Special Skills Needed to Repair Aluminum
Most vehicles on the road today have aluminum body parts, framesÖ.nearly all areas of your car or truck. This is not new, as itís been used in both the auto and aviation industries for years, but the technology and knowledge needed to repair these parts continues to evolve. If you have the unfortunate experience damaging your car or truck, you need to know that the repair shop is up-to-date on the tools and techniques needed to make your vehicle look new.
First, letís take a quick look at why aluminum is used in vehicles. Although aluminum is softer and tends to scratch more easily than steel, that can be improved with the use of alloys to reduce the instances of scratching. Other reasons aluminum is used:
1. Itís one-third the weight of steel
2. Itís a better thermal conductor than steel;
3. It canít be magnetized
4. It conducts electricity better;
5. Itís naturally corrosion resistant
6. It melts at a lower temperature than steel
Now while these characteristics may not mean much to the average car owner, it makes all the difference to a collision repair technician. For starters, the alloys used with aluminum are numbered from 1000 to 7000. The lower the number, the higher percentage of pure aluminum is used. Thatís important because it determines whether or not heat is needed to treat and repair damage. The non-heat series are: 1000, 3000, 4000 and 5000, while the heat treatable series are 2000, 6000, and 7000. The latter are typically used for exterior body panels.
Without getting into the technical details of the methods used to repair aluminum parts to pre-collision condition, you need to make sure the shop you take your vehicle to has the equipment and more importantly, the expertise to do the job right. Simply ask the technician about his or her expertise in aluminum repairs. After all, itís your car and you want it to look and function at its best.
Johnny Nocera has been on the radio airwaves in Southwest Florida with ďDr. Johnnyís Car ClinicĒ WGUF New Radio 98.9 FM every Saturday morning from 9-10 for over 27 years. He also owns, along with his sons Jr. and Jimmy, Supreme Auto and Collision located in downtown Naples, and has been in business for more than 38 years.