JTI Inc. Cleveland

Trailers, Hitches, & Maintenance


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Trailer Safety Inspection: Value & Peace of Mind

At JTI, we’re serious about safety. And we can prove it:JTI_logo+with Taglinelow

Our basic safety inspection starts at just $65 for a single-axle trailer. (Call us to quote on your double-axle or construction trailer.)

Avoid Accidents and Tickets with a 26-Point Trailer Safety Check

The Safety Circle Checklist includes a 26-point inspection, rating, and alerts about any potential problems with your trailer’s –

  • Coupler
  • Safety chains
  • Brake actuator and/or Electric Brakes
  • Wiring
  • Jack, Trailer Bed Jack and/or Dampener
  • Tongue Members
  • Front Cross Member
  • Front Clearance Lights & Reflectors
  • Tires (inspect the tread depth, age, condition of sidewalls and valve stems)
  • Wheels and Alignment
  • Suspension
  • Brakes
  • Lights and reflectors
  • License (including bracket & plate)
  • Tailgate (where applicable)
  • Trailer Bed Flooring and Safety Latches

The trailer is inspected in 8 different positions. And you want to talk about value?

Keeping you, your crew, your equipment and everything you haul safe on the road is worth it, period. But for argument’s sake, let’s say it prevents you from getting pulled over for a busted tail light or malfunctioning turn signal. Instantly, you’ve saved more than twice the price by avoiding a ticket.

Let’s schedule your trailer Safety Circle check today.


JTI, Cleveland trailer expertsPeople who depend on their trailers depend on JTI. ‘Nuff said. Call us at 440.2323.4311 or contact us online. We know trailers, and work 6 days a week to keep our customers rolling.  www.JTIinc.com


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So You Wanna Buy a Trailer: Getting the Right Trailer for the Job

Whether you’re new to hauling or looking to add a new trailer to your business fleet, the first thing to consider is not, what trailer should I buy? Rather, the question is, what do you need the trailer for?

Open Trailers, Construction Trailers, Utility Trailers

While open trailers can be lighter weight than enclosed trailers of the same size (and therefore less expensive) they also offer little protection for your cargo – from the elements and from theft.

Another consideration when shopping for an open trailer: they’re not all flat! Car haulers, deckover trailers and flatbeds come in different configurations, frame styles and with a variety of ramp options. The best way to make sure you’re getting what you need is to take a look at the trailer, live and in person, before you buy. 

Enclosed Trailers

Most landscaping contractors, home remodelers, and other businesses that need to protect expensive tools, equipment and supplies prefer enclosed trailers. There are many options on enclosed trailers that need to be carefully considered before purchase.

Doors are a major feature that can make or break trailer usefulness. Cargo doors, barn doors, and ramp doors are among the most common options. In many cases, trailers RackEmmanufacturers offer a side door or “man door” option, which is particularly popular with landscaping trailers.

After you buy an enclosed trailer, you may find that accessories and customizations make it even more useful.

Specialty Trailers, Custom Trailers

Boat trailers, car haulers and tow dollies are among the most-requested types of specialty trailers. Refer or refrigerated trailers are also in high demand, especially for food truck service businesses. Obviously, you need make sure your trailer is right for your job and your needs, it pays to remember that they’re trailers first, and you’ll want to keep it in good working order as long as possible to get the most out of your investment.

Work with a local business that knows trailers, hauling, and has a good relationship with a number of vendors and manufacturers. Cleveland RTA custom trailer

With specialty and customized trailers, in particular, experience in the trailer industry really matters. For example, here’s a custom trailer we outfitted to handle the very specific needs of a municipal agency. Read more about how we customized this enclosed trailer.

 

 

Trailer Details that Matter (Hint: They all matter!)

Trailer tongue length affects steering and stability. Taillights (are a critical safety component! and) need to be projected from the elements to remain in good working condition. Your trailer’s weight and intended use will typically dictate what type of braking system you’ll need. From axles and brakes to frame length, construction and Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), myriad details about your trailer affect its performance, handling and reliability.

Trailer Service and Routine Maintenance

While regular service will help keep you and your trailer rolling and working hard, if you use your trailer, eventually, something’s going to break. We’ve been in the trailer business since 1935. In Cleveland, and throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, people who depend on their trailers depend on JTI.

 

JTI, Cleveland trailer expertsFinancing a Trailer?  Naturally, there’s the trailer you want, the trailer you need, and the trailer you can afford. At JTI, we offer several financing options, so our customers find they can get pretty close to satisfying all three of those things. www.JTIinc.com

Call us at 440.232.4311 or stop in our showroom Monday – Saturday to discuss your needs and find out how you can get rolling with the right trailer for you.

