The Weighted Difference Between Aluminum & Steel Trailers
One of the main differences between steel and aluminum trailers is their weight. You probably guessed it: steel trailers weigh more than aluminum ones. And this is a very important detail to consider when you’re thinking of buying a trailer. After all, the weight of your trailer varies the amount of the load that you can carry as your haul weight is equivalent to your trailer weight minus your axle load bearing capacity.
Aluminum trailers weigh 10 – 15% less than steel trailers on average meaning that you can haul more with them. And this is a great thing, especially if you haul your own machinery, motorcycles, cars or other property from Point A to Point B and then back again. The downside of aluminum’s lightness is that when you’re not hauling, your trailer may be more prone to being blown around the highway under windy or slippery conditions. Of course this also has a flipside: if your trailer is lighter then you’re going to save money when you’re traveling without a load.
If you do live in a place that has severe weather conditions – wind, snow and ice – you might consider getting a heavier steel trailer with a galvanized or galvannealed finish for greater rust resistance. This added protection will keep your trailer free from rust until the skin is scratched or breached. Galvannealed finishes are created when a zinc protective layer is applied which helps prevent rust. This process is more expensive than galvanized finishes and is less common. Also, you won’t have to worry as much as you would while traveling with a light load as your trailer weight is going to be more stable with the extra weight under uncertain conditions.
Whether you buy an aluminum trailer or steel one should be determined by where you live and your planned usage. If you won’t be hauling much empty weight around, go with aluminum. If you have severe weather conditions and will be towing empty often, steel might be the best and safest trailer for you.