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The body of a van trailer is the primary support structure. The main rails of a flatbed or chassis frame perform the same function. These main members must be in good condition to work safely and correctly. Operating equipment in service requires that all members must be straight, aligned with the supporting structural parts and undamaged. Do not operate the trailer with un-repaired damaged structural components.


Check the kingpin and upper coupler support structure for damage, wear or corrosion. Check connecting fasteners or welds, which connect the kingpin to the trailer frame. Do not operate a trailer that has damage to the lower locking flange of the kingpin, cracked welds, loose or missing fasteners or abnormal wear.


Check the landing gear and the support structure for loose bolts, cracked welds, damage and bent or distorted parts. Notice if the legs become difficult to raise or lower and if the travel of the legs, up or down is restricted. Extend the legs fully before uncoupling a tractor, do not drop a loaded trailer to the ground. Crank the landing gear legs up or down to match the tractor fifth wheel height before coupling.


Check the trailer body or frame for damage, cuts, dents, loose or missing rivets and bolts. Top and bottom rails on vans and main beams on flatbeds or chassis must be straight and undamaged.


Crossmembers, fasteners and floor structure should be undamaged, straight and connected on vans and flatbeds. Crossmembers and gussets should be connected without cracks or damage on chassis.


Check the floor for cracks, splits, broken sections, missing screws, de-lamination and deterioration. Repair or replace the damaged area to maintain safe and structural strength built into the trailer floor.   


All side and front posts and sheets on vans must be straight, undamaged, aligned and connected with rivets in place and tight.


Front and rear crossmembers or bolsters on flatbeds or chassis must be straight, connected and aligned with the main beams. Check for cracks, broken welds and damage. Stake pockets and container tie downs must be connected and undamaged. Do not operate a chassis with damaged or missing tie downs.


Roof sheet and cross bows must be tight, in alignment and undamaged. Holes in plastic translucent roof sheets must be repaired before operating a van trailer.  Failure to repair a translucent sheet can lead to roof failure and structural damage to the trailer body.


The rear doors of a van trailer must be closed whenever the trailer is moving. The doors can cause damage or injury to the trailer, cargo, personnel, or other equipment if left open while moving the trailer. Always push the door forward against any shifted cargo inside the trailer when opening a door on a trailer that has been moved to guard against injury caused by falling cargo. Never use a door, door handle or strap as an assist when climbing into or out of a trailer rear. Do not stand between a door and the trailer body when opening or closing the door. Check for loose bolts and nuts. Check hinges, handles, rollers, tracks, springs, seals and support parts for damage, cracks or broken sections. Repair or replace damaged parts.


If a tire carrier is installed check that it is undamaged, securely connected to the trailer chassis. A spare tire should be slid completely into the carrier frame and secured by a safety chain and lock connected to the carrier frame and wrapped around the tire. Damage and injury can happen if a tire leaves the carrier while the trailer is moving.

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