Truck bodies are usually made of either fiber glass or metal. When torn between the two materials, how do you determine the best choice? Automotive manufacturers make truck chassis with the same structure. The body however, will undergo a lot of customization depending on the demands of the customer. Once done, the truck body will then be fitted on top of the truck’s structure separately.
Many fleet managers, including private truck owners, usually go for fiber glass truck bodies due to its many advantages, including: Fiber glass is lighter than steel. The lighter the truck body, the more weight it can carry. The standard 8 ft. fiber glass body weighs 590 lbs., this covers the length of a single-rear wheel, 56-inch cab-to-axle chassis.
A similarly equipped steel truck body weighs considerably more, around 1, 000 to 1,300 lbs. In a Work Truck Magazine article, Bob Johnson, director of fleet relations of the National Truck Equipment Association or the NTEA, the extra 410 – 710 lbs. of payload capacity of the fiber glass body, allows the truck to carry and transport more load.
Fiber glass is a strong and durable material. Fiber glass is composed of synthetic fibers and resin. Resin itself is strong yet brittle, but when combined with the stands of fiber glass, it becomes strong as well as flexible; the perfect material for your truck body Fiber glass bodies lasts long and do not easily give in to wear and tear. If fitted very well, a fiber glass truck body will be able to sustain the daily rigors of transport and travel quite impressively.
And because this material is also lightweight, it does not put pressure on the truck’s body whilst carrying a heavy load. This makes fiber glass the leading choice for truck owners, especially those who are in the military and transportation industries.
Fiber glass makes more financial sense. When it comes to the initial up fit cost, steel truck bodies have the advantage as fiber glass is priced several hundreds to a few thousand dollars more; depending on the size, truck class, and your specification requirements.
However, due to the fact that a fiber glass body is lighter than steel, fuel cost is reduced. According to the US Department of Energy, an extra hundred lbs. of vehicle weight reduces fuel economy by up to 2%. Meaning, the lighter fiber glass body being able to carry more will have the fuel economy advantage over a steel truck body.
Assuming of course, that the fiber glass truck body will continue to travel well for years, you will be able to recoup the cost of the body through fuel savings. In other words, fiber glass is more practical if you look at the big picture.
Fiber glass is easily repairable. One more reason why truck owners and fleet managers go for fiber glass truck body over steel is because they can be fixed easily. When something goes wrong, it won’t take too much time and effort to be repaired. It is also easy to find professionals who can repair your truck body; simply take them to a trusted fiber glass shop or an auto-body shop.