Note to owners of BMW 5- and 6-series cars: Drive with care.
Even slight damage to the front of the car can be expensive. In some cases, insurers are declaring a lightly wrecked car a total loss.
Why? Because the front end of the car -- built with high-tech aluminum, rivets and glue -- can be hard to repair, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The front-end structure, which includes an aluminum firewall and body rails, weighs only 100 pounds. The minimal weight helps BMW achieve an ideal 50/50 fore-aft weight balance for better road handling.
Because tolerances are so tight, if the front structure is bent by more than 1 millimeter in a crash, it must be replaced, not bent back to place, BMW says. The automaker recommends that repairmen be specially trained and use only BMW-certified tools and supplies, such as rivets.
Experts say it can cost an independent repair shop as much as $100,000 for the training and special tools.