53 Step Deck Trailer Dimensions

Author: HALIM
Published On:

Whether you want to buy or rent a 53-foot step deck trailer to ship goods, there are a few things you need to think about first. There are regulations put in place for semi-trailers and their road usage.

Due to the weight of the cargo these trucks haul, it’s important to use roads designed to support their Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).

Though you can hire a freight shipping company, getting to know your way around trailers will be advantageous in the long run. As trailers are designed for hauling cargo across long distances, one important thing to focus on is their dimensions.

To find the ideal semi-trailer for your shipping, you’ll need to consider the length, height, weight, and width.

We’ll tell you everything you need to know about 53-foot step deck trailer dimensions, which are some of the largest trailer sizes, as well details how tall are tractor trailers on this report.

Dimensions of a 53-Foot Step Deck Trailer

Deck Trailer

If you’re planning to invest in a 53-foot step deck semi-trailer, you should consider its dimensions first. This will go a long way in helping you figure out exactly how much cargo you can haul safely.

On the outside, most of these trailers are 630 inches long, 102 inches wide, and 13 feet 6 inches tall. The inside is a bit smaller, measuring 570 inches long, 98.5 inches wide, and 108 inches tall. This is mainly due to the interior design specifications based on the type of cargo the trailer will be hauling.

The 53-foot step deck semi-trailers have a GVWR of 13,500 pounds and usually have a capacity of 3,489 cubic feet.

What’s the Importance of 53-Foot Step Deck Trailer Dimensions?

The width, length, and height of a trailer play an important role when it comes to shipping and road usage. Different states and the Department of Transportation have regulations that a semi-trailer should follow to operate in them.

Though different states use different maximum specs for trailers operating within their borders, most have similar heights and weights. This makes it easier for users of semi-trailers from any part of the country to navigate. The main difference is in the length of your semi-trailer.

The manufacturer and the trailer’s intended function also affect its overall length. For example, some companies make 53-foot dry vans, while others prefer 48-footers. Ample dimensions make it easier for one to haul larger cargo.

Types of 53-Foot Step Deck Trailers and Their Hauling Capacities

While semi-trailers are all built to carry cargo, not all loads are created equal, especially when traveling long distances. What follows is a review of the many configurations of 53-foot semi-trailers and the cargo they can carry. They include:

1. Dry Vans

These are trailers designed for hauling cargo that’s not temperature-sensitive (dry freight). They are simply boxes on wheels meant for transporting boxed goods, household supplies, cereals, and other non-perishable goods.

Their hauling weight of dry vans ranges from 42,000 lbs. to 45,000 lbs. depending on the trailer design. Their capacity could go up to 63,000 lbs. if you’re using a tri-axle trailer.

2. Step Deck Trailers

Step deck trailers have two levels of decks –a short and a long one, with no sides, doors, or roof. It basically resembles a platform.

The short high deck is at the front, closer to the driver, while the longer lower deck is at the back. The short high platform is about 5 feet off the ground and 11 feet long. While the lower deck is 37 to 42 feet long and 36 to 42 inches off the ground.

This trailer can carry cargo 10 ft 2 inches tall without breaking any rules. It transports machinery and supplies used in farming and construction, as well as agricultural goods and heavy equipment like excavators and tractors.

A standard step deck trailer can haul a freight weight of 48,000 lbs.; with a tri-axle trailer, the range goes up to 65,000 lbs.

3. Flatbed Trailers

Flatbed trailers come with a flat hauling platform that makes them super versatile for loading and transporting all sorts of cargo.

You can easily load them from the rear, top, or sides. They can haul mobile homes, industrial equipment, vehicles, and building materials, among many others.

Most flat beds are also known as rollback or slide trucks and can haul cargo of up to 48,000 lbs. When you go for the tri-axle option, the maximum hauling jumps to 65,000 pounds. These trucks are great for when you’re hauling heavy cargo.

4. Lowboy

This is a semi-trailer that comes with a very low deck compared to other flatbed trailers. It has a two-drop deck height, one at the gooseneck and the other before its wheels. This low height is advantageous as it can haul loads of up to 12 feet without the need for special permits.

A standard tandem axle lowboy trailer can haul cargo of up to 40,000 pounds. However, you could add an extra trailer and push the hauling weight up to 95,000 lbs.

The majority of its work is transporting construction machinery including bulldozers, excavators, and other large machines.

