Why choose aluminum over a steel trailer?
If you are in the market for a trailer to haul your motorcycle, golf cart, ATV or any other large item, you need to find out the different options available. Whatever reason you may have for needing the trailer, there is a model that is right for you. There are different types of trailers to choose from but one of the most important decisions you have to make is whether to choose a steel or aluminum trailer. We are going to talk about some reasons why you should consider choosing an aluminum trailer.
Trailer manufacturers aren't the only ones who have figured this out. Automobile and airplane manufacturers have been replacing steel with aluminum, and the majority of the NASA Space Shuttles' structures are constructed from aluminum alloys.
Now, if you want to be technical, steel is stronger than aluminum in some respects. More force must be applied to steel before it starts to bend. However, aluminum flexes three times as much as steel, which means that aluminum is more likely to spring back to its original shape after being stressed. Steel though, will probably stay bent. Steel also fatigues at lower levels of stress than aluminum, and steel's rigidity makes it more vulnerable to cracking because of its brittleness.
Aluminum does not rust
One of the best reasons to choose aluminum over steel is the fact that it does not rust. This means that your trailer will look good for much longer without extensive maintenance. Rust can turn your new trailer into junk within a few years. Rust is one small step away from damage. You would not be comfortable using a rusty trailer to haul your valuable motorcycle, golf Cart, ATV right? With an aluminum trailer it will look just as good as the day you bought it years from now.
It's a Light Weight Trailer
At a time when gas prices are high, using a vehicle with a lower towing capacity is an attractive notion. It is important to think about the weight of the trailer in order to keep within the safe range when planning the total weight of the load. It does not make much sense to pull or tow more weight than you have to which is what happens when you choose trailers made from heavy materials. You need to know that pulling more weight results in lower gas mileage, which essentially increases your transport expenses.
For example, our 5x8 Aluminum trailer only weighs 230lbs. That’s nearly 200lbs lighter than the steel counterpart.
That means the trailer is easier to move around. If you’re trying to adjust the trailer’s position in grass, dirt, or pavement, you can easily do so without straining yourself.
The best part of the light weight really shows when towing the trailer with an SUV, Minivan, or a Crossover. Most often these vehicles can’t pull as much as the average truck. Here’s the towing capacity of some of today’s most popular SUVs and Crossovers.
Honda CR-V - 1500lbs
Nissan Rogue - 1000lbs
Ford Escape - 1500-2000lbs
Toyota RAV4 - 1500lbs
As you can see, these vehicles are restricted to their weight capacity. So let’s do the math. If a 5x8 steel trailer weighs 460lbs and the same aluminum trailer is 220lbs and you have to load your golf cart on your trailer that weights around 1280lbs. For vehicles like the Nissan Rogue, that means you can’t carry much more. For others, you’re going to notice the engine straining to pull the extra weight up an incline. That makes a considerable difference in terms of not only strain on the engine, but also the gas mileage on your vehicle!
Both kinds of trailers require upkeep, but the biggest issue with aluminum trailers is simply lubricating the hinges and latches. Steel trailers, on the other hand, must be examined often in order to prevent rust. Any scratches in the paint need to be touched up or the steel will start to oxidize.
This constant need to maintain the paint coat and the galvanic coat make steel trailer repairs more expensive, too. Steel trailer repairs are usually more expensive than similar repairs to an aluminum trailer because trailer dealers have to repaint it to prevent rust, while galvanized and galvannealed steel have to be stripped of their zinc layer before they can be welded. Then the zinc layer must be reapplied after repairs, and finally the repaired area gets a new coat of paint.
Aluminum trailers require almost no maintenance.
The fact that steel rusts presents a problem when reselling it. Steel trailers only a couple years old often have patches of rust, which is difficult to cover or clean without a lot of work. Older steel trailers can be horribly rusted and even a safety hazard, with rust compromising load-bearing components.
On the other hand, aluminum trailer owners can keep their trailers running like new for decades with just routine maintenance. You can restore their trailer's exterior with an acid bath that brings it back to brand new in minutes. These are just two reasons aluminum trailers command a higher resale price than steel trailers do.
The bottom line is that aluminum is a superior manufacturing material for trailers. While a steel trailer can do the job, an aluminum trailer almost always does a better job. It can last longer, too. You may save money initially, but after watching your trailer eventually rust and getting a replacement while your friends are still using an all-aluminum trailer, you'll know why so many people consider an all-aluminum trailer a superior value.