Frequently Asked Fridays - Aluminum vs Steel

Frequently Asked Fridays - Aluminum vs Steel


Hey guys, I’m Braeden with Overland Outfitters. You know what day it is! We are diving into another Frequently asked Friday, so let’s get FAFing about! 

Today I wanted to talk about the pros and cons of steel vs aluminum armour. 

First up I figured we could just talk about the general benefits and deficits of Aluminum and Steel. 

Aluminum

  • Aluminum is lighter than steel, and 
  • it also doesn’t rust, which is great for areas (like here in BC) where roads get salted in the winter. However, Aluminum is quite a lot more expensive than steel.
  • Aluminum isn’t as strong as steel either, and under repeated stresses, Aluminum tends to crack.. 

Steel

  • Steel has the benefits of being cheaper, stronger and easier to work with, 
  • however, the penalties are weight and the fact that it can rust. 

There are a lot of different kinds of armour you can get, and the material that they are made out of matters more or less depending on which part we are talking about. 

We’ll start with the front of the vehicle and work our way back! 

So in the front you have the front bumper; Here, aluminum is great to save weight, but if you plan on winching a lot, or doing hard recoveries in the front, steel will be the better option. I had an aluminum front bumper on my truck, and I did bend it under a hard pull. However, the light weight is really nice, so if you don’t intend on abusing it, it could be a good option.

For the skid plates underneath the vehicle, the same general idea applies. If you plan on dragging your truck over rocks frequently, steel is definitely the better option. Not only are they stronger, but they also slide better. Aluminum actually tends to gouge and get stuck on rocks. However, if you just want skids to protect your vehicle from the odd accidental bad line choice, and don’t intend to really hammer them hard, aluminum can be a great option that will save weight. 

Getting into the sliders, I would absolutely never recommend aluminum. I’ve seen steel sliders bend from heavy hits; so aluminum would stand no chance at all. If you want to use your sliders as a hilift point, aluminum won’t be able to support the weight of the vehicle either. Aluminum “sliders” are more like glorified side steps than actually useful armour. Not to mention, once again, that aluminum tends to gouge and get stuck on rocks, rather than SLIDE over them like they were designed to. 

Finally, the rear bumper. I don’t know of many brands that offer an aluminum rear bumper, and that’s for a reason. If you ever want to use a built in hitch to tow a trailer or hold a bike rack or anything else, aluminum would not be up to the challenge. The rear bumper also sees the most abuse from getting dragged on the ground and over rocks frequently. Typically your rear suspension is able to handle weight better than the front anyway, so Steel rear bumpers are definitely the way to go for the back of the vehicle. 

So basically, Aluminum is an okay choice depending on how hard you use your vehicle, and how often you are doing recoveries or dragging through rocks. However, the further back you go on the vehicle, the more sense it makes to use steel. 

But that’s just what I’ve experienced running both aluminum and steel skids and front bumpers. I want to know what your thoughts are! Has Aluminum worked well for you? Or is steel the way to go? Let me know in the comments; If you liked this video, hit the thumbs up, and if you want to see more of our frequently asked questions getting answered, make sure you subscribe! 

See you all in the next one! BuhBye! 


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