5. Refrigerated Trailer

A refrigerated truck, aka reefer, is a truck that is designed for hauling perishable goods over long distances. The refrigerated system is designed to run by cycling air from inside the trailer through an evaporator, where it gives up most of its heat.

This cycle constantly provides your cargo with cool temperatures. These vehicles can go for up to three days without requiring a refill.

Refrigerated hey haul temperature-sensitive products such as farm produce, dairy goods, and other types of foods. A standard reefer has a maximum cargo capacity of 42,000 to 45,000 lbs. Adding a tri-axle boosts its capacity to a maximum weight of 63,000 lbs.

Deck Trailer

How Can You Determine the Tow Limit of Your Trailer?

Though trailers are huge and strong, you need to ensure that you don’t overload them to haul cargo safely. To ensure that you’re safe, you must always hitch your trailer properly before embarking on your journey.

Knowing the perfect tow limit of your trailer will play a big role in keeping you safe on the roads. The manufacturers include a manual with the trailer’s freight weight capacity. However, you can use the following factors to determine your ideal tow limit:

  • Payload Capacity: This is the weight of all passengers and cargo combined. Subtracting the trailer weight from the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating gives you this figure. 
  • Gross Trailer Weight (GTW): GTW is the accumulative weight of the cargo and trailer. This is measured using a trailer weight scale. If you want to haul your cargo safely, you shouldn’t exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. 

Adhering to your trailer’s tow limit will ensure that the engine doesn’t strain while you’re on the road. In addition to improving stability, it also decreases the frequency of maintenance issues for the vehicle being towed.

  • Tongue Weight: The tongue weight of a trailer is the total load that is transferred to the towing vehicle via the gooseneck. 
  • Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): GVWR is the total weight of both the tow vehicle and the trailer. 
  • Curb Weight: This includes your vehicle’s total weight without cargo, passengers, or non-factory items. However, it does include fluids such as oil, water, and gasoline. It’s basically the weight of the truck when it’s parked at the dealership. 
  • Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR): The GAWR weight is posted on the VIN label on the driver’s side of your trailer. It’s the acceptable weight of both the cargo and trailer. 
  • Trailer Weight: This is the total weight of an assembled trailer. You can weigh this at a truck stop. 
  • Dry Weight: Your truck’s total weight without adding vehicle operational fluids, passengers, or cargo.


1. Are there penalties for ignoring legal weight requirements?

Yes. The consequences for exceeding the allowable weight on a 53′ step deck trailer are severe. These include jail time or a fine of up to $2,000. Woe unto you should you cause an accident with a trailer that’s not adhering to the legal weight regulations.

Prosecutors will probably charge you with reckless endangerment or even manslaughter should your accident cause the death of a pedestrian or fellow motorist. Just follow road regulations and avoid going to jail or paying steep fines.

2. Do they have height restrictions?

There are no definite federal height restrictions on step decks, though different states provide guidelines. States can come up with laws restricting certain semi-truck heights for safety reasons. Most semi-trucks have an average height of about 13 ft 6 inches to 14ft.

Federally, these trailers have a 13 ft. 5 in height limit. However, there are always routes that represent an exception to the rule.

3. What is the maximum number of trailers that a semi-trailer can haul?

There is no one right answer to this question. There are several things that determine the number of trailers that a semi-truck can tow. To begin, research the regulations of the state(s) your shipment will enter or transit through.

Second, you’ll need to look into the weight of the trailers. There’re regulations on how much your semi-trailer should weigh while hauling cargo. You don’t want to bring down bridges on your way to the delivery point.

The type of roads will also contribute to the number of trailers you can tow. Bridges and sharp corners won’t support many trailers. In most states, tri-axle trucks don’t have access to the main highways.

You should also consider the tractive force of your truck and the rolling resistance of the tires. Only stick to a number of trailers that don’t affect your stability on the road. You should also look into the strength of the coupling to ensure you don’t leave one trailer behind.

4. Can you tow a 53-foot trailer with a pickup truck?

Yes. Though it will take a long time to get to your destination, you can do it if you have a pickup truck with properly sized tires and a hitch. You’ll also need a driver who pays attention while on the road and with defensive driving capabilities.

To function with ease, the pickup should have a fifth-wheel hitch. The fifth wheel makes it easier to maneuver and increases stability. You can easily hitch or backup without any guidance from a third party.


The dimensions of a 53-foot step deck trailer are very important because they help you figure out how to save money by being more efficient.

From this guide, you’ll be able to choose the right trailer for the kind of cargo you have. Other than the dimensions, you should also look at the weight and road regulations for different states.


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