Lies, Damn Lies, Aluminum Repairability and Insurance
Using a sledgehammer to smash up an aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150 is a strongly visual way to illustrate a point about the repair costs associated with the new truck.
The folks at Edmunds.com did that recently, and came to a conclusion that aluminum is more expensive to repair than steel. More recently, Consumer Reports took them to task and determined repairing an F-150 is the same as a steel truck, and that insurance premiums haven’t changed.
The truth of the matter? It’s probably somewhere in between. Kirk Bell wrote up an extremely informative look at the subject on AutoWeb and I encourage you all to read it. It goes into a lot more detail than I am covering here, and approaches the subject objectively.
His conclusions? Aluminum is more costly of a material than steel, but because Ford can recycle the aluminum and absorb the costs in higher-priced trucks, it works out to about the same as steel.
For repairing the truck, Ford went to great lengths to create modular aluminum panels to help cut the cost of repair.
Body shops are free to charge what they want for labor, and only certain body shops are certified by Ford to work on the new truck, but you should always shop around when looking at repairs.
Lastly, Mr. Bell addresses insurance. Compared to a Silverado and Ram 1500, the Ford F-150 falls right into the price range of the other trucks. At least at this point, there are no significant cost differences between the two materials.
Are you still worried about Ford using aluminum in the new F-150, or are you convinced that they know what they’re doing? Let us know in the forums!