 

 


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Trailer Tires: Bias, Radial, & How You Should Roll

We proudly sell Kenda Karrier ST Radials and Load Star Bias Ply tires. And although having quality tires is important (your trailer is probably carrying some mighty valuable equipment) is always a good choice, the most critical things about your trailer’s tires are that they’re the right size and are in good condition.

See our list of in-stock and special order trailer tires

While most of our customers understand that passenger tires are not made for trailers, it bears repeating.

Passenger Tires Are NOT Made for Trailers

Your trailer isn’t a car. It handles heavy loads around corners, on rough roads, and often at highway speeds. We’ll spare you the physics lesson: the fact is passenger car tires put your load (and other drivers) at risk.

Trailer specialty tires (ST) typically have stiffer sidewalls than passenger tires, which handle trailer loads better and help with trailer handling (especially preventing or minimizing sway).

So What’s Better: Bias or Radial Trailer Tires?

Here’s the scoop: the better tire for you is the one that will best suit your needs and usual driving (hauling) habits. We rarely “just” sell a tire – like everything else regarding our customers’ trailers, we tend to ask a few questions to make sure they’re getting the right equipment. But, to answer the question in a nutshell:

Bias ply tires are generally less expensive than radial trailer tires. That doesn’t mean they’re inferior. Their construction is different. Bias ply tires have layers of nylon laid at 30-45 degree angles underneath the tire tread. They are ideal for people making short and/or infrequent trips with their trailers. Some bias tires have stiffer sidewalls than radial tires, which can be an advantage for certain hauling situations.

Radial trailer tires are what you want if your trailer is on the road for long trips. They tend to stay cooler (especially at highway speeds) and last longer. Radial tires are constructed with steel belts running at a 90 degree angle to the tire’s tread direction. Due to their construction, they have a longer tread life and are tougher overall.

In the Long Haul, Are Radial Trailer Tires Worth the Price?

Generally speaking radial tires last longer, have less rolling resistance (giving slightly better mileage). Bias tires have some specific advantages in certain cases, but for the less-frequent hauler, are often the better choice primarily because of cost.

Remember, trailers aren’t cars and what you know about passenger tires rarely applies to trailer tires.

For example, on a single-axle trailer, you really don’t need to rotate your tires. Rules regarding tire inflation and PSI are also a little different when it comes to trailers and trailer tires.

With 80+ years in the business, we think it’s safe to say we’re the trailer and hitch experts. If you have any questions regarding your tow vehicle and trailer, we encourage you to call us. We’re here to help, 6 days a week.

Related read: Avoid Trailer Tire Dry Rot

Also, learn more about Proper Trailer Load Balancing and Distribution

JTI, Cleveland trailer experts  www.JTIinc.com 440.232.4311


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Trailers & Trailer Braking Essentials

Most states require brakes on trailers (at least trailers over 3,000 lbs gross weight) and brake controllers are also commonly required. Of course being in compliance with the law is important, but isn’t safe hauling your goal? We thought so. Read on.

JTI-brakes-curt

Trailer Brakes 101

While they type of braking system you’ll need depends on your trailer/tow vehicle combination, there are only two main types of brakes: Electric and hydraulic.

Electric brakes are essentially like the brakes on a vehicle (featuring disc or drum brakes) activated by the tow vehicle driver, with an electrical system (wiring) runs between the trailer and tow vehicle controlling brake function.

Key to set-up is making sure stopping action and delay settings are established to

Hydraulic surge brakes are different: they automatically apply braking pressure to the trailer whenever the driver slows the tow vehicle. (Sensors are triggered through wiring in the hitch.)

One important part of set-up and installation is making sure the braking actuator is properly in sync with tow vehicle operation. Setup must take into account trailer weight (including typical loads) and usual driving speed, as during braking, the trailer presses against the hitch and compresses the braking actuator.

Brake Controller Basics

The two primary types of brake are proportional brake controllers and time delayed brake controllers. (We sell and service both.)

Proportional brake controllers use sensors to determine tow vehicle speed (and specifically, stopping speed) to ensure the trailer stops at the same rate as the tow vehicle. Not only is it safe, it reduces wear on both the tow vehicle and the trailer’s braking systems.

Brake controllers typically come with a four-wire configuration (trailer feed, ground, brake switch and battery power) and many trucks and other common tow vehicles come with built-in wiring systems for brake controllers. That’s not to say it’s a “plug and play” situation – we see many built-in systems that require some adjustment. Those are typically very easy (inexpensive) fixes, but if there is any concern about the way your brakes are working on your trailer, we recommend making an appointment right away.

