What you may or may not know about an Aluminum Car Body

As part of the ever-increasing effort to maximize fuel economy, carmakers are more than often substituting aluminum for steel to build body panels in order to save weight. Both producers and consumers are finding that aluminum is great to work with in terms of gas mileage, but it can cause other problems to surface.

Aluminum is seen as one of the best ways to reduce hundreds of pounds of body weight all at once. Ford has been a leader in embracing the material at a volume level, and they have placed a huge bet on their aluminum crash diet.

While claims have been made that an aluminum car body can improve a vehicle’s fuel economy by as much as 29 percent, aluminum is a very fickle metal to work with. Due to its unusual makeup, body shops may have a difficult time replacing excessively damaged sheet metal.

Aluminum is far more expensive than steel in a raw state, in its conversion to a usable sheet metal, and in its assembly. This results in a 60 to 80 percent cost premium. Therefore, aluminum cars are more costly to produce than those made from steel.

Online discussion forums have found that paint problems and premature corrosion are common occurrences with aluminum cars.

Buying a car with an aluminum car body does not guarantee repeated trips to a body shop, but it is good to be aware of common problems the metal can cause.