Trucks with Aluminum Bodies are Reportedly Cheaper to Repair
Despite initial concerns, the aluminum-bodied F-150 is easier — and cheaper — to repair than its predecessor.
In 2015, Ford famously switched the body of its best-selling F-150 pickup from steel to aluminum construction. At the time, suspicions abounded that the aluminum bodywork would result in expensive repair bills.
After all, aluminum is not only lighter than steel, it’s softer, too. However, according to Automotive News, shops that invested in training and equipment to fix the aluminum-bodied pickups are making a surprising discovery. The aluminum-bodied pickups are cheaper to fix than their steel-bodied counterparts.
Apparently, Ford applied a three-pronged approach to ensure that the aluminum-bodied F-150 was a success. From the outset, the truck was designed to be easy to repair. The aluminum F-150s are constructed in such a way that areas needing repair are easy to gain access to, as well as easy to tear down. In addition, Ford worked closely with suppliers to keep parts costs down.
Next, Ford educated insurance companies, and made sure that F-150 buyers wouldn’t be faced with high premiums from insurers uncertain of the aluminum body’s repair costs. Finally, body shops were trained on the tools and techniques used to repair aluminum.
The end result is a truck that is actually cheaper to repair than its predecessor. How much cheaper, you may ask? When hail storms ripped through Texas in the spring of 2017, many trucks were damaged. One dealership discovered that the aluminum-bodied pickups were up to $2,000 cheaper to repair.
When it comes to collision damage, the results are similar. The Highway Loss Data Institute, an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, has noted a 7% drop in claim severity compared to the steel-bodied F-150.
The aluminum-bodied F-150 has been on sale for five model years now. That’s plenty long enough to get a handle on data such as repair costs and difficulty. From what we can tell, the results are in: aluminum is here to stay.
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