Names And Uses For Various Freight Trailer Types

True leaders in the trucking and transportation industry, such as Mickey Genuine Parts, know that all trailers are not created equally. There are major differences in designs of trailers. Each freight trailer is used for purposes, more times than not, that are different from the purposes of another trailer. With that in mind, we decided to put together a list of numerous trailer types. In the hopes of helping you decide what truly would be best for your trucking/towing/transportation needs, here’s what we’ve come up with.

Tank or Tanker

These are particularly useful for transporting liquid fuel and other large quantities of liquid. They are fully enclosed and cylinder shaped.

Side Lifter/Side Loader

To allow for loading and unloading, these trailers come with cranes on the back and front. They are classified as a container trailer.

Refer/Refrigerated Van

These trailers are used for moving products such as food and items needing regulated temperatures/environment. They are insulated and have climate-controlled refrigeration.

Rear Dump

Much on the same lines as a dump trailer, the rear dump trailer allows for the cargo area at the front to be lifted/unloaded via the rear.


Often used for congested areas, this is a trailer usually measuring between 29 feet and 26 feet.


This is used for transporting longs, has vertical stakes along the side, involves a chassis, and is highly specialized for its purpose.

Live Bottom

For unloading, this trailer has a mechanized, movable floor and includes an openable or solid roof. It is classified as a dry trailer.


Used for transporting fertilizer or grain, these trailers are covered with a tarp over their open top and are rectangular shaped.


No need to use forklift to load and unload this trailer because it has no doors or sites. It is also a flat trailer.


Bulk dry goods such dirt, sand, and gravel are most commonly hauled in this bucket shaped trailer.

Dry Van 

Loaded and unloaded through rear doors, this trailer is most commonly used to transport things that don’t require refrigeration. General dried goods are often hauled in this non-climate controlled, enclosed, standard trailer.


To maximize the quantity of goods that can be hauled, and the space within which to haul them, this distinctive trailer has two floors.

Deep Drop Van

Items that are particularly tall and relatively light are transported in this trailer due to its high ceilings and low floor.

Curtain Side

Two types of trailers are actually covered here: a flatbed (with ribs or a frame to support a tarp) and a dry box (including tarp sides).


Used for intermodal transport, this metal container trailer is standard sized.

Chip Van

Wood byproducts and other bulk dry goods are transported in this specially designed, open top trailer.

Beverage Trailer

You see these trailers every time you take a drive. They can be referred to as a “route trailer, sideloader, sidebanger”, and more. Not surprisingly, they transport beverages. They typically measure between 29 feet and 26 feet.

Bottom Dump/Belly Dump

This dump trailer, for the purpose of bottom unloading, has a funnel-shaped floor.

Portable Parking Lot/Car Hauler/Auto Transport

This is another trailer that you frequently see when you’re out and about on today’s highways and byways. The name gives it away – it transports vehicles (using a couple of levels).

Trailers, Trailers, and More Trailers!

Other types of trailers can include gooseneck lowboy, covered wagon, lowboy, container skeletal trailer, step deck, dry bulk, drop deck, doubles trailer, livestock trailer or bullwagon, and many other types of trailers. Who knows, there may even be some trailers out there that we just plain forgot to mention.

Truth be told, however, when it comes to trailers, you would be hard-pressed to do better than Mickey Genuine Parts. We carry a wide array of trailers (new and used), accessories, parts (both custom and common), and much more. And to assist you with those parts, we have certified service centers located throughout the U.S. for your convenience. Contact Mickey Genuine Parts today to see how we can be of assistance.

Let’s keep truckin'.

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