Look Trailers | News Blog Post | Trailer Types And Tips | Steel Vs. Aluminum - How Do You Decide? | Featured Image | Two combined pictures to show an example of a steel trailer and an aluminum trailer. Black Steel Enclosed Cargo Trailer. Two-Tone Red and Black Enclosed Aluminum Cargo Trailer with a divider stripe.

Cargo Trailers | Steel vs. Aluminum – How do you decide?

TommyTips, Trailer Types

Deciding which enclosed trailer best suits your application depends on several factors. One of the most fundamental is considering a steel frame or aluminum frame trailer. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a comparison that can assist you in making an informed purchase:

  1. Weight:
    • Aluminum Frame: Aluminum is significantly lighter than steel, which results in a lighter trailer. This can lead to better fuel efficiency when towing and a greater load capacity ratio.
    • Steel Frame: Steel trailers are heavier than aluminum, which can affect fuel efficiency and reduce overall load capacity. However, the additional weight of steel frames can provide more stability during towing.
  2. Durability:
    • Aluminum Frame: Aluminum is more resistant to corrosion than steel, making it an excellent choice for trailers that will be exposed to harsh weather conditions, and de-icing chemicals. Aluminum trailers are less likely to succumb to corrosive effects with proper cleaning and maintenance.
    • Steel Frame: Steel is more susceptible to rust and corrosion, especially when exposed to moisture or road salt. Proper maintenance, paint, and cleaning is essential to extend the trailer’s lifespan
  3. Strength:
    • Aluminum Frame: Aluminum has a lower tensile strength compared to steel. While aluminum trailers can be strong and durable, they may not be as robust as steel trailers, particularly in heavy-duty applications.
    • Steel Frame: Steel is known for its high tensile strength and is a better choice for heavy-duty applications or when carrying extremely heavy loads.
  4. Cost:
    • Aluminum Frame: Aluminum trailers are typically more expensive than their steel counterparts due to higher material and manufacturing costs.
    • Steel Frame: Steel trailers are generally cheaper and easier to build and are often a more cost-effective choice.
    • For a more detailed cost breakdown: click here to connect with a dealer near you today!
  5. Maintenance:
    • Aluminum Frame: Aluminum trailers require less maintenance when it comes to preventing rust and corrosion. Regular cleaning and inspections are usually sufficient to maintain their appearance and functionality.
    • Steel Frame: Steel trailers need more maintenance to prevent rust and corrosion. Regular rust prevention measures, including painting and undercoating, are necessary to prolong their lifespan.
  6. Resale Value:
    • Aluminum Frame: Aluminum trailers often have better resale value because of their durability and resistance to corrosion.
    • Steel Frame: Steel trailers may have a lower resale value due to their tendency to rust over time.
  7. Customization:

In summary, the choice between aluminum-framed and steel-framed enclosed trailers depends on your specific needs and priorities. If you require a lightweight, corrosion-resistant trailer with a higher initial cost, aluminum might be the better option. If you prioritize strength and cost-effectiveness for heavy-duty applications, steel could be more suitable. Additionally, proper maintenance is crucial to extending the lifespan of both types of trailers.