April 22, 2016

NATM Guidelines: Is Your Utility Trailer Compliant?

NATM guidelines

Anybody can build a utility trailer with a little know-how and a lot of skill. But making a safe trailer? That’s when things get a little tricky.

Bringing a trailer up to meet the minimum safety guidelines from the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers isn’t difficult from a technical standpoint. But, you still have to know what needs to be changed and added.

Most of the NATM guidelines focus around the proper use of reflective tape, lights and record keeping.

Reflective Tape

If your trailer is compliant with the latest NATM regulations, it’ll have reflective tape strategically placed on the bumper and frame in the following places:

Trailer Lights

If you’re going to take your utility trailer on the road and have it meet all of the NATM guidelines, it needs lights. A lot of them. Here’s what you need:

That’s not the end, however. Trailers longer than 30′ require:

And utility trailers wider than 80″ also require:

Running Gear

If your trailer meets the NATM guidelines for brake systems, tires and similar parts, you’ll be good to go on any road. Here’s a checklist for running gear:

Related to the final point: It’s illegal to put used tires on a new trailer.

Document, document, document

In addition to placing all appropriate lights and reflective tape on NATM-approved trailers, manufacturers also have to take a few additional steps:

NATM Guidelines Compliant Trailers Remove All Doubt

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into ensuring that your utility trailer is up to par. For many consumers, purchasing a utility trailer from an authorized dealer is going to be the easiest, most legal route to a compliant trailer.

Make sure that your trailer is showing off a NATM sticker. It’s the best way to make sure that it’s as safe as possible!