In an effort to improve fuel economy, auto manufacturers are using lighter materials, such as aluminum, in place of steel. The newer the car, the more aluminum it's likely to have. While having a lighter car does mean you will pay less at the pump, you may end up paying more at the auto body shop. Costs for repairing aluminum are usually higher, and not all shops have the training to do the work properly. Auto body shops are paying out a lot of money for the necessary training, which gets passed on to you via invoice. There are also other reasons why aluminum affects the cost of repairs.
You Need Special Equipment to Work with Aluminum
Working with aluminum requires a special set of equipment and tools, such as aluminum welders and pulling equipment, that shops didn't own in the past. While many shops have purchased the expensive but necessary equipment, some are still struggling to afford the cost. The shops that have made the investment, have to recoup the cost through price hikes.
It Requires More Skill to Weld Aluminum
Even with the proper equipment and training, it still takes more skill to work with aluminum than it does steel. First, welding aluminum is an extremely technical and precise task. It's also impossible to reshape aluminum whereas steel can be manipulated to pull out dents and bends. What's more, aluminum gets damaged a lot easier. It takes time, patience and skill to work with aluminum.
Aluminum and Steel Don't Mix Well
Aluminum and steel, in their raw states, are corrosive to one another. They play along just fine after the coating and paint is applied. However, many repairs require removing this protective coating. If unfinished aluminum gets trapped in with a steel component, it could lead to corrosion. As you can imagine, it takes more time and attention to detail to ensure this doesn't happen.
Aluminum Replacement Parts Cost More
Aluminum replacement parts are more expensive for body shops to purchase. They're more difficult to manufacturer. Therefore, manufacturers charge more for them. The extra costs incurred from working with aluminum always gets passed on to the consumer in some way.
As you can see, there are several reasons why aluminum-bodied cars are more expensive to fix than older steel models. If you have a newer car, you can expect to pay more for repairs if you're in a collision. For more information, contact companies like Exoticar Paintworks Inc.