What do you deem most important when buying a truck bed? The answer likely depends on what you will be hauling in your truck bed. If you plan on hauling rocks, masonry, and other heavy and abrasive materials, strength may be your most important criterion. On the other hand, if you simply want to save as much as possible, the weight of the bed is an important consideration since a heavier bed will increase the mount of fuel required to move your bed. The two most common materials used for truck beds are aluminum and steel, but when you compare the two, there is a clear winner.
Pure aluminum is not as strong as steel, so if you are looking for a strong bed, you might think that a steel bed is the obvious choice. Not so fast. Aluminum alloys contain elements such as magnesium, copper, titanium, and silicon. These alloys can be as strong or stronger than steel while steel weighing less. Thus, if you want a strong aluminum bed, the key is to make sure your aluminum bed is made from the right alloy.
If you are looking for a light bed that will both increase your payload and decrease your fuel costs, aluminum is the clear choice. Steel is 2.5 times denser than aluminum, which makes it heavier. The heavier your bed is, the lower your payload is because your truck has to first haul the bed. On the other hand, if your truck is empty, you can decrease fuel costs because a higher bed requires less fuel to move. Thus, using an aluminum bed is the clear choice based on weight.
Because the primary component in steel is iron, steel is highly corrosive. Thus, you need to wash your truck frequently to wash off salt and make sure the paint stays intact. On the other hand, aluminum is much less corrosive than iron, so it should reduce your maintenance costs, and because you don't have to worry about selling a rusty bed, your resale value increases as well.
In most categories, aluminum is at lease a contender if not the clear winner. The one area where aluminum does not fair well is cost. The initial cost of aluminum is much higher than steel. On the other hand, if you can handle the initial costs, the pay-offs to using an aluminum bed still make it an attractive choice as compared to steel beds. For more information, contact companies like Martin Truck Bodies, Inc.