Problems with Cracks in Aluminum Bike Trailers?

Thinking about purchasing an aluminum flat bed style trailer as a bike hauler. A co-worker mentioned that he had heard the aluminum frames are prone to cracking. Anyone have any experience with one?

Anything made of aluminum is prone to cracking. Even with a very small cyclical load, aluminum will eventually fatigue and break. This is in contrast to steel which will not fatigue, provided the load is kept below a certain level.

What this means is that you must watch any aluminum part for cracks, because eventually they will develop. Fortunately, they are easy to fix.

As far as your trailer goes, it depends on the design. If it is over-built, the cracks will take a long time to develop.

There are a lot of factors to look at when trying to determine whether or not an aluminum trailer will crack.

1. Are you keeping the load within the specified limits?

2. What type of aluminum the trailer is made from? Different types of aluminum have very different properties.

3. How good was the welder and did he use the correct settings?

4. Was the trailer engineered correctly to begin with?

5. How the trailer is being pulled, speed, road conditions, etc. In other words is it being abused.

Steel and aluminum will both fatigue and crack. Steel is much easier to have fixed at almost any local fab shop or at home. In contrast, aluminum requires more specialized equipment and a more skilled welder.

Aluminum can be durable if it is used correctly. If you decide to buy one, ask a lot of questions and get something that has a higher load rating than what you expect to carry.

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