customers have stuck with us for 80 years. www.JTIinc.com

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SOLD: Used 16′ Big Tex Landscape Trailer: Your Cleveland Workhorse!

Sold This used landscape trailer only lasted about a week on our lot. The good news? We’ll get more. Call, stop in or check our website to find out more about our current inventory.  


We just got in a used Landscape Trailer and it won’t be on our lot long. Not only is it good-looking in Forest Green, this trailer will work as hard as the best landscapers. Call us or come see it!

New LED Lights, Radial Tires, and More

Used Landscape Trailers aren’t always in great shape, but this one is. The Big Tex tube construction and fold-back tongue makes it super strong. Mesh sides, mesh gate means it can do a variety of jobs – whatever you need it to do, really. Plus, it’s in ready-to-work condition with brand new radial tires, new LED lights, and lots of extras, including a weedwacker hook.

Great Deal on a Sturdy Used Landscape Trailer – Pick up in Cleveland

At $1650 it’s a great deal. Come see it on our lot or call with questions: 440.232.4411

(Want to share with someone? The deets are also on Cleveland Craigslist.)


JTI, Cleveland trailer experts


People who depend on their trailers have depended on JTI since 1935. Stop by to see us 6 days a week or check in with us anytime on Twitter and Facebook.


So You Wanna…Buy a Used Trailer?

Is it better to buy a used or new trailer? The best answer we can give you: It depends.

How to Evaluate a Used Trailer

Whether you plan to use the trailer for business or a hobby, you need a trailer that’s suited to the job it’ll do. If you’re thinking about purchasing a used trailer, you’ll want to pay attention to details – there are some things that can be fixed, some that can’t, and some that don’t matter.

When looking at a used trailer, here’s what we tell our customers:  

elongated shackle bolts

This definitely needs to be replaced!

  • Check for a sagging frame. Sagging is a bad thing. Beyond a visual check, you may want to jump up and down on the floor to feel how it responds. (To be honest, we may respond by laughing, but seriously, it’s a good thing to do.)
  • Test exterior light operation. Failure isn’t a huge problem, as most problems with lights can be fixed easily. However, the lights must be operational when you’re hauling – so any problems should be fixed at or before the time of purchase.
  • Check brake operation. Same as above – most brake problems can be fixed, but as we’re sure you know, brakes aren’t optional.
  • Examine the springs and shackles. Elongated bolts in spring shackles may indicate the trailer has high mileage and hasn’t been maintained on schedule or has been significantly overloaded. It’s a serious issue that needs to be fixed, but once the springs are fixed, they’re ready to roll. (Just make sure the rest of the trailer is, too.)
  • Check coupler operation. You want to be sure the locking lever works easily, among other things. Look underneath the locking mechanism to be sure the coupler will latch. If the half-moon shoe is cracked underneath, it’s a tell-tale sign the trailer has been backed into something. Also, check for any thin spots in the ball socket.
  • Make sure you understand the tongue and jack operation, and that both are in good shape.
  • How do the axles look? Many signs of wear are normal, and not cause for concern. Some, however, need to be addressed or may even indicate you’ll need to replace the axle(s). Don’t worry – we do that here.
  • What about the equalizer and bushings? Same as above…although these can be a little pricier, and involve more labor.
  • Kick the tires. OK, maybe not literally kick, but besides general wear, you should look for uneven wear or signs of rubbing that can indicate a ride problem. Again, some can be easily remedied, others may not be worth the hassle or expense. Always check for dry rot. That’s one thing that can only be remedied by replacing the tire. Remember to check all the way around the tire, as dry rot is usually obvious in just one place on the tire, especially if the trailer has been stored in grass or sat on a stone surface for a long time.
  • Safety chain check! Easily replaced, but important.
  • Test gate and door functionality. Make sure any locking mechanisms are in good working order – or if they’re not, that you get them fixed right away. Again, these are usually very simple and fairly inexpensive fixes, but they’re important if you want to secure your stuff!

Of course, these are some of the things we do when evaluating a trailer for trade or consignment. While the vast majority of our trailer inventory is new, at any given time, we’ll have a few used trailers on our lot. And, when you’re looking at our trailers, we’ll be happy to run through the list of what to consider when buying used vs. new.

Good News About Buying a Used Trailer

The trailer pictured above is a used trailer, more than 10 years old. It was used according to the manufacturer’s specifications, well-maintained, and it shows. (Plug for the store – It’s for sale!) In this case, buying used means you’ll get a high payload capacity trailer for far less than a similar new one would cost. And, the owner made some great customizations, including extra-tall ramps and supports. That’s what can be great about buying a used trailer – if your needs are similar to those of the original owners, chances are you’ll come away with a pretty good value.

General Considerations When Purchasing a Trailer

Here’s a general rule of thumb: When it comes to retail pricing, trailers depreciate about 10% the first year, and 5% each year after that. (And trade-ins are figured on wholesale or cash value – but that’s another story, for a different post.) It’s worth noting that trailers don’t depreciate or age quite ike automobiles, for some obvious reasons.

First, they’re less complicated machines – unless you’re buying a refrigerated trailer, you don’t have to worry about the air conditioner or compressor going bad. And, they’re not quite the status symbol that sports cars are.  No one is going to say, “John’s new trailer is nice, but he really should’ve waited for the 2016 model. Have you seen the grill on that thing?!”

When you’re thinking about purchasing a used trailer, the most important consideration is what has the trailer been doing for the past few years? Follow the checklist above and you should get a good idea of the general shape the vehicle is in.

Generally speaking, trailers work hard for hardworking people, and unless they’re properly cared for, they tend to get beat up. That goes for trailers and people, of course, but we only work on trailers. They’re easier to put back together! If you have questions about new or used trailers – or anything that has to do with hitches and trailers, we’d love to hear from you.


JTI, Cleveland trailer experts


Buying your first trailer? Own a fleet? Doesn’t matter – we’re here to help. Stop in or call us, 6 days a week, at 440.232.4311.

More helpful tips & some bad jokes on Twitter and Facebook, 24/7.