Ladder Chassis vs Monocoque Chassis for Cars, Which is Better?

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There are two types of car chassis today namely the ladder chassis and also the monocoque. – The car chassis acts like a skeleton in the human body, so its role is crucial. This frame or chassis is responsible for supporting the entire structure of the car and for driving safety and comfort. Therefore, chassis selection and design cannot be underestimated, for it will greatly affect the character of a car.

Since the car was first invented till now, various types of chassis have been applied. However, in modern cars, there are generally two main types of chassis, namely ladder frame and monocoque. Both types of frames have their own characteristics and obviously have different advantages and disadvantages.

So what are the differences between ladder frame and monocoque frame and the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Ladder frame

Ladder Frame Car Chassis Construction.

Ladder Frame Car Chassis Construction. (Source: Ortizaku Specifications)

The ladder frame chassis has a ladder-like shape found at the bottom of the bodywork. The construction of this ladder is solid and durable and separate from the body.

The ladder frame chassis has a lot of weight, so the car looks taller. Between the chassis and the body they are combined using a support that helps absorb shocks from the road so that they are not transmitted directly to the body or the passenger compartment.

The main advantage of this frame is the manufacturing process which is simpler and cheaper. Not only that, the ladder frame chassis also provides more ground clearance (clearance under the car) and is more flexible and stronger to bear loads.

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Because of these benefits, ladder frame chassis are used extensively in vehicles such as trucks, pickup trucks, and SUVs designed for off-roading. It should be noted that most private cars and small cars have begun to switch to using monocoque frames.

However, the ladder frame frame also has disadvantages. First, due to the separate construction of the chassis and body, the overall weight of the car is higher.

Also, because it has high ground clearance, the car becomes more susceptible to rocking or rolling. From a safety standpoint, ladder frame frames do not typically feature crumple zone construction.

Monocoque frame

Construction of Monokoc chassis.

Construction of Monokoc chassis. (Source: Ortizaku Specifications)

A car with a monocoque chassis does not mean the absence of a chassis at all. The monocoque car chassis merges directly into the body (unibody) without any ladder construction at the bottom. So the monocoque construction allows the car to be as low as desired. However, since there is no supporting ladder frame, the monocoque has limits on the load it can carry.

The advantage of the frame of this model is its low weight. Furthermore, the monocoque construction offers an improved level of stiffness or stiffness, thus increasing the handling characteristics and driving comfort.

In terms of safety, monocoque frames are usually integrated with crumple zone construction which aims to reduce impact energy when a crash occurs.

However, the monocoque frame also has some drawbacks. First, the more complicated the construction, the higher the cost of production.

Furthermore, the monocoque construction design results in a more limited ground clearance, making it less suitable for use in off-road vehicles. Its ability to hold heavy weight is also not as good as a ladder frame frame. Therefore, the car models that commonly use the monocoque chassis are sedans, hatchbacks, MPVs, crossovers, all the way up to sports cars.

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Source: various sources


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