How Aluminum Body Repair Varies From Steel Body Repair

If you own a limited production vehicle, such as a Range Rover or an Audi A8, or if you own a Ford F150 that was produced after 2015, the primary metal used on the body of your vehicle is aluminum instead of steel. If your vehicle gets into an accident, you are going to want to take your vehicle to a repair shop that specializes in making aluminum collision repairs. Here are a few of the biggest differences between aluminum collision repairs and typical steel collision repairs.

Aluminum & Steel Harm One Another

When both aluminum and steel are in an unfinished state, they are actually harmful to one another. If the shavings from a steel repair job come in contact with an aluminum panel that is being worked on, the aluminum panel will be damaged immediately. If an aluminum panel is repaired with the same tool that was used on a steel repair job, the leftover steel material can harm the aluminum panel. Steel and aluminum, in an unfinished state, cause immediate corrosion on each other that is extremely difficult to reverse.

Aluminum & Steel Need Separate Tools & Service Areas

Due to the fact that unfinished aluminum and steel are harmful to one another, any body shop that works on both aluminum and steel vehicles has to be extremely cautious. All body work done on an aluminum vehicle needs to be performed in an entirely separate area of the body shop than where typical steel auto body work is performed. Being exposed to even the dust from a steel auto body repair job could damage your aluminum body panels. That means that the areas cannot just be across the shop from one another; they need to be entirely separate and have separate air or ventilation systems as well.

Additionally, a body shop has to have a set of tools dedicated just towards aluminum repairs. Using the same tools to perform aluminum and steel repairs can cause corrosion and serious damage to your aluminum body panels.

Aluminum Requires Special Welding Tools & Skills

Welding is an extremely common tool in the body shop world. It is used extensively to repair steel body parts. Welding can also be used to repair aluminum body parts, but it requires different tools and a different skill set than steel welding work.

Heat travels faster through aluminum than it does steel. This faster conduction process means that special welders need to be used and the working using them needs to be extremely precise with their weld. A welding mistake may not be reversible with an aluminum repair job.

Often times, instead of using welds, aluminum body work is done using special adhesives and rivets. A body shop has to purchase special tools and put their technicians through special training in order to use this equipment.

If your vehicle has an aluminum body instead of a steel body, make sure that you find and use an auto body shop that specializes in aluminum body repair, as it requires different skills, tools, and knowledge than steel auto body repair. For more information, contact a company like Black Horse Auto Body Shop Inc.