More Trailer Brake Info & Resources

  • Safe Trailer Braking: Get Smart, Get it Right   We work with some great manufacturers and distributors, and Curt Manufacturing deserves a special shout out for the excellent educational information it provides – not only to dealers and trailer service professionals, but also to trailer owners andtow vehicle drivers. Check out Curt’s Towing 101 info or head over to its YouTube user channel, and you’re on your way to better hauling.
  • Electric over Hydraulic Brakes: In a Boat Trailer? Although BoatUS acknowledges the idea of mixing water and hydraulics may sound “crazy” to many boat owners, many boat trailers in fact employ hydraulic brakes. Read more at the BoatUS site.
  • Trailer brake laws by state on the AAA site.

JTI, Cleveland trailer expertsWe’re here to keep our customers rolling – and to make sure they can stop safely. Contact us to troubleshoot your trailer brake system.  Call 440.232.4311 or request a service appointment or safety inspection online.


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Weight Distribution Hitch set-up

We’ve talked about weight distribution when you’re loading a trailer. And it’s important, no matter what kind of suspension or weight distribution system you’ve got.

What’s that? You didn’t know you could install a weight distribution hitch? Our good friends at Curt spell it out for you in this instructional video.

Not sure you want to do it yourself? It won’t take us long – not much longer than it took you to read this and watch the video.

Make an appointment and make your hauling a little safer and easier.


JTI, Cleveland trailer experts People who depend on their trailers depend on JTI.

440.232.4311   www.JTIinc.com

Balancing a trailer load isn't rocket science


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Loading a Trailer for Proper Weight Distribution

When loading a trailer, proper weight distribution can’t be an afterthought.

When you’ve got your trailer’s weight distribution right, you, your trailer and your towing will vehicle get better handling, improved ride quality, safer breaking, and slightly better fuel efficiency. Convinced that it’s important? Follow these general recommendations and you’ll be rolling right.

Weighty Matters

First, you know you should never exceed GVWR or axle rating, right? OK. One of the basic rules of thumb every trailer owner needs to understand is that tongue weight should be about 10% (and never exceed 15%) of total trailer weight. So if you’ve got 2,000 load, your tongue weight should be 300 lbs. or less.

Yes; it’s worth doing the math. (HowStuffWorks breaks it down for you.)

The good news is, this isn’t rocket science. Balancing your load is easier than flying pigeon, or just about any of those fancy yoga poses we keep hearing about.

Here’s more good news: no matter what kind of trailer you have, there are things you can do to make your loads more manageable and to reduce the wear on your trailer and tow vehicle.

Load Smart: Position Practice

Of course, in addition to the weight you’re hauling, the position of your load makes a difference, too. Generally, you should position more than half (about 60%) of your load in front of the trailer’s front axle.

Your goal is to distribute the weight as evenly as possible among all of the tires.

Top heavy or unevenly weighted objects (like a lot of landscaping equipment) can present special challenges.

Getting your load right may require a visit or two to public scales, a measure of common sense, and some practice. Got questions? Call us or stop by our showroom. We’ve been helping Cleveland’s trailer owners achieve “inner balance” since 1935, and we can help you. Namaste. 


 

JTI, Cleveland trailer experts

Need help balancing a load? Looking for a weight distribution system?  Get in touch:  440.232.4311  www.JTIinc.com

 

 

 

 


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Bad Bushings Can Cost You a Bundle!

trailer equalizer

Trailer bushings are not immediately impressive. The plain-looking nylon cylinders are small. Cheap, even. But you ignore them at your own peril.

Those inexpensive little plastic pieces – they cost less than $1 each – sit inside shackles and spring brackets, protecting your trailer’s suspension.

Bad bushings can throw off your alignment, lead to uneven and premature tire wear, and compromise the strength of your suspension.

It’s the old ounce-of-prevention story. Don’t let your trailer buckle under pressure for want of a new piece of nylon! Inspect the bushings in shackles and springs a couple of times each year, or more often if you use your trailer frequently or haul heavy loads.

This image of an equalizer on a tandem axle looks good – but what you can’t see is the condition of the bushings. It’s quite worth your time to take the shackles and springs apart to check the condition of your bushings and replace them if any part of the cylinder is worn. Your suspension thanks you!

Bushing in Shackle

Service vs. Maintenance


What’s the difference between service and maintenance? When we’re talking trailers, the difference is money – and it can be hundreds or thousands of dollars of difference. We stock bushings for most springs as well as shackles and shackle hardware. If you don’t have the time (or desire) to do your own routine maintenance, call us. We’ll catch a bad bushing before it costs you an arm and a leg – or a suspension and new set of tires!

 


 

JTI, Cleveland trailer expertsPeople who depend on their trailers depend on JTI. Since 1935, we’ve been keeping Cleveland’s trailers on the road, working safely as long as possible. We don’t just sell trailers, we help owners maximize their equipment investment. Need trailer repair, service work, parts, or something else? Call or stop by to see why our customers have stuck with us for 80 years. www.JTIinc.com  440.232.4311