Years ago, a car buyer had very few choices when they walked onto a sales lot… automatic or stick shift, car or truck, gas or diesel.
Today, they can choose between electric, hybrid, gas, diesel, car, truck, crossover, SUV, or even some cars that run off the leftover grease from the local diner!
As technology develops, so do our options. And the same thing is true with horse trailers.
It used to be that horse trailer buyers only had two main choices: aluminum or steel. Sure, the steel was extremely strong and durable, but it also turned into a pile of rust sitting out in the pasture.
Aluminum came along in the 1980s and instantly caught the eye of new buyers. It was shiny and clean with a much lighter weight design. Early buyers soon learned that it also conducted heat so well that their horses ended up baking in the summer sun.
… and when accidents occurred on the roads, aluminum trailers turned into terrifying knots of twisted metal.
So, what’s the solution?
Clearly something that married the best of both worlds was needed. We needed a trailer with the strength of steel that would look and stay rust-free like aluminum for years on end.
That’s why we developed our patented Z-Frame Technology - the safest option for horse trailer construction!
The key to a Z-Frame trailer is right in the name. Our patented process coats the inside and outside of steel tubing with zinc and chromate metals. This creates a thick, impenetrable layer that resists rust and slows road heat conduction, even on the hottest of days.
These Z-Frame tubes are then used to build the frame for your Double D Trailers. Think of a horse trailer frame like the foundation for your house. A strong and precisely built foundation is the key to a long-lasting structure that will protect your loved ones inside.
As we mentioned, Z-Frame combines the best of both worlds… durability and strength!
In creating the Z-Frame materials, we actually increase the tensile strength of the steel -- allowing for an extremely strong material to create a protective cage around your horse.
This extra strength also allows us to use less material to equal the same frame strength as a normal steel trailer – which results in an extremely lightweight design.
In fact, we compared an all-aluminum 2 horse bumper pull trailer to a Z-Frame 2 horse bumper pull trailer and found a weight difference of only 80 pounds!
Z-Frame is lightweight AND strong!
Let’s do a direct trailer-to-trailer comparison here so you can fully understand why Z-Frame is the way to go with your next trailer purchase.
In a head-to-head battle for trailer dominance, the Z-Frame trailer is easily going to outshine a steel trailer.
That’s because the zinc and chromate coated metal in a Z-Frame trailer is resistant to rust. It will look great for years to come without corroding from the weather elements or salt sprayed on the roads.
Best of all, Z-Frame is STRONG. Compared to regular steel, Z-Frame tensile strength ratings are actually higher. Plus, it is processed using 99.99% pure zinc alloy with much less harmful lead content than most pre-galvanized or hot-dipped products.
We need to look a little deeper than just appearance to judge the winner of a Z-Frame vs aluminum stand-off…
… but the results are even more dramatic!
First off, both of these trailers are going to look great for years on end resisting rust and both allowing for a lightweight design. However, that’s where the similarities stop. Z-Frame outshines aluminum horse trailers in every other way.
Aluminum trailers are incredibly strong conductors of heat. If you’ve ever been in a trailer with a mill-finished aluminum roof, you can literally feel the heat radiating off of the ceiling down to the horse area.
In fact, we once did a little experiment and found the inside of an aluminum trailer to be 130 degrees Fahrenheit – hot enough to cook an egg! This extreme heat is dangerous for your horse. They will be uncomfortable and prone to dehydration due to excessive sweating.
Our Z-Frame trailers come with an insulated single piece composite SafeBump roof that keeps the inside of the trailer at a much safer and more comfortable temperature.
Aluminum horse trailers also have another hidden danger. Underneath the rubber mats on these trailers, you will often find a metal floor. Once again, this transfers heat (along with noise and vibration) up from the roadway directly into your horses’ legs.
Plus, horse urine is very acidic and will corrode a metal floor over time. This results in a pock-marked floor with severely weakened areas at risk for full floor failure. Floor failure means that your horse’s hoof is in danger of punching through the floor down to the roadway during travel.
As you can imagine, this is a scary and dangerous situation for a horse, especially if they fall through the floor during transit. Many times, horses involved in these types of accidents must be immediately euthanized, but even the lucky ones are going to be hard pressed to climb into a trailer again anytime soon.
In short, metal floors are no good. Even metal floors covered with synthetic coatings like WERM or Polylast don’t fully avoid this problem.
As an alternative, our Z-Frame trailers come with either pressure treated pine lumber or synthetic Rumber flooring. Both of these materials insulate your horse from noise, heat and vibration and don’t weaken over time.
And lastly, let’s think for a moment about the main reason aluminum never fully eclipsed steel on the market – pure strength.
First, aluminum trailers tend to crack at weld points resulting in weakened areas that may fail over time. All aluminum vehicles perform very poorly in crash tests.
In an accident, aluminum tends to rip and tear with jagged metal edges. Just think of crushing and twisting an aluminum soda can. Horse trailers with aluminum dividers on the side of a trailer are extremely dangerous for your horses. They simply aren’t strong enough to support your 1000 pound+ animal.
In contrast, we use our patented Z-Frame material to build our trailer’s dividers. This means your animals won’t be in danger from twisted metal and jagged edges in the case of an accident.
From hitch to bumper, a Z-Frame trailer is going to outshine and outlast older style aluminum and steel built trailers. It has the strength and durability to last for years while still staying lightweight and easy to haul. It’s simply the best and safest option for you and your horses.
If you have additional questions about Z-Frame, reach out to Brad for answers.
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