Abstract The durability of steel components produced for service as Yellow Goods vehicle applications, are primarily influenced by the condition of their thermal cut-edges. The chassis structures of such demanding applications are manufactured with laser and plasma cut-edges left exposed after final fabrication. Over prolonged periods of service, defects formed during the cutting processes can act as initiation sites for fatigue cracks, resulting in eventual structural failure of the application. The traverse cutting speed parameter was altered for cuts performed using laser and plasma cutting processes to ascertain the changes in critical surface characteristics and microstructural properties in close proximity to the cut-edge. It was the damage formed during each cutting process which directly influenced the fatigue life of the resulting cut-edges. Manipulating the critical traverse cutting speed process parameter resulted in the generation of cut-edges that are near to optimum with the minimum number of cut-edge defects.