Liftgate Trailer Everything you need to know Truckers Wiki

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What is a Liftgate Trailer?

A liftgate trailer is a type of trailer that features a mechanical device, known as a liftgate, at the rear. The liftgate is designed to raise and lower goods between the ground and the trailer bed, enabling easy and efficient loading and unloading of cargo.

These trailers are especially advantageous in scenarios where loading docks are not available, or the freight is too heavy to be manually lifted. Industries like retail, manufacturing, and logistics, among others, frequently utilize liftgate trailers.

Design and Features

Liftgates are essentially platforms attached to the back of the trailer that can be raised or lowered hydraulically. They come in various types and designs, including tuck-under liftgates, rail liftgates, and cantilever liftgates, each having its own advantages and suitability for different applications.

Tuck-under liftgates fold and tuck under the rear of the trailer when not in use, hence their name. Rail liftgates are affixed to the trailer’s rear along the door tracks, while cantilever liftgates are mounted to the trailer’s chassis and have a folding platform, which offers excellent load capacity and stability.

Advantages of Liftgate Trailers

The primary advantage of liftgate trailers is their ability to facilitate the loading and unloading process. They eliminate the need for manual lifting of heavy items, reducing labor costs and the risk of injury.

Moreover, they provide the flexibility of delivery at locations without loading docks, opening up a wider range of potential delivery sites. By doing so, liftgate trailers significantly enhance the operational efficiency and the range of services that a transport business can offer.

Safety Measures

Despite their advantages, liftgate trailers also pose certain safety risks if not operated properly. Therefore, it is essential to follow safety protocols. These may include not exceeding the rated capacity of the liftgate, ensuring the liftgate is fully closed and secure while in transit, and training operators on the correct usage of the liftgate.

Furthermore, regular maintenance checks are crucial to ensure the liftgate’s hydraulic and mechanical components are functioning correctly. Preventive maintenance can help identify potential problems early, thus avoiding costly repairs and downtime.


Liftgate trailers are a practical innovation in the transportation industry, making the loading and unloading of goods more accessible and efficient. Their usefulness spans multiple industries, and they have become an integral part of many delivery services. Understanding their operation, advantages, and safety considerations is crucial for their effective utilization. As they continue to facilitate logistics and transportation operations, liftgate trailers remain an essential component of the modern freight industry.

To learn more about the types of trailers used in the trucking industry click here. 

Kirk Key website has a great article on how to improve safety while operating liftgate trailer.

Image Credit Inside Averitt. 

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