Aluminum repairs could take time, cost more

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As more vehicles include aluminum parts in their construction to lighten vehicle weight and improve fuel economy, you should know that these parts will be expensive to repair and that repairs could take longer to complete.

Mark Allen of Audi says the national average cost for the repair of aluminum parts is between $85 and $130 per hour industrywide. Because of lower material costs, the national average for repairs on steel parts is $48 per hour.

Most automakers won’t train staff or equip repair shops to handle repairs of aluminum parts until after the vehicles that include such parts are available to consumers, an expert tells us. Dan Stander of trade group Automotive Service Association says repairs could be delayed by weeks if a shop has to order tools or train staff to make such repairs.

Ford says its dealer repair shops will be able to handle repairs of aluminum parts by the release of the 2015 F-150, which will have a lot of aluminum parts, at the end of 2014. Allen says Audi shops now can make such repairs.