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Automakers have been experimenting with a range of materials to reduce the weight of their pickup trucks. Buyers can purchase trucks with body panels and even beds made of aluminum or composite materials. Since the 2019 Ram 1500, Ram trucks do leverage some aluminum to save weight, but less than any other American pickup truck.

Does Ram use aluminum?

Yes. The latest Ram 1500 features an aluminum hood, tailgate, and other components. These changes helped the manufacturer shave 225 pounds off its truck for the 2019 model year.

Two men sitting on the aluminum tailgate of a Ram 1500 pickup truck.
2019 Ram 1500’s aluminum tailgate | Stellantis

The 2019 Ram 1500 is the first year of the truck’s fifth generation. While redesigning its full-size truck, Stellantis focused on shedding excess weight. By using higher-strength steel, Ram reduced its frame’s weight by 100 pounds. It also replaced its upper control arms and the frame’s air dam with composite materials. Finally it replaced several steel components with aluminum versions.

Aluminum components of the 2019-present Ram 1500 include the engine mounts, front axle center section, front suspension cross-member, transmission cross-member, and steering system gear.

Some of Ram’s competitors have replaced steel body panels, and even entire truck beds, with aluminum components. But Stellantis clarified, “The all-new Ram 1500 also takes advantage of lightweight aluminum for selective components, not just where possible but where practical.”

To this end, Ram replaced the Ram 1500’s hood with an aluminum unit back in 2009. Then, they engineered a lightweight, aluminum multifunction tailgate for the 2019 model year. Unlike other trucks, no other Ram door or body panels are aluminum. The Ram 1500 uses less aluminum than any other American pickup truck.

What trucks are made of aluminum?

Ford made headlines when it switched to an aluminum truck body for the 2015 Ford F-150. General Motors did some of its Silverado/Sierra body panels with aluminum, but expressed concerns over Ford’s aluminum bed. Silverado beds are made of steel while GMC Sierra offers a carbon fiber bed. Ram only uses aluminum for its hoods and tailgates. Toyota swapped to a composite bed for its 2022 Tundra, reinforcing it with aluminum.

2021 Ford F-150 towing an RV trailer.
2021 F-150 Limited towing an aluminum trailer | Ford

Is an aluminum truck better than steel?

Aluminum weighs less than steel: the F-150 shed 800 pounds by switching body panels. But it is energy-intensive to produce and thus costs much more than steel. Some critics have worried that aluminum-bodied vehicles will be less safe, but there’s no evidence supporting these myths.

Red Ram truck parked in front of a mansion.
2022 Ram 1500 Limited | Stellantis

While critics worry aluminum trucks are less safe, the engineers at Reading truck beds claim that well-constructed aluminum is just as safe as steel. In addition, the IIHS reviewed the aluminum-bodied F-150 and concluded that it did great in every crash test. That said, the latest F-150 did not maintain its IIHS top safety pick because of outdated, dim headlights.

Interested in America’s least-aluminum truck? Check out the base trim of the Ram 1500.


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