Ford boasts of weight savings and improved fuel economy in the new 2015 Ford F-150 with the introduction of an aluminum body. But what does this really mean for Ford F-150 owners? Edmunds.com had a theory. Due to the nature of the Ford’s aluminum-made body panels compared to traditional steel body panels found in the Ram 1500 and other pickups, Edmunds speculated that the Ford F-150 repair costs would be higher. They decided to test it.
After smashing an aluminum body panel on the bed of their F-150 with a sledgehammer, Edmunds editor Travis Langness brought the truck to his nearby Ford dealer for an estimate on the repair. While the damage to the body panel didn’t look terribly traumatic, the F-150 repair costs were.
At the Ford dealer, the advisor mentions that aluminum panels are much harder to fix compared to traditional steel body panels, stating that this same job on an F-150 with steel panels “would take half the time”. The advisor also mentioned that the aluminum repair rate ($120/hr) was twice the cost of repairing steel ($60/hr). At double the repair rate and double the repair time, we’re looking at huge increases in Ford F-150 repair costs compared to the steel-bodied Ram 1500. Fortunately for the Edmunds tester, the auto body advisor cut him a deal at $60 per hour because he was paying out-of-pocket. Whew!
For the minor damages in the image above, the F-150 repair costs totaled $2,938.44. That cost included a 50% discount on the aluminum body repair rate! Without the discount, the F-150 repair costs would have been $4,138.44. After doing some math, knowing that steel takes half the time to repair and has half of the repair rate of aluminum, Edmunds determined that they would have saved $1,800 on the repair had that body panel been made of steel like the Ram 1500 panels.
This isn’t just one unique circumstance. According to writers at Autoblog, Tesla Model S owners with aluminum body panels have been shocked by their body shop bills. Higher rates and longer repair times for aluminum body panels are standard in the auto body repair world. Also, some body shops are unable to service aluminum body panels because they require special tools and training. I wouldn’t want my new truck to have to go to another city for repairs.
If your truck takes twice as long to be repaired, then you’ll also have to consider the additional rental car time and all of the costs associated with that. If you intend to use your truck for business, you may not be able to afford having it out of commission for double the time of a steel-bodied truck.
Ford F-150 Repair Costs are Jokingly High
In addition to the issues with the aluminum body panels, the taillight that the testers cracked ended up costing 8-times the initial estimate to replace. While only the lens of the taillight was cracked, Ford only offers replacements for the entire taillight housing. Because their taillight was equipped with sensors for a blind-spot monitoring system, a tiny crack in the lens of their taillight that should have cost about $100 ended up costing $887.27. C’mon now, Ford.
Skip the shenanigans and take a look at our inventory of Ram trucks. Don’t let the 2015 Ford F-150 pinch the change out of your pockets for every repair.
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