Ford: Repair Shops Certification Recommended to Fix 2015 F-150


By Kelsey Mays,

In case you haven't heard, Ford's redesigned 2015 F-150 will have aluminum body panels — part of what helps save the light-duty pickup truck up to 700 pounds (crew cab versus crew cab) compared to its steel-bodied predecessor. The results should be a boon for fuel economy, but we noted Jan. 21 that concerns persist for insurance and repair costs.

2015 Ford F-150: Everything You Need to Know

Now Ford is recommending that repair shops get the proper certification to fix its upcoming aluminum-bodied truck. The Detroit News reports the Dearborn, Mich., automaker suggested to its dealers at the just-concluded 2014 National Automobile Dealers Association conference that, in order to best serve their customers, their repair shops should get certification to fix the half-ton pickup truck. According to the article, certification could cost between $30,000 to $50,000 for tooling upgrades, but Ford will chip in $10,000. We should note that Ford does not require the certification, nor does it withhold any parts, training or repair information if a dealership or repair facility chooses not to participate in the program. 

What does that mean to potential shoppers for the new F-150? The F-Series is far and away Ford's best-selling model, and Ford expects most dealers to be certified in order to promote the fact to their customers. Ford told the newspaper that up to 80 percent of repair work on its current lineup is done at independent shops, not Ford dealers. The certification process could move more of that business back to the automaker's dealers for the F-150 — but that will depend on how many of them decide to certify and how truck buyers respond to the new pickup. 

The 2015 Ford F-150 goes on sale late this year.

(Editor's Note: This story has been modified on 1/29/13 to more accurately reflect the issues surrounding the Ford certification program regarding aluminum body repairs.)


1 Saving Weight II (2)


11 Detroit Auto Show


What a pain in the ass

The front end looks horrible. It reminds me my silver Hitachi Boom Box from 80's.

That is one fine looking truck! The certification is only for body shops and those will only be needed following an accident. Insurance may go up a bit but the savings in fuel should more than offset that cost increase. Once again, Ford takes a beautiful and tough truck and makes it even better.

The bottom picture is the front end of the XLT. The best looking grill so far in my opinion, and probably the closest to resembling the Atlas Concept.

Part of me wonders if Ford should have gradually incorporated aluminum into their trucks. Do it over time to give the people that have to work on them some space to get the right tools and know how to fix the truck. And I'm talking mostly about the independent shops that work on vehicles. I've always hated buying a tool for one purpose and one purpose only. All in all, i think things will work out over time.

Yeah, it would be something to consider before purchasing the truck. Would the hassle factor be too much?

Ford is slowly backing itself into a corner here. This isn't looking good.
80% F150 owners fix their trucks outside Ford's dealers. There is a reason for that. COSTS. And on top of that fixing your truck at dealer doesn't always translates itself into better work done on your vehicle.

Dealer rates + aluminum repair = even higher cost of repair.

$10K incentive is for Ford dealers ONLY. Not independent shops.

Ford has kept it's F150 the same for ages always citing truck owners not wanting radical changes. What they do? They go against what they preached for years. I think Ford has shot itself in the foot here.

I am a little worried about the cost of this truck, but I have a hard time believing Ford would screw this up. Obviously they are well aware of the concerns people have about insurance, and they were well-prepared to talk about it and show why there is no need to worry. They also designed the truck with insurance costs/repair-ability in mind.

I'm not concerned about insurance, I just don't understand how they can build the truck with all that aluminum and not significantly raise the initial purchase price, which is something few articles point out. Ford has been doing very well the last 10 years as far as their designs and improving quality. Given that this is their most important and newest vehicle, I am pretty sure it will be a success. I think I am going to be really torn between buying this truck, and buying a 2014 f-150. They say not to buy a vehicle in its first year, but I think I'd be willing to take a chance on this one.

As far as aluminum is concerned, someone had to do it first. Soon it will be mainstream. CAFE is not voluntary! Manufacturers have to cut weight to meet these requirements.

