Selecting A Truck Body

In a previous post we spoke about What To Know When Selecting A Truck Body Builder. In this article we cover some points to take into consideration when Selecting A Truck Body for your truck.

When selecting a truck body, the main points to consider include:

  • The trucks application
  • Body type and load capacity
  • Matching the truck chassis with the body
  • Cargo requirements and access
  • Using available resources such as fleet management companies, dealers, shop managers, and OEMs

Truck body selection directly impacts productivity, safety, truck body lifespan and the overall cost of vehicle ownership. These 9 points cover the basics to consider when selecting truck bodies for your fleet.

The process of selecting a body for trucks, however, has considerably more aspects to consider, especially for those new to fleet management or at least to the truck side of a fleet. The fleet manager is not only sifting through OEM chassis specs, but also the dozens of options available with aftermarket truck bodies.

What length should it be? What material should it be built from? What size and spec chassis is needed to fit the body and the application? These questions are just scratching the surface.

So, how does a fleet manager stack the odds in his or her favor to select a truck body that best fits the application and budget?

Follow these 9 steps when Selecting A Truck Body:


1 – Application of the truck body

What exactly will the truck be used for? Will it be transporting loose gravel, pallets of bricks, refuge bags, construction debris, large rocks or a combination of items? How much will the maximum load weigh? Will it be a constant load or will it diminish with each delivery throughout the day? Will the truck pull a trailer? If so, what length? How much total weight, including the trailer, is cargo? All these answers will present a clear idea of what body spec and chassis capacity will be needed and can give the truck body builder a better understanding of the trucks application, aiding in the manufacturing process.

2 – Expected lifecycle of the truck body

Determine the expected lifespan you would like the truck to be kept in operation? This important question will sometimes affect the price range and possibly sacrifice build quality for a lower priced truck body that is going to be on a shorter turn cycle. At Stako Engineering, we always opt for a better build quality and stronger design, to insure the longevity of the truck, aiding in years of operation and a higher resale value.

3 – Consider marketing & branding requirements

However graphics is a frequent afterthought in the truck body selection process, you’ve got to balance functionality with promotional considerations.

4 – Choose a body type

How much space will the cargo require? How will the cargo be loaded and unloaded? Does cargo need extra protection from climate and theft? Are there specific temperature requirements for the cargo?

Some applications for common truck body types include:

  • Service/utility body. Electrical, plumbing, mechanical, heating and air, mobile equipment service and general construction.
  • Flatbed – Heavy construction, and mechanical distribution.
  • Tipper Truck – Sand and stone, bricks, compost.
  • Dry van bodies – Package, equipment and furniture delivery and logistics.
  • Refrigerated body – Food and beverage delivery.

Click here for a full list of truck bodies we manufacture.

5 – Calculate required body dimensions

Refer back to the answers to the questions in Step 1. When hauling pallets of tile, for example, what length, width, and height does each pallet measure? How many pallets will the truck carry in a full load? How much total space, in terms of combined length, width, and height, would that number of pallets require? What else will be placed on the truck at full load? How much space does the fleet manager need to accommodate?

Based on these calculations, work with a body manufacturer and/or fleet management company to determine the precise dimensions needed for the truck body to safely carry this cargo.

Another aspect of body height to consider is clearance. Will the truck need to fit in parking garages and other areas with limited height clearance? If so, spec the truck and body height accordingly.

6 – Decide which body material works best

What region or climate will the truck operate in? If it operates in highly corrosive environments with harsh winters or coastal regions with salty sea air, then ­consider alternative materials to conventional steel, such as aluminum, fiberglass and other composites. However, these materials will cost more than steel. Therefore, balance the advantages of alternative materials, in terms of corrosion resistance, body longevity, and, in many cases, lighter weight, with the additional cost to determine whether it’s worth the investment.

7 – Evaluate body flooring options

Concentration of load impacts body floor material and construction. If you’re loading with a forklift, consider the concentrated load of not only the forklift, but also the pallet it is carrying into the body. Make sure the floor strength is appropriate for that application. Additional cross members to the rear area of the floor will go a long way toward safely supporting that added weight.

Also, keep slip resistance in mind with floor selection. If employees will be stepping onto or into the vehicle’s body, what precautions can be made to prevent slip-and-fall accidents?

8 – Identify cargo access needs

How will cargo loading and unloading be handled? Will it be from the rear of the truck, the side, or both? If a box truck is selected, what type and size doors will be needed? Should built-in stairs be included to minimize employee fatigue from entering and exiting the truck body?

Or, if selecting a flatbed, what type and size sides does the application require? Can removable stake sides be used, or would it be more efficient for employees to use a swing-open rear gate with fixed posts?

9 – Mounted equipment and other options

Does equipment such as a water tank, ladder, trailering equipment, crane, or compressor, need to be mounted to the truck body? The type of equipment included might impact the body specs.

For more information regarding truck body selection or for a free consultation, please do not hesitate to contact one of our truck body specialists.

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