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Body shops face huge costs to gear up and train for aluminum vehicle repairs

Mainstream auto manufactures have used aluminum in the construction of vehicles for a number of years. However, most of the panels on cars and truck were traditionally made from stamped steel, while in some cases hoods and trunk lids were made from aluminum.
With Ford rolling out the all-new F-150 that uses a body made 95 percent from aluminum, the future looks expensive for body shops charged with fixing vehicles after an accident. Reports indicate the costs of tools and training at body shops could soar.

The Aud A8 has been primarily constucted of aluminum for nearly two decades
That would lead to labor rates at the shops rising as well, leading to more costly repairs. Ford is blazing the trial into mainstream vehicles made mostly of aluminum, but other manufactures will follow. Making broader use of aluminum to reduce the weight of vehicle is one of the big ways that automakers plan to meet CAFE standards handed down by the White House.
Some body shops will have to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in new training and equipment to be able to repair the aluminum used in Ford trucks. Smaller body shops might not be able to justify the cost, which could be a big benefit to dealer-owned body shops.
“Not every shop in America will be equipped to repair the new F-150,” said Dan Risley, president of the Automotive Service Association. “It’s cost prohibitive because there aren’t a lot of vehicles on the road with aluminum, so the return on investment could take a few years. When you throw aluminum into the mix, everything changes.”

The 2015 Ford F-150 will be the first mainstream vehicle to make wide use of aluminum throughout its body structure
He says that less than 20 percent of body shops will be equipped to fix aluminum body structures. Shops certified to fix high-end European brands like Porsche, Jaguar, and Audi cars that are used to working with aluminum will be the best ready to deal with the influx of new aluminum vehicles needing repairs.
Ford is not the only company that will employ extensive use of aluminum in full-size pickup trucks. General Motors announced last month that its next generation Silverado and Sierra will use the lightweight material.

Source: Detroitnews

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RE: Yup
By FITCamaro on 3/24/2014 11:23:51 AM , Rating: -1
Yeah until a semi hits you and tears through you. Or a dump truck. Or any other larger vehicle.

Oh wait drivers of those vehicles are often so such great drivers...

RE: Yup
By Argon18 on 3/24/2014 11:38:24 AM , Rating: 5
"Yeah until a semi hits you and tears through you. Or a dump truck. Or any other larger vehicle."

You're right, we should all be driving dump trucks. That's the solution. Facepalm.

Or maybe you meant that the old all-steel F-150 would keep you save in a collision with a dump truck? A dump truck weighs between 13 and 27 tons. That's 26,000 pounds and 54,000 pounds. Do you honestly think a few hundred pounds difference in 4,000 pound F-150 would affect the collision outcome at all, vs. a 54,000 pound dump truck? Really?

You're an idiot.

RE: Yup
By BZDTemp on 3/24/14, Rating: -1
RE: Yup
By Camikazi on 3/24/2014 2:17:23 PM , Rating: 5
In the US a ton is 2000 lbs so he is right since that is the measurement they are most likely using. Also, even using a long ton measurement you are wrong since 2,240 (long ton weight in lbs) x 13 - 29,120 lbs and 2,240 x 27 = 60480. Unless you mean a metric ton in which case you are right, but you are so smart assuming he was wrong without even checking to see if maybe there are differences in the units.

RE: Yup
By BZDTemp on 3/24/2014 7:13:19 PM , Rating: 2
I stand corrected and should go eat some humble pie.

I should have checked and not just presumed. The thing is I'm actually so used to see people here using metric units and the German pound and overlooking that the pound used in the UK/US and many other places is different. Since the German pound is 1/2000 of a metric ton I simply thought that here was a case of a wrong conversion from metric ton to UK/US pound.

RE: Yup
By StevoLincolnite on 3/24/2014 7:33:04 PM , Rating: 5
You would hate to fly a plane then.
You have knots, pounds, kilo's, liters, gallons, kilometers, miles, you name it all mixed together and the pilots need to understand all the measurements.

