Collision Repair Center Reviews Parts Clinic’s New Techniques to Repair Aluminum Vehicles
It wasn’t too long ago that we reported on some of the changes Ford made to their vehicle lineup and maintenance, including the impressive upgrade of military-grade aluminum alloy from traditional steel to their ever popular Ford F-150 line of pickup trucks. The move from steel to aluminum, according to Ford’s engineers, would result in a vehicle that was stronger and more lightweight than any of its of predecessors. This could create better fuel mileage, a truck that lasts longer, and one of the smoothest rides you could expect from a workhorse pickup truck.
However, if there is any criticism to be had over the Ford F-150’s change to an aluminum alloy body, it is the cost of the vehicle and collision repair. Some critics have noted that this material upgrade has resulted in a more expensive pickup truck that makes it teeter on the edge of being a luxurious item. The Ford F-150’s critics will state that the cost for collision repair is significantly more expensive and may even affect insurance rates. To an extent, this is true. At this time there does not seem to be any major impact to insurance rates for owners of the new Ford F-150.
Parts repair and replacement is more expensive for the vehicle, depending on the item requiring repair and its location. For example, the repair cost for one of the front door panels rose approximately $200 from $854.93 for the 2014 steel model. A related concern about the collision repair process is whether mechanics and technicians would be able to adequately make repairs since the Ford F-150 now has a slightly different process with the aluminum parts. However, the situation is not as dire at the critics make it out to be.
At worst, technicians would have to participate in workshops or certification classes in order to know how to best work with the new material and the replacement process. One example of these types of classes we found was Pembroke Auto Parts in Canada, which recently hosted an aluminum clinic so their technicians and those from other shops could learn collision repair specific techniques on the material. Most people will say that aluminum is more difficult to work with but it just requires techniques quite different from steel and can be a little less forgiving. Having the right tools and knowing how the aluminum will react to, say, heat ensures that the technicians will be able to perform a quality repair.
The aluminum clinic focused on dent repair and aluminum welding for collision repair , including a hands-on portion so that technicians can practice their new found techniques before working on a client’s vehicle. The event also has gathered a greater interest from other shops in their area, which is a definite plus for consumers because it would ensure a greater number of repair shops to choose from that are able to make these sorts of repairs.Thankfully, this process is not too far removed from working with steel and can be learned within a matter of days.
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