Steel Or Aluminum? A Guide To Flat-Bed-Truck Bodies

A custom truck body can turn a regular truck into a useful flatbed – which means all the benefits of a flatbed trailer without the need to purchase or haul one around. When shopping around for the truck body, you will need to choose between an aluminum or steel bed. The following guide can help you make an informed decision.

What is your average load weight?

As a general rule, steel is slightly sturdier than aluminum, although the aluminum used for truck bodies is an alloy that is much stronger than your average soda can. Even so, a steel body may be engineered to hold slightly more weight. Consider the average weight that you plan to haul and compare the weight ratings for both steel and aluminum. Another thing to consider is that the weight of an aluminum auto body is less than that of a steel body, which will increase the payload size that your truck can safely haul. You will want to pick one that can support more than your expected average just in case you ever end up with a heavier load.

How concerned are you about rust?

Aluminum doesn't rust, while steel will develop rust at some point. If you live in an area with high rust threat – such as near the ocean or in an area that salts icy roads in winter – then aluminum is a much better option. You may also want to consider aluminum if you expect a lot of wear and tear on the metal, such as the loading of items that may scratch the truck bed. This is because steel is often coated or painted to help prevent rust, so you are more likely to end up with rust if the items you haul regularly damage the coating.

Do you want to minimize maintenance?

Steel truck bodies generally need more maintenance. This is because they have to be inspected regularly for rust and paint damage. When damage is found the rust must be removed and new layer of paint must be applied. Steel will also require routine maintenance, such as cleaning and the lubrication of moving parts. On the other hand, aluminum rarely requires anything more than occasional cleaning and the lubrication of moving parts. Even if it is scratched, rust isn't a concern so there is no need to repair the damage unless you want to for aesthetic purposes.

For more help, contact a truck body manufacturer like Martin Truck Bodies to discuss the different bed materials further.