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NATM offering members generic trailer owner's manuals

The National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM) is offering trailer manufacturers an “easy and affordable” way to include generic owner’s manuals with every trailer.

NATM says its members “understand the importance of safety and build trailers accordingly.”

But if an end-user improperly hitches, loads or fails to maintain a trailer, it doesn’t matter how well the trailer is built.

Trailer owner’s manuals provide instructions regarding maintenance and safety, as well as important warnings, but they’re often expensive for manufacturers to produce. So NATM is helping its members include manuals with their trailers as an additional resource and benefit to doing business with their dealers.

Including a manual with every trailer helps establish a manufacturer’s reputability and reduce liability due to legal issues and misuse by end-users, NATM said.

The association offers manuals for 12 trailer types. Bumper pull-style trailers include utility, enclosed, horse, livestock, dump and boat trailers. Gooseneck-style trailers include utility, enclosed, horse, dump and boat trailers.

Every manual purchased will be personalized to include the company’s name and address, and each manual is product-line specific. The manuals have the required compliance items and include the following sections:

  • Section 1 - Introduction/General Information
  • Section 2 - Safety
  • Section 3 - Tire Safety Information
  • Section 4 - Coupling and Uncoupling
  • Section 5 - Loading and Unloading the Trailer
  • Section 6 - Towing
  • Section 7 - Inspection, Service and Maintenance

One of the top shortcomings of trailer manufacturers working to become NATM compliant is failure to include the NHTSA notification statement. It is required that trailer manufacturers provide the following statement to the purchaser in the owner’s manual or, if there is no owner’s manual, on a one-page document:

If you believe that your vehicle has a defect that could cause a crash or could cause injury or death, you should immediately inform the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in addition to notifying [Insert company name here]. 

If NHTSA receives similar complaints, it may open an investigation, and if it finds that a safety defect exists in a group of vehicles, it may order a recall and remedy campaign. However, NHTSA cannot become involved in individual problems between you, your dealer, or [Insert company name here].

To contact NHTSA, you may either call the Vehicle Safety Hotline toll-free at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153), go to; or write to:

1200 New Jersey Avenue S.E.
Washington, DC 20590

You can also obtain other information about motor vehicle safety from

By including a manual, trailer manufacturers meet this requirement of both NHTSA and NATM, and reduce the chances customers are left frustrated and confused. The inclusion of an owner’s manual helps to avoid mistreatment and misuse of the trailer in a way that could damage the trailer and your company’s reputation.

The manuals are available for purchase by members only and are sold individually, but discounts are available when ordering multiple manuals. Once purchased, they are emailed as a non-editable PDF format and can be easily reprinted as many times as necessary.

For more information on purchasing or updating owner’s manuals, contact Savana Morrison, NATM’s marketing coordinator.

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