Ultimate Guide to Utes Trays: Functionality and Style

Whether you're a tradesperson, an adventurer, or someone who simply values the added space and convenience, Utes trays can transform your vehicle into a powerhouse of utility. But how do you choose the right one, and what should you know before making a p

When it comes to maximizing the functionality and utility of your Ute, trays are an essential addition. They not only enhance the look of your vehicle but also provide practical solutions for transporting goods, tools, and equipment. Whether you're a tradesperson, an adventurer, or someone who simply values the added space and convenience, Utes trays can transform your vehicle into a powerhouse of utility. But how do you choose the right one, and what should you know before making a purchase? Together, we will examine the advantages, installation, and other aspects of Utes trays.

Ultimate Guide to Utes Trays: Functionality and Style

What are Utes Trays?

Utes trays are flatbeds installed on the back of utility vehicles, commonly known as Utes. These trays replace the traditional tub or bed, providing a flat and open surface for transporting a wide range of items. They are popular among tradespeople, outdoor enthusiasts, and anyone needing extra space and functionality from their vehicle.

Benefits of Utes Trays

Enhanced Cargo Space
Utes trays offer a larger and more versatile cargo area compared to standard Ute tubs. This makes it easier to transport bulky and oversized items.

Improved Accessibility
With a flat surface and often lower sides, Utes trays provide better access to tools and equipment, making loading and unloading quicker and more efficient.

Customization Options
Utes trays can be customized with various accessories, such as toolboxes, ladder racks, and tie-down points, allowing users to tailor their vehicle to their specific needs.

Made from robust materials like aluminum and steel, Utes trays are designed to withstand harsh conditions and heavy use, ensuring longevity and reliability.

Types of Utes Trays

Steel Trays
Known for their strength and durability, steel trays are ideal for heavy-duty use and can handle substantial loads without bending or breaking.

Aluminum Trays
Lighter than steel but still strong, aluminum trays are resistant to rust and corrosion, making them perfect for coastal and wet environments.

Composite Trays
These trays combine materials like plastic and fiberglass, offering a balance between weight and durability, and are often chosen for their aesthetic appeal.

Flat Trays
Flat trays provide a large, open surface with no sidewalls, ideal for carrying oversized items that wouldn't fit in a traditional tub.

Tipper Trays
These trays come with a hydraulic system that allows the tray to tilt, making unloading bulk materials like soil or gravel much easier.

How to Choose the Right Utes Tray

Assess Your Needs
Consider what you'll be using the tray for. Are you carrying heavy equipment, or do you need a versatile space for various items? This will influence the type and material of the tray you choose.

Check Compatibility
Ensure the tray is compatible with your vehicle make and model. Some trays are designed specifically for certain Ute brands and may not fit others.

Consider Weight
The weight of the tray can affect your vehicle's performance and fuel efficiency. Aluminum trays are lighter than steel, which can be a crucial factor.

Think About Accessories
Decide if you need additional features like toolboxes, racks, or tie-down points, and check if these can be integrated into the tray you're considering.

Materials Used in Utes Trays

Steel is renowned for its strength and durability, making it a popular choice for heavy-duty applications. However, it's heavier and can be prone to rust if not properly treated.

Aluminum is lighter than steel and resistant to rust, making it ideal for all-weather conditions. It may not be as strong as steel but offers a good balance of durability and weight.

Composite materials, such as fiberglass, offer a lightweight and rust-resistant option. They are often used for their aesthetic qualities and ease of maintenance.

Installation Process

Before installation, ensure you have all necessary tools and parts. Read through the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Remove Existing Tub
If replacing a tub, carefully remove it from your Ute, making sure not to damage any mounting points or wiring.

Attach Mounting Brackets
Secure the mounting brackets to the chassis of the vehicle. This step is crucial for ensuring the tray is securely attached.

Fit the Tray
Lift the tray onto the Ute, aligning it with the mounting brackets. Secure it with bolts and check for proper alignment.

Connect Electrical Components
If the tray has lights or other electrical components, connect the wiring to your vehicle's electrical system.

Maintenance Tips

Regular Cleaning
Keep the tray clean to prevent rust and corrosion. Use mild soap and water for aluminum and composite trays, and a rust-inhibiting cleaner for steel trays.

Inspect for Damage
Regularly check for any signs of wear or damage, such as cracks or loose bolts, and address them promptly to avoid further issues.

Lubricate Moving Parts
If your tray has moving parts, such as a tipping mechanism, ensure they are well-lubricated to prevent wear and tear.

Customizing Your Utes Tray

Adding a toolbox to your tray can provide secure storage for tools and equipment, keeping them organized and easily accessible.

Ladder Racks
Ladder racks are essential for tradespeople who need to transport ladders or long items. They can be mounted on the sides or top of the tray.

Drawers and Shelves
Install drawers and shelves for better organization of smaller items, making it easier to find what you need quickly.

Protective Coatings
Applying a protective coating to your tray can enhance its durability and resistance to weather conditions.

Safety Considerations

Weight Distribution
Ensure that the load on your tray is evenly distributed to avoid instability while driving. Overloading one side can lead to dangerous driving conditions.

Secure Loads
Always secure your loads with appropriate restraints to prevent them from shifting during transit, which can cause accidents.

Check Legal Requirements
Be aware of the legal requirements for Utes trays in your area, such as weight limits and load securing regulations.

Cost and Budgeting

Initial Purchase
The cost of Utes trays can vary widely depending on the material, brand, and additional features. Set a budget and choose a tray that meets your needs without overspending.

Installation Costs
Factor in the cost of professional installation if you are not doing it yourself. Some trays are more complex to install than others.

Maintenance Expenses
Consider the long-term maintenance costs, such as cleaning supplies, rust inhibitors, and potential repairs.

Real-life Applications

For electricians, plumbers, and builders, Utes trays provide a versatile and secure way to transport tools and materials to job sites.

Outdoor Enthusiasts
Adventurers can use Utes trays to carry camping gear, bikes, kayaks, and other equipment, making them perfect for road trips and outdoor activities.

On the farm, Utes trays are invaluable for transporting feed, tools, and livestock equipment, enhancing efficiency and productivity.

DIY Enthusiasts
Homeowners who enjoy DIY projects can use Utes trays to transport materials, tools, and finished projects, simplifying their tasks.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Overloading the Tray
Avoid exceeding the weight limit of your Utes tray, as this can cause damage to both the tray and your vehicle, and compromise safety.

Ignoring Maintenance
Neglecting regular maintenance can lead to rust, wear, and other issues that can shorten the lifespan of your tray.

Poor Installation
Improper installation can result in an insecure tray, leading to accidents and damage. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions or seek professional help.


Utes trays are a fantastic addition to any utility vehicle, offering enhanced functionality, versatility, and style. By understanding the different types of trays, their benefits, and how to choose and maintain the right one, you can make an informed decision that suits your needs. Whether you’re a tradesperson, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply looking for more cargo space, a well-chosen Utes tray can transform your vehicle and improve your day-to-day activities.

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