Why Do Some Semi Truck Trailer Doors Have a Quilted Pattern?

Have you ever noticed that some semi trucks trailers’ rear doors have a quilted diamond pattern? No, this style is not inspired by Charmin or your grandmother’s favorite hobby. These quilted doors are a premium option designed to reduce the glare suffered by drivers following the semi truck trailer.

What are quilted tractor trailer doors called?

Semi truck trailer manufacturer Utility Trailer markets its premium doors as “diamond pattern stainless steel doors.”

Side-by-side comparison of a semi truck trailer with a white painted door and a stainless steel door.
Semi truck trailers | A&M trailers

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Most trailer manufacturers offer a painted white trailer door “skin” as their entry-level option. Many manufacturers also offer a stainless steel premium door skin.

Stainless steel semi truck door skins are easier to clean than painted doors. The stainless steel finish also resists corrosion caused by road salt or weather.

Utility Trailer charges between $800 and $1,000 for its premium stainless steel semi truck trailer door skins. Most customers order it as part of a $3,000-$4,000 package.

Because most semi truck trailers are in service for years and stainless steel doors last longer, the upgrade seems like a no-brainer. But there’s one major problem with stainless steel trailer doors: they can be deadly.

Why are some tractor trailer doors quilted?

Stainless steel is highly reflective. A flat stainless steel door would be the equivalent of a huge mirror at the back of a semi truck trailer. Trailer manufacturers build quilted stainless steel doors to reduce glare.

Advertising shot of the quilted rear stainless doors of a premium semi truck trailer.
Semi truck trailer | Utility Trailers

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A stainless steel panel with a quilted pattern still reflects light, but the light refracts in many directions. Therefore, no one driver behind a semi truck trailer will get hit by all of the glare from its stainless steel door.

José Rodríguez Jr. Jalopnik actually ran a test to see how well stainless steel doors reduce glare. He drove behind a semi truck trailer with a quilted, stainless steel door as the sun was setting behind him. What he found was that the stainless panel was less distracting than an oncoming driver with their highbeams on.

Quilted stainless steel semi truck trailer doors are also a fashion statement

A quilted stainless steel door makes a semi truck trailer safer by reducing glare. It also gives a semi truck trailer an upscale appearance. Many heavy truck owner/operators take pride in how their trucks look, splurging on chrome accessories and a quilted stainless door fits this style.

A promo photo of a semi truck and trailer driving along a rural road, a river and mountains visible in the background.
Semi truck trailer | Utility Trailers

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Utility Trailer lists multiple benefits of its Diamond Pattern Stainless Steel Door Skin: “Door skin is easy to clean and resists corrosion, while the high gloss quilted design presents a unique appearance and reduces glare to following vehicles.”

Next, see why some semi truck trailers have fins or see Uitlity Trailer’s quilted stainless door for yourself in the video below:

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