Chevrolet recently set out to prove that sometimes steel is just better than aluminum. In a recent ad campaign, Chevy showed the results of lab tests and more than 26 real-world demonstrations about the reliability of high-strength steel in truck beds versus aluminum bodies. Consistently outperforming the aluminum designs, the Silverado steel design won every time.
According to Chevy, the Silverado high-strength steel design had much better impact durability than aluminum like that found in the F-150. In fact, when it came to surface damage such as fracturing, denting, and rupturing, the aluminum just couldn’t hold up when something was dropped on it. If you want a rugged pickup, you probably want to opt for a high-strength steel design.
In one demonstration, Chevy tested the impacts of a toolbox falling from the wall of the bed to the bottom, and the results were surprising. Although the steel Silverado was virtually unmarked, the aluminum had a large gouge in the bed; thus, a steel design is much more practical.
Chevy also had a landscaping block demonstration performed, when roughly 825 pounds of materials were dropped in each bed from a height of five feet. In 12 demonstrations, the aluminum bed developed significant puncture damage, averaging 4.3 holes per demonstration. On the other hand, the Silverado survived with no punctures.
The results are in: If you want durability, get the Silverado. Sometimes it just pays to have steel instead of aluminum.