We are often asked about the strength of steel vs aluminum trailers. A closer look at the steel vs. aluminum trailer debate reveals the underlying issues of strength and durability over the life of the trailer.

  • Weight / Density
  • Tensile Strength
  • Strength to Weight Ratio
  • Corrosion Resistance
  • Recyclability
  • Energy Savings

Aluminum

Lifetime Product

  • Lightweight; about 1/3 that of copper or steel.
  • Very Good
  • Very Good
  • [y] Excellent
  • Very High. Excellent Value
  • [y]

Steel

Replace / Repaint

  • High density
  • Very High
  • Good
  • [n] Poor
  • Low Value
  • [n]

Aluminum trailers use high grade alloys

The aluminum used in all-aluminum trailers is a high grade alloy, the same way that steel is an alloy of iron. This aluminum alloy yields about the same strength as steel! In fact, there are aluminium alloys with somewhat-higher tensile strengths than the commonly used kinds of steel. The alloys used in aluminum trailers contain at least 95 percent aluminum. The other five percent is composed of titanium, copper, zinc and chromium. Trace amounts of other metals are also added to enhance the property of the aluminum alloy. Our all aluminum trailers are built by a professional staff using the highest quality engineered extrusions and materials to provide you a lifetime product. Buy it once and spend time doing what you do, not painting and fixing rust. Learn more about aluminum alloys and aluminum extrusions.

Steel Trailers are strong but…

Steel is an alloy that is made by combining iron and another element, usually carbon. Carbon steel contains 0.2% to 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade desired. Carbon and other elements like manganese, chromium, vanadium and tungsten are used as hardening agents in the process. Proponents of  steel trailers in the steel vs aluminum trailer debate are quick to point out that steel has a longstanding reputation of being one of the toughest common alloys, while aluminum is more commonly known as pop can or foil material.

Steel trailer manufacturers have yet to come up with a process that makes steel as rust-resistant as aluminum. When considering aluminum vs steel trailers, you have to consider that steel trailer manufacturers have a galvanizing (dipping process) and galvannealing process (electrochemical process) which coats steel with a protective layer of zinc in order to retard corrosion. This galvanizing and galvannealing process is good but also expensive, so most steel trailers manufacturers only galvanize the skin of the trailer to keep costs low. The galvannealed steel trailers are often painted. Another process is the powder coating (baked process) of the steel. Over time, the elements and gravel can penetrate the paint, powder coat or the protective zinc layer. Without the proper maintenance and recoating of chips and scratches, this rust can destroy the deck that supports your precious cargo. The corrosion weakens the undercarriage and decreases the strength of the once strong steel materials. Why let rust literally eat away at your investment, your trailer’s appearance and your time?

Posted in: Why Aluminum?

About 4 Him Sales

4 Him Sales is the premier dealer of Alum-Line Aluminum Trailers, Fire and Rescue Bodies, Truck Bodies, Toppers and Poppers, Contractor Toppers and Aluminum Boxes, Dog Boxes, Dog Trailers, Cab Protectors and Custom Living Quarters Trailers.