Aluminum has been around for years in the airline and space industries. That Boeing 737 that you crammed yourself into on your last trip utilizes aluminum to keep weight down while not compromising on strength. Audi has been innovating with light-weight materials vehicles since the 1990s.
To gain weight and performance advantages, Ford trucks went all-in on aluminum in 2015. Since the move, consumers have been hearing speculation about the high cost of auto body repair associated with the material. Are these rumors true? Is aluminum more complex and difficult to work with? Is it more fragile?
No, say the experts, it’s just different.
Who are these experts? Auto insurance companies are authorities on the subject. You can easily tell what they are thinking by their rates. As it turns out, they charge you no more for owning an aluminum vehicle than a traditional vehicle. Over time, they have found that the aluminum F-150 is no more expensive to insure than the previous steel-bodied models.
Other experts are folks like us who repair these vehicles. Though there was an initial investment in training and equipment, now that we have these in place, repairs can take even less time than previous steel bodies.
This is true because the truck was designed with repairs in mind from the outset. We can replace the truck’s rocker panels (metal below the doors, between the wheels) and floor pan in sections, reducing repair time. The B-pillars (vertical roof supports) can be patched up without disturbing the roof. In addition, the apron tube (front rail) can be fixed without removing the A-pillar or dashboard.
Get Significant Savings
Also, parts prices can be lower as well. Hoods, front bumpers, and other parts have decreased by double-digit percentages over previous models. Ford has pressured suppliers of sealants, chemicals and other consumables needed for repairs on the new bodies to keep costs down.
Yes, steel and aluminum are different. They require unique primers and sealants, specially-coated fasteners and completely different techniques. Traditional hammer and dolly and welding methods do not work well with aluminum. In fact, welding aluminum reduces strengthening by taking out the temper. Heat is also difficult to control and can be messy. We typically bond and rivet panels in place, as per specifications by the manufacturer. We’re also very careful to keep steel and aluminum separate—floating steel dust can corrupt an aluminum repair!
That’s why you need experts on your side when it comes to aluminum body repair and we are the right team. We are Ford-certified, which means we have the training and equipment to work on F-150s. We are also Gold Class-certified, giving you the assurance that we use only quality parts and offer superior craftsmanship. At Cline Collision Center, we will bring your aluminum-bodied vehicle back to pre-collision condition. We also offer a full slate of traditional autobody services, from dent removal to high-end painting and auto detailing. Contact us online or call us at 707-591-9909 today!