The two most popular types of materials end dumps are made from are steel and aluminum. Depending on what you’re hauling – choosing the right build can make all the difference. But let’s talk about what each type of metal alloy offers and how it should affect your purchasing decisions.
The main categories we’re going to look at are weight, strength, maintenance, resistance, cost, resale value, and environmental impact
If you’ve been hauling materials for even a little bit, you know how important it is to be able to haul as much as you can while still staying under the legal weight limits. Aluminum is a much lighter material. In fact, we weighed a tridem aluminum end dump and a tridem steel end dump and compared them. The aluminum end dump weighed around 6000 pounds LESS than the steel end dump.
If you’re making frequent trips, being able to haul an additional 6,000 pounds of materials per load could end up making you (and saving you) thousands of dollars a year. So, this point goes to aluminum.
Everybody knows steel is strong and durable and it’s why it has been used in trailer manufacturing for so long. However, despite aluminum being lightweight, the way it’s manufactured and welded when it comes to making trailers makes it debatably just as strong as steel.
That being said, the common consensus is aluminum trailers are more likely to gain bends and dents if you’re just tossing materials into them without care (for example, old discarded rubble), but this can be dealt with in ways we’ll get to later on in the article.
It’s no secret that steel is more prone to rusting than aluminum because aluminum is naturally rust and corrosion-resistant. This and the acid baths used in aluminum trailer maintenance keep trailers looking better for longer. So, aluminum is the way to go if you’re looking for a trailer that will stay fresh when dealing with multiple and harsh weather conditions. But rust proofing options are available for steel trailers as well.
Upkeeping your trailer is incredibly important, but it can be a tiresome process. When it comes to steel trailers, gaining patches of rust is common after a few years of use and you’ll need to repaint and rust-proof fairly often.
With aluminum, you’ll need to acid wash your trailer every few years, but you’ll be doing so far less than you’ll be repainting and rust-proofing your steel trailer to keep it looking fresh and clean. On top of this, because aluminum is more malleable, buffing out dents is much easier and cheaper than doing so with steel.
This is a category where steel trailers flat out win hands down. Depending on the bells and whistles you put on your end dump trailer, steel end dumps are typically around $30,000 cheaper than aluminum end dumps. So, the upfront cost is heavily in favour of steel end dumps.
That being said, because of the reasons we mentioned earlier – aluminum end dumps could end up saving you money with fewer trips needed to haul your goods and fewer maintenance costs.
When it comes time to sell your used end dump, potential buyers are looking for a high-quality and polished trailer. This makes aluminum end dumps much easier to resell since they stay in a pristine condition much longer.
Because of this, companies will typically offer longer warranties on aluminum trailers, which also heavily helps with resale value.
It’s estimated around 85% of aluminum trailers are made from recycled aluminum products. On top of this, no harmful chemicals are typically used when creating aluminum trailers. This makes aluminum trailers far better for the environment.
If you’re looking for less upfront cost and a trailer less prone to getting banged up and dented – the steel end dump trailer is the way to go. If you’re looking for less maintenance costs, making frequent dumping trips, a trailer that stays prettier longer and wanting a better future resale value – aluminum end dumps are the way to go.
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