Using a loading ramp to load your trailer is not only a wise move, it is highly recommended by all reputable trailer manufacturers. This is to ensure the safety of trailer owners and to ensure that they avoid any serious injury that can be caused by attempting to load a heavy item incorrectly. This is the often-overlooked true benefit to using a loading ramp, not the ease of use but the safety it provides if used correctly.
When choosing a loading ramp, the material it is made from should be high on your list of considerations. Normally , if you are buying a loading ramp for a specific purpose, then the retailers, like us here at SureWeld, will be able to give you specific recommendations as many ramps are designed for specific tasks. But if you have mixed or general purpose uses in mind for your ramps, then you will need to think about what material to choose.
Most loading ramps are made of either steel or aluminium, and these will be the two materials you’ll be choosing between. Fortunately, they are both are fine choices for your new ramps, depending on what you need from them. Both metals have pros, cons and limits so it is important to understand what these are before you buy one and mount one.
Steel is undoubtedly the stronger of the two metals and you will find that all of the heavy-duty ramps are made of it. Steel is an alloy and as such comprised of numerous different metals, primarily iron, nickel and copper; this unfortunately means that it is prone to oxidising and rusting over time. Quite often chromium is added to the steel to try and provide some resistance to the rusting problem, but inevitably steel will rust and will require treatments to preserve and protect it. Steel is normally more expensive than aluminum as well, this is due to several factors, but it is basically more costly to produce, making steel products more expensive.
Comparatively, aluminium is not as strong as steel if the pieces are of the same size, but it has the benefit of weighing approximately only one third as much as an equivalently sized piece of steel. This is why many aircraft are often constructed of aluminium instead of steel – the aviation industry values weight over strength, and you can see why. Aluminium is an element as opposed to an alloy, although the aluminium used in commercial products is an alloy as the metal is mixed with various other components to improve strength and durability. This being said, the base material is still vastly comprised of aluminium, at least 90% usually. Given that anything made of aluminium alloy contains almost entirely aluminium, it is very resistant to rust as aluminium is not very reactive and will not oxidise in the same way that steel does.
So, to summarise the material choices, steel is heavier and stronger but will rust and is often more expensive whereas aluminium is cheaper and will not rust but is not as heavy duty even if it is lighter.
Which is right for me?
If you are planning on loading a fairly average trailer that you can tow behind your car, then an aluminium ramp should be more than sufficient for your needs. Most trailers will not be able to withstand weights too much greater than can be loaded with aluminium ramps and as such one should be a sound choice. Of course, we always recommend getting advice from us or whoever else you choose to buy your ramps from; if they know their products the way that we do, they will be able to advise you on the perfect ramps for the job.
Using your ramps
Loading ramps are a simple premise, but if not mounted correctly their misuse can lead to serious injury. Depending on the design of your ramps there can be some variation on how to attach to your trailer. Some ramps will have lips of metal that are intended to hook or slot onto your trailer, but all of our loading ramps are designed with simplicity and functionality in mind and utilise a steel pin connection system. This means that if a suitable receiving point is present on your trailer, you can line up your ramps and then simply drop the steel pin into place, allowing instant mounting of your ramps with great ease.
Before using your ramps, you should make sure to carefully inspect the area where they are meeting the ground and ensure that the feet are sitting flat so that they do not move whilst in use. It is also wise to make certain that the vehicle and trailer are secured using the handbrake and ideally the gears to prevent it from rolling. The trailer itself should always be attached to your vehicle to ensure that it is flat before you attempt to mount your ramps and load the trailer. With all of this secured and mounted it is also advised that you check the ramps and ensure they run parallel to each other so that when you drive a vehicle up them, the wheels are going to line up correctly.
For added safety, you should also use straps of safety cables to tightly hold the second to top rung of each ramp to a secure fixing point on the back of the trailer. Whilst not essential, this is highly recommended as it will eliminate almost all movement in the ramps and provide an extra layer of added protection for the users.
Aluminium loading ramps are versatile and lightweight, as such they will be perfect for most domestic tasks a trailer owner could hope for. We stock a fantastic range of ramps at SureWeld and would highly recommend our aluminium range for a whole variety of uses, so check them out and if you have any questions please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.