Which ATM and trailer suspension options best suit your needs?


When you buy a trailer in Adelaide from Basic Trailers, there are a number of ways in which you can upgrade and customise your new trailer so that it is set up precisely to meet your needs.

Two of the most important are the ATM (aggregate trailer mass) and the trailer suspension.

Before buying a trailer it is important to have a clear idea as to what it will be used for, the terrain on which you expect to be towing regularly, and the type and weight of the loads you will be hauling. These factors all have a significant role to play in determining what the ATM of the trailer should be, and what sort of suspension you should have fitted.

After considering carefully how your trailer is going to be used, you may decide that there are upgrades you can make to your trailer so that it better suits your needs, is more durable, and offers you longer operating life.

What is trailer ATM and do I need to upgrade?

Aggregate Trailer Mass (more commonly referred to as ATM), is the combined weight of a fully-loaded trailer when it is not coupled to a towing vehicle. In South Australia, there are laws in place with regard to ATM and load limits, as well as regulations with regard to a trailer’s braking system and capabilities.

(Sometimes the term GTM is used, which stands for Gross Trailer Mass and is the weight that a fully loaded trailer imposes on its axle(s) when it is coupled to a towing vehicle. However, at Basic Trainers we prefer to talk in terms of ATM.)

The majority of our standard single and tandem axle trailers have an ATM of 1,990kg; however, larger trailers will require a greater ATM.

At Basic Trailers, it is a straightforward process to upgrade the ATM of your trailer so that it is capable of towing heavier loads, and we regularly produce trailers up to 4.500 kg ATM in both tandem and tri-axle configurations.

What does a trailer ATM upgrade involve?

When trailer ATM is upgraded, it involves the entire trailer set up being upgraded from the standard configuration.

Any ATM upgrade will mean that the chassis of the trailer being upgraded from standard, along with the rims and tyres. The type of suspension fitted will also need to be changed (see more below on trailer suspension), as will the braking capacity.

For instance, trailers with a 2,800kg ATM and above are required to have 4 wheel electric brakes and a breakaway unit fitted. A trailer upgrade to 3,200kg ATM or above will also require stronger axles to be fitted.

Talk to our sales team to find out more about trailer ATM

If you want to find out more about trailer ATM, and how you can upgrade your trailer to carry heavier loads, call the Basic Trailers sales team on 1300 770 770 or email us to find out more.

Choosing the right trailer suspension for the best towing experience

Trailer suspension is important as it absorb shocks from the road, thus minimising the force that is transferred to the frame of the trailer. This in turn helps to maintain structural integrity, as well as reducing tyre wear, while also impacting how smooth the tow is.

The type of trailer suspension that you ultimately choose for will depend on the size, type and ATM of the trailer, the weight of the loads you carry, and the sort of driving conditions you encounter.

Slipper spring trailer suspension

At Basic Trailers, our trailers are fitted with 7 leaf eye slipper springs as standard, which are suitable for both single axle and tandem axle trailers.

Slipper springs feature an eye at one end, and open leaves at the other, forming a tail which is inserted into a hanger that has been welded to the trailer chassis.

Slipper spring suspension generally proves to be durable and effective when fitted to trailers with an ATM up to 1,990 kg. However, if you need to tow heavier loads, or you frequently encounter challenging terrain, then upgrading your trailer suspension is likely to be necessary.

Eye to eye trailer suspension

Single axle trailers with a 2,000 kg+ ATM can be fitted with eye to eye suspension (also known as shackle suspension).

Eye to eye trailer suspension is extremely tough and not subject to wear and tear to the same extent as slipper spring suspension. The springs have leaf configurations at each end, with a bush placed into a coiled eye. The rear coil swings on shackle bolts, while the front of the spring is held in place by a hanger.

Although eye to eye trailer suspension is very low maintenance, the components can nevertheless be easily replaced if required.

Rocker roller trailer suspension

Rocker roller suspension is a full load sharing system that is ideal for towing heavier loads up to 4,500 kg ATM.

This is a variation on a standard rocker assembly, with two of the bolted connections being replaced with roller bearings. This means they are less rigid and so able to absorb impacts more effectively, producing a smoother towing experience.

Rocker roller trailer suspension is also very tough, so requires very little maintenance.

Want to know more about choosing the right ATM and suspension for your trailer?

If you are considering buying a new trailer in Adelaide, and need advice on what ATM will be right for you, as well as the best trailer suspension to meet your needs, contact Basic Trailers and one of our team will be only too happy to help.

Call us on 1300 770 770 or email us, and we will be happy to guide you through the all options.

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