Monday, December 27, 2010

Trailer Skirts: A Proven Fuel Saver

In tight economic times drivers are trying anything to save a few dollars, one trend that is catching on and has been proved effective are trailer skirts. Designed to streamline the trailer and reduce drag, this system provides an average 7.4% fuel savings at highway speeds. Freight Wing, one of the industry's largest suppliers of trailer side skirts now has about 10,000 units on the road with sales up threefold over the past year.

Currently trailer side fairings available in three types of material: aluminum, plastic, or fiberglass. Each has its strengths and its fans. The skirts effectiveness depends upon ground clearance, the closer to the ground the better savings. In SAE track testing, Freight Wing found its older-style aluminum fairings with 16 inches of ground clearance yielded a 4% fuel savings while its new Aeroflex product that rides just eight inches off the ground delivers a 7% fuel savings.

When skirt shopping, there are many things to consider, including weight, ground clearance, durability and ease of installation and repair. Some systems consist of multiple panels, which make repairs easier and less costly than replacing the entire system, but may break apart and look flimsy at highway speeds. Once you've installed a system, its suggest inspecting trailer fairings as part of the normal trailer inspection process, looking for loose fasteners and damaged brackets. For the most part, trailer fairings should be worry-free.

In addition to using the trailer skirts some drivers are also switching to low rolling resistance tires and reducing top speeds to 62mph, showing a collective 8.94% improvement! With fuel prices rising each month every little bit helps the pocket. Added up the money saved by switching to more efficient methods can pay for its self in about a year.

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1 comment:

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