It would just be easier if the USA and UK caught up to the rest of the developed world and ditched imperial and went fully metric.

RE: Yup
By alpha754293 on 3/24/2014 3:49:37 PM , Rating: 1

"To avoid confusion with the smaller short ton and the slightly larger long ton, it is also known as a metric ton in the United States."

Source. wiki, "tonne". (SI unit for 1000 kg)

RE: Yup
By Samus on 3/25/2014 1:56:53 AM , Rating: 3
Physics will easily prove your theory of bigger and heavier is safer completely false.

Creative scientific research, new-age materials and intelligent engineering make vehicles safer, not simply weight.

There are dozens of instances where weight will actually decrease safety, specifically by extending braking distances, reducing handling, increasing potential rollover, and so on...

Go look up a crash test of an old vehicle vs a new vehicle in a head-on collision. A common one comes to mind from Fifth Gear: 2000 Ford Focus head-on with an 85' Volvo 240DL (once considered the safest car on the road.)

RE: Yup
By atechfan on 3/25/2014 5:16:24 AM , Rating: 2
They should make cars out of memory phone. They would completely deform in a crash, protecting the occupants with their soft, foamy goodness. Then a few minutes after the crash, they would revert to their original shape, allowing you to continue on your way, completely eliminating the need for repairs.

Yes, I know, I'm a genius. Nobel dudes, I'm expecting a call.

RE: Yup
By bcrules82 on 3/24/2014 11:42:59 AM , Rating: 1
Troll harder can we? Drivers of semi-trailer trucks are professional drivers with ALOT more road time and experience than the average driver. You don't know what you're talking about.

RE: Yup
By Camikazi on 3/24/2014 2:18:28 PM , Rating: 2
They are also rather crazy and scary to ride next to on the highway.

RE: Yup
By BRB29 on 3/24/2014 12:07:42 PM , Rating: 3
Commercial vehicles are for professionals who depend on their license for their career. I'm pretty sure they will try hard to avoid accidents. Little punks with civic coupes or their 99 camaros/firebird seems to think they own the road.

You missed the point completely. If everyone makes/drives lighter cars, everyone will be better off. We'd have less of a trade deficit as well.

RE: Yup
By Jeffk464 on 3/24/2014 12:55:41 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, I'm pretty sure its easier to make a 3000lbs car perform well in crash tests than it is to make a 5500 full size suv. Plus you have the physics of two 3000lbs cars crashing into each other being less energy to dissipate than two 5500lbs SUV's.

RE: Yup
By Dorkyman on 3/24/2014 2:30:16 PM , Rating: 2
But I think this misses the point.

Oh yeah it's great for gas mileage to make "every" car 500lb lighter. But barring an edict from above (even Obama wouldn't dream of such an Executive Order) you're going to be dealing with light cars and regular heavy cars. And the light car will ALWAYS lose.

Like the gun argument. Ban all guns, and deaths will drop. Ah, but what if most people don't have guns but the bad guys decide to keep theirs? Still have a lot of gun deaths.

RE: Yup
By SeeManRun on 3/24/14, Rating: -1
RE: Yup
By FITCamaro on 3/24/2014 3:59:17 PM , Rating: 1
How the heck are lighter vehicles going to lower our trade deficit?

RE: Yup
By laviathan05 on 3/26/2014 10:11:13 AM , Rating: 2
Well, we import a lot of steel from Asia, whereas aluminum comes mainly from North America.

RE: Yup
By jimbojimbo on 3/26/2014 11:57:28 AM , Rating: 2
If everyone makes/drives lighter cars, everyone will be better off
If everyone actually worked instead of sitting on their asses expecting the government to pay for everything we'd all be better off too. If everyone stopped killing each other we'd be better off. Every one of those ifs would make the world better but will never ever happen... well, until all humans were destroyed.

RE: Yup
By bug77 on 3/24/2014 2:10:22 PM , Rating: 1
The "skin" of your car is not a safety element. Though mass, by itself, is. Especially in head-on incidents.

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