First lets take a look at what the industry has done in the last 20 years. Like many things we buy, there comes a time when you probably noticed that the product is shrinking or smaller quantities are given for the same price. In the trailer industry the same thing happens but it may be difficult for the average buyer to see. The way its done with steel and aluminum is with thinner metal. A trailer with a flimsy frame could be sacrificing strength and durability.
For the purpose of this article we are going to focus on the visual aspect of the trailer and how thin aluminum siding can cause “oil canning” or a wavy look. Back in the day, aluminum siding on standard trailers could start at .040 gauge or even .050 gauge. Fast forward to today and the industry starting point is now .024 gauge. For aluminum, the lower the number, the thinner the material. What does this mean for you? Simply put, the thinner the aluminum the more it can move. Heat expands and cold shrinks. When a black .024 gauge trailer is in the sun the aluminum heats up quick and stretches. Thinner aluminum takes less heat to stretch it. You may have noticed some trailers look smoother then others. That is usually because of the difference in aluminum thickness. Thick aluminum requires a lot more heat to move it. Black is the #1 color choice for trailers, but also #1 for a wrinkled looking trailer. Why? Because black shows everything. For example, a white automobile hardly shows a door ding but a black vehicle will magnify the ding. Keep in mind any color trailer can have waves, but may not be as noticeable due to the color. What is the solution? There is not a 100% solution to eliminate waves on all colors. If you want to reduce the wrinkles substantially we offer aluminum thickness up to .050 gauge. If your building a black or dark color trailer and want it to look smoother, purchase the thickest aluminum we offer. If your on a budget and don’t care about the wavy look and just want a trailer that will get the job done then .024 will be fine.
One step further towards a smooth trailer is the option of “semi screw less”. This is a process that uses less screws and a bonding process to install the siding. Less screws means less dimples or “dings”. This is a very popular upgrade for those who are building a custom trailer and want the smoothest look possible. To sum it up, dark trailers show wrinkles the most. If buying a dark trailer and you want a smoother look you should definitely consider .040 gauge or thicker with the semi screw less option.
We also require the thicker aluminum upgrade on some trailers that are built with extra height. If your adding extra height to your trailer it needs .030 gauge or thicker. A taller trailer requires more siding and will exacerbate the situation. USA Cargo is here to help you understand how to spend your money wisely when building a custom trailer. And we feel thicker aluminum siding is where it begins.
You may be asking, why do we even build trailers with .024 gauge if they are so wrinkly? Good question, with a simple answer. There is only one reason we sell them. Our competition sells them and customers like lower prices. We are here to make sure you understand what you are buying. Don’t be fooled. Hopefully this information helps you make the best decision for your new custom trailer build. The knowledgeable staff at USA Cargo Trailer will be happy to help answer any of your questions.