Aluminum Truck Beds vs. Steel Truck Beds

In the beginning, buyers didn’t worry about the metal used in building a truck bed because the only metal available was steel.
Steel had some problems though. The biggest problem was that it rusted. Even today, most steel starts to rust after only a year of use. Over time, a steel truck bed can slowly disintegrate.

When the all-aluminum truck bed came on the market in early 2000 it had a huge advantage over steel as a manufacturing material. Not only did aluminum resist rust and corrosion, it was also lighter. Aluminum Bed owners reported better gas mileage which added to its popularity.

All-aluminum beds tend to be more expensive than steel beds, however. And steel bed manufacturers claim aluminum beds just can’t withstand a heavy payload as well as a steel bed. This leaves buyers with a hard choice-do they pay more for an all-aluminum bed with its supposed superiority, or buy a more familiar steel bed and save money? Opinions vary wildly.

What are the facts, though? Is an all-aluminum bed really a better choice? Have steel bed manufacturers managed to overcome the material’s flaws? This article aims to answer that question.

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Steel vs. Aluminum: The Lightweight Wars Heat Up

Steel vs. aluminum? By choosing to build the 2015 F-150 with an all-aluminum body, Ford is shaving 700 pounds from the truck’s weight. And that’s a critical factor as automakers struggle to reach a 54.5 mpg fleet average by 2025. The F-150 has been America’s favorite vehicle for 32 years, so light weighting it—and reaching, maybe, 30 mpg on the highway—is really important to Ford.

The FutureSteelVehicle (FSV) is said to cut body mass by 39 percent when used in a battery electric vehicle. (SMDI graphic) Steel vs. Aluminum: The Lightweight Wars Heat Up Steel vs. Aluminum: The Lightweight Wars Heat Up steel 20FSV 20BEV 20Peel 20Away 20Image 20small

The FutureSteelVehicle (FSV) is said to cut body mass by 39 percent when used in a battery electric vehicle. (SMDI graphic)

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