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2015 F-150 Aluminum Pros and Cons

Wednesday, January 28th 2015. | 2015 Ford F-150, Reviews
2015 Ford F-150 FX4 Silver

2015 Ford F-150 FX4 Silver

We don’t have a complete picture of this yet, but what do we know so far about the pros and cons of owning an aluminum 2015 Ford F-150? With the recent “sledge hammer” test I’ve read a lot of interesting things about owning an aluminum truck versus a traditional steel-bodied truck. There’s also some incorrect statements floating around the internet that I’d like to address.

First off, let’s get the cons out of the way.
Most body repair shops tend to charge more per hour for aluminum repairs, on top of that aluminum repairs can take somewhat longer than steel repairs. But it can pay off to be well informed on this subject, especially if you are expecting to pay out of pocket.

  • Some sources (Edmunds included) seem to be implying that it can take double the amount of time to repair aluminum, versus steel. This is not true, yes, it is more difficult to work with, but not double-the-time more difficult. We should also note that Ford F-150 hoods have been made of aluminum since 1997 and Ford says it takes no more time to repair one of those than it does to repair a steel hood.
  • A lot of shops charge more for aluminum repairs because they can get away with it when they claim it with the insurance company, so if for some reason you are paying out of pocket for a repair, see if the body shop would be willing to adjust its rate. Edmunds, in their sledgehammer test had success with this.

Now lets take a look at the pros.

  • Edmunds found out, during their sledgehammer test, that Ford charges the same amount for aluminum body panels as it does for steel body panels, so in any case that a body panel replacement is in order it will be the same price as it was for your steel-bodied F-150.
    example: a right rear-quarter-panel (the right-side panel of the box) costs $967.48 on both the 2014 Ford F-150 and the 2015 Ford F-150.
  • The innovative modular design of the new 2015 F-150 is easier to work with, reducing repair time and repair costs.
  • Aluminum does not rust, steel does. Especially those of us living in localities where road salt is used frequently this will be a major repair costs savings! I should note that aluminum does corrode but the process is much, much slower than rust forming on steel.
  • Insurance costs, in a comment I read yesterday, someone noted they priced out new pickup trucks from the big 3 with their insurance company and found the F-150 is $5 lower per month to insure than the competition. So for the time being insurance cost is not a con to owning an aluminum bodied 2015 Ford F-150.
2015 Ford F-150 King Ranch Edition Blue

2015 Ford F-150 King Ranch Edition Blue

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  • Bill Rathbun

    My name is Bill Rathbun, I am a former corrosion control specialist/ Aviation Structural Mechanic/U.S. Navy. I am appalled at the misleading advertising claim that the new F150 aluminum body will not rust. This statement is a deliberate misstatement of facts. Aluminum has many good qualities but corrosion resistance is not one of the good qualities. Military grade aluminum is prone to corrosion by oxidation ( rust is the oxidation of iron base metals). Aluminum alloys are highly susceptible to corrosion from alkaline cleaners, dissimilar metal contact and salt.
    Corrosion will be the “Achilles’ heel” to the aluminum body. Critical areas will include the body to frame attachment points and all metal (screw) attachment points to the body.
    Corrosion control on Navy aircraft is a major mission critical maintenance requirement that will place a plane in a non operational flight status if the corrosion is not treated in 28 days after discovery.

  • Owen

    I’m familiar with dissimilar metal contact, and I have to imagine Ford thought of that when they designed the new 2015 F-150, here’s an excerpt from a Popular Mechanics article:

    Ford is fighting this process by electrocoating the aluminum panels to electrically and physically isolate the metals, and by using new coatings on all body bolts. To test the long-term durability of these kinds of joints, engineers normally bathe body panels in a saltwater spray during a hot/cold environmental cycle—this encourages the formation of iron oxide. But with aluminum that was just too slow. So they switched to a corrosive acid bath and found that tweaking the metallic coating on the bolts protected the metal admirably.

    Anyone can bring up the fact that aluminum will corrode and that dissimilar metals will be a problem and not to dispute your credibility. But if you know it, then Ford knows it too. There may be some truth to your statement, but I imagine in the millions, probably billions Ford spent on development they had a few engineers that considered how aluminum will react to the elements, its bolts/rivets/fasteners and figured out away to minimize/eliminate those risks.