Aluminum vs Steel Dump Truck Beds

When buying a bed for your dump truck, you should consider several factors. Although aluminum is weaker, it offers a significant weight reduction while being versatile in hauling capacity when paired with an appropriate liner.

Which is better?

You may want to know which is better, steel or aluminum. If you’ve looked online for this solution, you’ll see plenty of opinions, and boy are they adamant. But hey, dump truckers are passionate and they love what they love. So let’s look at which is better, steel or aluminum dump truck beds.

Hauling capacity

An aluminum bed can weight about 10-15% less than a steel trailer of the same size. This means you can haul more. Of course you should use a good liner, which we’ll get into soon. Aluminum is more likely to ding, but with how easy it is to work on/repair aluminum, it becomes less of a problem.

Damage

As one user reported for Aluminum “experienced drivers are necessary. The walls are not as strong as steel, so people operating a skid steer and loading over a wall can be dangerous. The gates are not as strong as steel, so backing up into a pile of material you’re dumping can come at a price.”

Steel is heavier, harder to work on, and generally requires more expensive maintenance in the long-run. Some of these reasons have to deal with the nature of steel. If you own a vehicle in a rust belt or coastal state, you’ll know exactly what we mean.

Corrosion

Steel can corrode, so your trailers will need to be maintained fairly regularly, depending on where you live. Many steel beds are galvanized, at least on the floor, so stripping this layer is sometimes required. This raises the cost.

If you need to cut some part of the trailer, aluminum will be easier. This may seem small, but all of these factors add up.

Aluminum is more expensive in the short-term. Many vehicles with aluminum don’t need to be repaired very often. If something does go wrong, you can easily pop out rivets to replace panels.

Liners

Getting liners to protect your bed is important, especially with aluminum. It also depends on what you’re hauling. If you’re hauling asphalt, you’re going to want to get something graded for it. Check this site out for reference. Hot Asphalt Liner – Global Plastics | Geared towards Excellence (dumptruckliners.com)

Liners will make your aluminum dump truck bed haul just about anything. A good aluminum can even have some interesting effects on the ride quality. Weird right?

How it rides

This one is interesting. Riding with an aluminum dump truck is a smoother ride than with a steel body. This could be do to the fact that steel is much heavier, and where that heaviness is distributed, which may cause more bounce.

Summary

Steel is cheaper (initial purchase), heavier, and can take a better beating. Aluminum is cheaper in the long-run, lightens your load, which means you can haul more. A good liner will make an aluminum bed a force to be reckoned with.

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