It seems like everyone in the auto industry wants to know if the aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 is more expensive to repair than the steel-bodied pickup it replaced.
Here’s the answer: We don’t know -- and we won’t know for a long time.
Ford says the repair costs are the same. Don’t believe that.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says the aluminum truck is 26 percent more expensive. Don’t believe that, either.
Earlier this year Edmunds smashed a truck with a sledgehammer and then took it to a dealer for repairs. Edmunds concluded that it cost more to fix than the steel truck. Dismiss that, too.
Here’s why we won’t really be able to answer the question of aluminum vs. steel repair costs for a long time:
To Ford’s credit, the company has made repairs as easy as possible by creating hundreds of small repair panels that can be stitched in to the F-150’s body. And these parts are shipped with the repair instructions. That saves time.
But in many cases, repairing an aluminum panel is more complex than fixing a similar steel panel. The 2015 truck’s body is held together with rivets and adhesive, which usually takes more time to repair than a steel part.
Here’s the bottom line: If it turns out there is a significant difference in repair costs for the new truck, Ford will likely do whatever it takes to keep the F-150 competitive. The stakes are simply too high in the highly profitable, hyper-competitive U.S. truck market.
Despite sledgehammer stunts, the analysis of a few hundred repairs and the IIHS’s repair of 2014 and 2015 trucks, we don’t really don’t have enough information to definitively say the new F-150 is more or less expensive to fix.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.