The Clever Reason Some Cargo Trucks Have Quilt-Patterned Rear Doors

It's actually less flashy than it looks.
It's actually less flashy than it looks. / vitpho/iStock via Getty Images

If you pass the time on the road by picking up on small details about the other vehicles, you may have noticed that the rear doors of some cargo trucks aren’t flat. Instead, the stainless steel looks a little like a quilt.

The feature isn’t just for the sake of design. As Jalopnik reports, the quilted pattern cuts down on the reflection of light off the doors, saving surrounding drivers from having to squint through the glare of sunlight or headlights. Manufacturer Utility Trailer calls the product “diamond pattern stainless steel door skin,” and mentions another selling point: it’s “easy to clean and resists corrosion.”

Considering those advantages, it seems like all businesses would opt to outfit their trucks’ rear doors with quilted stainless steel. So why don’t they? In a word: price. A Utility Trailer spokesperson told Jalopnik that the skin costs between $800 and $1000 per truck, and the features most commonly paired with it can knock that up to $3000 or more. A less expensive alternative is white doors, which are better at preventing light reflection than their smooth steel counterparts.

Quilted stainless steel is a popular choice in the food industry, too. Silver Star Metal Fabricating Inc. uses it for coffee trucks, concession trailers, food trucks, and hot dog carts. “This bright, clean hygienic surface is exactly what the health department prefers to see in any food handling business,” the company explains on its website. “The quilted pattern also helps resist scratches and fingerprints while producing a brilliant shine.” Shiny, yes, but not likely to render you momentarily blinded by sunlight as you wait for your hot dog.

[h/t Jalopnik]