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December 29, 2016
Aluminum Auto Body Repair; What You Need To Know.
Believe it or not, aluminum auto body repair is completely different than normal collision repair techniques. Aluminum is making waves as the ‘new’ material to make vehicles.
Aluminum reduces the weight of the vehicle, is stronger than steel, and increases the energy efficiency of the car, improving fuel economy by 29%.
Although many high-end cars like Audi have been using aluminium for years, it didn’t become mainstream until recently with the best example being the aluminum body Ford F-150.
While aluminium body vehicles have many perks, it has also made for a need to have specialized equipment for auto body shops to complete aluminum body repair.
Note The Differences
Working with an aluminium body vehicle, an entirely different set of skills, techniques and equipment are needed.
Aluminium has physical properties that are unique from its’ steel counterpart; for example, there is an increased risk of corrosion when the two types of metals come into contact after an impact.
If shavings from one metal contact a section made of the other metal, the damage is immediate – even something as simple as using a tool to repair an aluminium part that was already used to repair steel, will cause corrosion.
Aluminium metal doesn’t have a good ‘metal memory’, which means that when aluminium is dented or bent, it’s not as easily shaped back to its undamaged state.
To form aluminium back to its original state, aluminum-specific tools and skills are needed to work with the material.
Aluminum conducts more heat than steel, meaning that heat travels through aluminium farther and quicker, making it more challenging to weld aluminium parts.
Excessive heat can compromise the integrity and strength of the metal, causing vehicle safety issues if not done properly.
Taking a look at the Ford F150, many of the aluminium structure parts aren’t joined by welds; special rivets and adhesives are used instead.
Tools traditionally used for collision repairs can’t be used for aluminum body repair, and a variety of advanced training is also a must.
Why choose aluminium over steel?
In short, better fuel economy, and that’s because of the reduced weight of the vehicle.
Aluminium is stronger than steel, but weighs less, leading to better fuel economy, plus better towing and payload capabilities.
How much lighter is steel vs aluminum?
Significantly lighter. In comparison, the 2015 Ford F150 Aluminum Body vs the 2014 Ford F150 steel body shaved off over 700 pounds of weight. That’s massive weight savings in a single year model change.
All manufacturers in the coming years will need to make the flip from steel to aluminum or other similar lighter metals/compounds
With Canada increasing the price on carbon by 467% over the next 10 years, better fuel economy is definitely a welcome relief on the pocketbook.
What vehicles are currently made from aluminum?
Here are our top 5 picks of cars made from aluminum:
- Ford F150
- Tesla Model X
- Range Rover
- Jaguar XJ
- Acura NSX
Why CSN JD Collision?
Luckily, at CSN JD Collision, we invest a lot into our team’s education, and we are happy to being in the latest tools to complete this type of work!
CSN JD Collision is one of the biggest auto body trainers in the Lakeland, and is proud to have contributed to the learning and growth of many people throughout the last 40 years of business.
Just like Joe began implementing innovative collision repair techniques back in the early stages of our family-operated business, so we continue to innovate in the age of back-up cameras and aluminum body vehicles!