Steel vs. Aluminum Pickup Frames: The Debate Continues

When it comes to new pickup trucks, the recent debate popping up in the industry appears to be aluminum vs. steel frames.

Truck manufacturers are all about aluminum lately after Ford unveiled its 2015 Ford F-150 with an aluminum body and GM stating it will release an aluminum pickup by 2018.

In fact, automakers say more than 75 percent of all new pickup trucks produced in North America will be aluminum-boded by 2025.

Aluminum offers different advantages compared to steel, but in the long run, sister magazine Equipment World’s executive editor, Tom Jackson, believes steel should stick around.

In a recent article from Equipment World, Car and Driver magazine in its July issue reports that repair shops will need to invest almost $40,000 in new equipment and training to work on aluminum-body vehicles.

But what really stands out in the article is this quote from the owner of a Detroit body shop: “Unlike steel structural members, which can be straightened, similar aluminum parts and castings always have to be replaced. A key difference between these two metals is that steel has a memory and aluminum does not.”

However, Reading Body recently released a few benefits of aluminum bodies:

  • Aluminum has corrosive properties that can reduce costly repairs across the life of the truck
  • Aluminum is 99.8 percent pure
  • Using an aluminum service body can increase fuel efficiency by 8-10 percent
  • By using aluminum, some truck models have dropped as much as 1,000 pounds of body weight
  • Aluminum provides less wear and tear, improved safety, decreased gross vehicle cost, increase legal payload capacity and is supportive of compressed natural gas alternative fuel systems

In the end, it sounds like users will have a good idea of which is better by 2025.

 Reading Truck Infographic V4

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