To directly communicate proper trailer usage and safety to end-users, NATM recommends that all trailers include an owner’s manual. As members of NATM, trailer manufacturers understand the importance of safety and build trailers accordingly. Unfortunately, it does not matter how well a trailer is built if the end-user improperly hitches, loads or fails to maintain a trailer.
To educate customers, trailer owner manuals provide instructions regarding maintenance and safety, as well as important warnings. Creating owner's manuals for the trailers you manufacture can be a daunting, and often expensive task. Fortunately, NATM has made it easy and affordable for members to include manuals with their trailers as an additional resource and benefit to doing business with their dealers. By providing a quality owner’s manual with every trailer, it not only markets the company as reputable, but also helps to reduce liability due to legal issues and misuse by end-users.
NATM 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:
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 http://www.safercar.gov; or write to:
1200 New Jersey Avenue S.E.
Washington, DC 20590
You can also obtain other information about motor vehicle safety from http://www.safercar.gov.
By including an owner’s manual, trailer manufacturers are easily able to meet this requirement of both NHTSA and NATM, as well as reduce the chances that 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 both the trailer and your company’s reputation by word-of-mouth.
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 about purchasing generic owner’s manuals, or having your manuals updated, contact Marketing Coordinator Savana Morrison.