I always try to find the beauty in all trucks, but the grilles both look like the designers got to the front end & said "hey, we need a grille".
It doesn't look very fluid with the rest of the truck.
I think resale will take a hit with the aluminum.
Looking down the road when these become used trucks, dealers are not going to want to invest in repairs that take a licensed repair shop.
Most used dealers are using little mom/pop body shops for repair work, to keep profit at a max.
To me, Ford has given alot of ammo to the GM & RAM dealers to make the customer doubt purchasing a 2015 F150.

Wow, I guess FORD is sticking to it's Heritage Fix or Repair Daily LMAO!!! They are focusing was too mucho on Repair Issues LOL!!!

Not a big surprise here. People need to get used to this as I suspect you'll be seeing more aluminum bodied cars/trucks in the future, thanks to the CAFE.
Jaguar already only ships structural repair parts to certified repair centers, I suspect Audi treats their aluminum bodied cars the same too. In the long run I suspect most shops will have to make such an investment or lose a major hunk of their business; this is probably a practice that will be here to stay.

To you guys saying resale will take a hit, I think you're correct. Resale of GM and Ram trucks. One of the biggest flags that lower resale is rusted out bodies, not gonna happen with aluminum. Why buy a steel bodied vehicle that is going to rust when you have an alternative. These trucks will command premium resale prices. Just common sense.

Who cares I'm keeping my 2008 Harley SuperCrew F-150 forever!

@ BenThere you said "Part of me wonders if Ford should have gradually incorporated aluminum into their trucks. "
They have. My '02 F150 Supercrew has an aluminum hood as do all supercrews.
I'd be willing to bet over few years many more mfg's will be using aluminum. So pick on Ford, then in a year or so they'll be a bunch using it. See who's then left behind. As for independants, they'll get the training pretty quick if there's money to be made. It'll even become an advertising gimmick for some. Watch!

Well, like I said Ford Insurance.

Local dealers might not be the best solution. How much faith do people have in dealerships?

As for the aluminium truck. It will cost more to buy, operate and insure. Aircraft do, and like I stated the motor vehicle industry will become more like the aviation industry.

My argument is, is the aluminium necessary? Is the governments regulations moving in the right direction? A smaller pickup the size of a T-100 would have worked, producing a cheaper product.

Just using aluminium doesn't make a product better.

There will be many discussions about this truck.

This could be the biggest flop for Ford, even you go to a body shop with cerified mechanics, I don't think I would want to think I would be comfortable being one of the first ones to practice on.

I agree 10 years from now all cars will be built this way, I think it's awesome that Ford is making changes.

@ Tom

I dont think you realize that aluminum corrodes as well as steel. it just does it differently and will just disappear when it corrodes. good luck with that.........

Damn stop posting pictures of that ugly looking car want to be truck. Your scaring my dogs.

Time will tell, Freightliner uses aluminum in all of it's cabs, they are riveted, welding in a new panel will be interesting. I take it the $50,000 will get you fancy jigs to secure everything, when they change the cab in 4 years will you need to spend anouther $50,000.
it will be interesting what the difference will be in the insurance price?
Just a thought!

If they put a 10 year no rust warranty on it might help people with concerns.

I think this truck is ugly, the Font still looks like a fat slob and unfinished. Looks like instead of finishing the bottom of the front bumper they just hank a big piece of black plastic down and call it done.

Look for your insurance rates to go up on these pickups. Higher cost to build and insure.

@Tom, I live in the Mid-West. Not alot of concerns with rust in newer pick-ups.
We have a small car lot, 25-30 cars.
Sell alot of 5-10 year old trucks of all makes.
Rust isn't that much of a problem here.
My thinking is, I'm looking at a nice 2015 F150 with a dented door or fender, what is my cost to have it repaired?
Customer's want a dent free product.
As it is now, I have a body shop that charges me a $150.00 a panel for repairs.
With aluminum, does that go up to 500-1000 a panel?
Doesn't leave much room for profit.

I know aluminum oxidizes, but after the initial layer it stops until a new surface is created. How many "rusted" out planes have you seen? Dents won't be a problem, same repair as steel. Pop it out and fill if necessary. Where training is needed is in the cutting and welding of a partial panel. I expect panels to be replaced mostly, which is what I would want. Besides we're not talking beer can material, these panels will probably be stiffer than their steel counterpart.

I'd like to order one with just a clear coat. