Truck lovers everywhere are often looking for the newest and best features for their trucks. There are all sorts of upgrades available for every model of truck, but purchasing a new truck opens opportunities to find one with the newest features. One of these upgrades is making the body of the truck out of aluminum instead of steel.
As of 2015, the Ford F-150 and the F-Series Super Duty lines of trucks have aluminum bodies and aluminum beds. The F-150 is the most popular aluminum truck by Ford and since making the change from steel to aluminum, Ford has sold even more of their trucks than before.
There are a lot of differences between an aluminum truck and a steel truck. Keep reading to learn more about Ford’s aluminum trucks and the benefits of aluminum.
Benefits of Aluminum
Before we talk about the aluminum models of Ford trucks, we should talk about the benefits of having an aluminum body and bed. There were a lot of doubts about the switch to aluminum from steel when the decision was first made. Wouldn’t the body be weaker, less durable, and more prone to visible damage over time? Surprisingly, this was not the case.
When comparing aluminum truck bodies to steel ones, there are a ton of benefits to be aware of. One of the biggest benefits is the amount of money saved on fuel costs. Aluminum is much lighter than steel, and when your truck is lighter, you get much better mileage. The engine does not have to work as hard to get your truck moving and keep it moving, so it does not use as much fuel.
Because of the lighter weight, the truck has a higher towing and payload capacity. A lighter truck can carry and pull more weight than a heavy one. Aluminum bodies also have the benefit of a higher resale value. Aluminum trucks actually have much less corrosion than a steel body does, which means that your truck will sell for more when you decide you want a new truck.
The resistance to corrosion that we mentioned is also a huge benefit to maintenance costs. It is very unlikely that you will need maintenance done on the body or bed of an aluminum truck as long as you do not get into any serious accidents. If it does get damaged, an aluminum body is easier to fix than a steel body and it will not take as long.
Downfalls of Aluminum
While there are clearly a lot of benefits to an aluminum truck, there are also a few downfalls that steel bodies are better for. The biggest disadvantage is the cost.
An aluminum body for a truck will save you money over time on gas and maintenance, but the initial purchase is more expensive. Aluminum trucks have roughly a $500 increase to their initial price than a steel truck, although it does vary between models.
When it comes to hauling heavy loads, steel is often preferred over aluminum because of its strength and durability. Steel and aluminum are pretty equal when it comes to durability and strength, so it really is up to preference. As the aluminum trucks have developed, they have become stronger and more durable.
Which Trucks are Aluminum
Ford makes a lot of different models of trucks each year, but not all of them are made with aluminum. In fact, only two models of trucks are made with aluminum, and those are the Ford F-150 and the Ford Super Duty. Any year, after 2014, these two models will have an aluminum body.
One of the greatest upgrades that the Ford aluminum trucks got was better mileage. The year before the switch to aluminum, (2014), the Ford F-150 got an average of 20 miles per gallon. The 2021 model with an aluminum body gets an average of 25.5 miles per gallon. That is an incredible improvement on mileage. The Super Duty model of 2014 got about 13 miles per gallon and the 2021 model gets over 16 miles per gallon on average. (Source)
While the aluminum bodies have a lot of benefits, Ford does not make all of its trucks with aluminum bodies. Aluminum, as mentioned before, is more expensive than steel and the original switch over was an expensive risk. Luckily it worked out, but Ford continues to make steel-bodied trucks because they are cheaper to produce and it provides an option for those looking for a cheaper option.
When Did Ford Switch?
In 2015, Ford changed the Ford F-150 and the Super Duty series to aluminum, but why did they do that and what did that switch entail?
Ford switched over two of its models to aluminum for its benefits. We have talked about the increased mileage and the lighter weight. These are the biggest reasons for making the switch. It was more expensive for Ford to manufacture with aluminum, but they ended up selling even more trucks than years prior.
The switch to aluminum was an interesting turning point for Ford, and people were shocked by this choice. They thought that Ford’s trucks would be less durable and would be more prone to taking damage and corroding. However, once Ford proved that the aluminum bodies had more benefits than downfalls, they ended up selling even more trucks and keeping their 40-year record of selling the most trucks out of all their competitors.
Ford had a lot of testing done on the trucks before releasing the aluminum models. This was done to ensure customer satisfaction and confidence in their trucks. These aluminum trucks were 700 pounds lighter and had pretty much the same durability.
Despite Ford’s success with aluminum trucks, their competitors did not make the same change and apart from a few aluminum features, continue to make their trucks from steel.
Having a few aluminum models of trucks has been a huge benefit to Ford and customers have continually been satisfied with the benefits that aluminum provides. If you prefer a steel truck, Ford still has several steel models available, but the aluminum models are worth looking at even though they cost more.