There was a time not long ago that all horse trailers were built using rivets, rivets and more rivets. That was just the thing you did because it was the best way to hold a trailer together over the long run. Unfortunately, riveted trailers had a lot of problems, some that started in the factory and others that appeared as the vehicle aged. Although riveted trailers are still in production, better ways of bonding trailer parts, especially the exterior skins, have been developed by concerned manufacturers of custom horse trailers.
At Double D, we use a 3M adhesive product called VHB (short for very high bond) to bond the metal skin together and to the structure of our trailers, resulting in a rivet-free, seamless exterior. We love how much a rivet-free exterior changes the dynamic of a horse trailer -- not only does it improve the look of graphics and paint, it also gives the horses inside a great ride. Our rivet-free construction isn’t limited to our high end horse trailers with living quarters, though. We like to use our superior bonding methods on all our trailers.
Rivet-free exteriors have won the hearts and minds of horse-lovers everywhere. Here just a few reasons why:
Quieter Rides. Riveted metal sheets, be they made from aluminum or our 22 gauge galvalite, rattle terribly because there’s no way to attach the metal without leaving a slight gap. These gaps are fine for large buildings that need to expand and contract in the sun, but a horse trailer traveling 70 miles per hour down the highway becomes a loud, scary box with walls that may visibly shake when rivets are employed.
Air- and Water-Tight Seals. Your horses aren’t as protected as you think they are in their horse box if the exterior is attached with rivets -- the tiny gaps between the fasteners can let in a considerable amount of rain and piercingly cold wind. 3M’s VHB bonds without any gaps, creating a perfectly air- and water-tight seal. Not only will your trailer stay drier on wet days, less dust will fly around from all those tiny breezes working together to stir up bedding inside the vehicle.
Durable Seams. There’s no doubt that rivets create a durable seam that can last for years, but over time individual rivets weaken and give, putting more pressure on their former neighbors. Because our adhesive functions as a single piece, there’s no weak spot to encourage the rest of the fastener to fail. In testing, 3M VHB-bonded panels withstood three times as many dynamic strikes as a riveted panel, while still being able to support significant static loads. In a horse trailer accident, you want the solution that will keep your horse in the trailer, where they’re less likely to be injured.
Choosing a safe, comfortable trailer is the best way to keep your horses loading happily trip after trip. Your horses will appreciate the low noise and more consistent environment a rivet-free horse exterior provides them. When you’re ready to update your horse trailer with a custom-built model using a rivet-free skin, take a look at the many options we have available on our website -- we’ve got a trailer for every horse.