Aluminum or Steel for Headache Racks?

Truck drivers in the market for a new headache rack can choose between aluminum and steel models. While the Mytee Products inventory is exclusive to aluminum and other alloys, there are some companies that deal in steel headache racks as well. That begs the question of whether one material is better than the other. We would say ‘yes’, based on the properties of both.

Before we talk about advantages and disadvantages, we should first discuss what steel and aluminum actually are. We will begin steel.

Steel is an alloy made mostly of iron and carbon. It offers an extremely high tensile strength which makes it an ideal material for building construction, road construction, and the manufacture of everything from automobiles to tools. Steel is also very inexpensive to produce.

Aluminum is a natural element and a soft, ductile metal. If you took high school chemistry, you probably remember that the symbol for aluminum on the periodic table is Al. At any rate, aluminum is highly chemically reactive to the extent that it is rare to find it in a pure form in nature. Rather, it is embedded in ore – usually bauxite.

Steel Headache Racks

Steel headache racks used to be the norm for American truckers. Drivers preferred steel decades ago because of its extreme strength and heavy weight. They could bolt a steel headache rack to the back of a truck cab or flatbed trailer in full confidence that it would stand up to virtually any load. That is still true today.

The biggest disadvantage of steel is the fact that it easily corrodes. In order to prevent corrosion, manufacturers can galvanize the steel or add certain chemical additives to slow nature down. In the end though, nature almost always wins. Truck drivers who prefer steel headache racks have to put some effort into routine maintenance in order to prevent corrosion.

Aluminum Headache Racks

Aluminum has its own drawbacks as a material for headache racks. The biggest is that aluminum, in its natural form, is too soft to be used for anything requiring structural integrity. The good news is that aluminum can be combined with other materials to create an alloy that is as strong as steel. In some cases, aluminum alloys are even stronger.

The vast majority of headache racks sold these days are made from high-strength, premium aluminum alloys capable of withstanding the toughest punishment. Better yet, aluminum is not subject to corrosion. In fact, aluminum oxidizes when exposed to the air. Oxidation creates a thin protective layer over the surface of the metal that naturally prevents corrosion.

Aluminum has another benefit that is especially attractive to truck drivers who enjoy entering their trucks in competitions: aluminum can be cleaned and polished to an extremely bright shine. Using a simple technique and a proven aluminum polish, drivers can get their headache racks to shine so brightly that they can see their own reflections in them.

We Have Your Next Headache Rack

Mytee Products carries more than half-of-dozen headache rack models along with installation kits, light bars, chain hangers, and binder racks. Everything you need to protect yourself and your truck against shifting loads can be found here on our site. We invite you to browse our inventory of headache racks and supplies.

If you are in the market for a new headache rack, we recommend an aluminum alloy product from Mytee Products. Aluminum alloys are strong yet still lightweight. An aluminum headache rack will keep you safe without the extra weight of steel or the need to continually maintain the rack to prevent corrosion.

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