Tradesmen know that having a useful, reliable vehicle is extremely valuable when running service calls. However, how do you know what service body to pick? What service body is best for you? Service bodies come in a variety of sizes, designs, and building materials. So the question then becomes, what is the best material for a service body?
As with many things, the “best” material is going to depend on your needs and budget. The usual industry choices for service body materials are steel, aluminium, and fibreglass. Let’s take a look at these options in more detail below:
Steel is the most economical choice in terms of upfront cost. If the initial budget is your biggest concern, steel is probably the way to go; steel bodies are generally about two-thirds the cost of aluminium ones.
In addition, steel is the right choice for heavy-duty work. Steel is extremely durable and can handle the punishment that comes with heavy loads. For example, landscapers who frequently work with large rocks or paving slabs will find a steel service body stands up to their “abuse” the best. When damaged, a steel body can also be bent back into shape or the damaged piece easily replaced, meaning that repair costs are lower.
However, steel, unlike aluminium or fibreglass, is prone to rust with time. This means that the body can wear out a bit quicker and may need to be replaced sooner. This can be somewhat mitigated by choosing a corrosion-resistant (galvanized) steel, which can last longer than conventional steel.
Fibreglass service bodies are the lightest and longest-lasting option. Fibreglass is known to outlast the chassis of the vehicle on which they are mounted, as it is impervious to most kinds of corrosion. Fibreglass bodies have a service life of more than 20 years.
While fibreglass isn’t as tough as steel, it does have some advantages. It is more likely to crack than metal, but impact damage is more localised, meaning that only one area of the body will need to be replaced or repaired.
The lightweight nature of fibreglass means that there are substantial savings over time in less obvious ways. Less weight from the body means the vehicle burns less fuel. It also means that your ute can carry more cargo. You might even be able to choose a smaller vehicle chassis, saving thousands.
The only significant drawback of fibreglass in most use cases is the higher upfront cost.
Aluminium service bodies are a good middle of the road choice. They are less expensive than fibreglass but more corrosion-resistant than steel. Damage to aluminium isn’t difficult to repair, unlike steel, as cracked paint or dents and dings won’t lead to dangerous rust spots.
Aluminium is also lighter than steel, though not as lightweight as fibreglass. This makes it a good choice for heavy-duty work with a smaller vehicle. Depending on the size of your chassis, a steel body may simply be too heavy for the ute to manage, making aluminium the only truly viable choice.
It won’t last quite as long as a fibreglass body, but if you’re looking to both save on upfront cost and reduce maintenance and replacement costs over time, aluminium might be the way to go.
Weigh your needs and choices up carefully before making a decision on purchasing a service body. You’ll need to consider the kinds of loads you carry and their weight, the effects on corrosion and weathering in your area, and the costs of buying and maintaining the service body. This a serious investment in your business; you’re purchasing a tool to use for years to come. Discuss your needs with a service body supplier to ensure you find the right one for you.
For more information and assistance regarding high-quality service bodies, contact MFI Service Bodies. Set up an appointment today so we can turn your vision into a reality!
Please call us today at MFI Service Bodies on 1300 634 669 or please fill out our enquiry form.