First-time Car Buyers: Tips for Navigating the Auto World

Body Damage To Your New All-Aluminum Truck? What Should You Do?

If you've been a recent convert to the all-aluminum body style now being offered by certain truck manufacturers, you're probably enjoying the increased fuel economy that this lighter body material makes available. However, aluminum can be more difficult to repair when it is damaged -- and if you sustain damage to your new vehicle, you'll certainly want it returned to like-new condition as quickly as possible. What should you do after your vehicle suffers damage, and what factors can make the aluminum repair process different from typical body repair? Read on to learn more about aluminum panels.

Why is repairing damage to aluminum panels different from repairing damage to steel?

Aluminum panels are substantially more lightweight than steel. This provides some advantages when it comes to design -- lightweight vehicles can handle better and are more efficient -- but can make the repair process more expensive. When comparing these products pound-for-pound, aluminum is more durable than steel, and also more expensive (both to purchase raw material and refine it into usable sheet metal). Because most body shops have equipment and tools designed specifically to repair steel and alloy body panels, you may have to go to a body shop that specializes in aluminum repair.

What should you do if your aluminum vehicle has sustained body damage?

Fortunately, due to its special machining and durability, aluminum body panels are able to withstand quite a bit of damage -- door dings and wayward shopping carts shouldn't cause any problems. If your vehicle has sustained more damage than this, you'll likely want to contact your dealer for a recommendation or referral to a body shop specializing in aluminum damage. In some cases, this damage may be covered by your warranty, so you won't be required to pay out of pocket for repairs. For example, if the paint on your bumper begins to bubble (caused by a reaction between the aluminum and chemicals in the paint), some manufacturers will cover this damage upon request, even if the vehicle is outside of warranty.

Another advantage to these aluminum body panels is that they won't increase the cost to insure your vehicle. Because of this, you may want to turn in certain claims (like hail damage or backing into a pole) to your insurance company rather than pay out of pocket. Although multiple claims in a fairly short period of time can cause your premium to rise, turning in minor body damage shouldn't have much impact on your policy, and could save you a substantial amount rather than paying for repairs out of pocket.

To learn more about aluminum repair, contact a company like Exoticar Paintworks Inc.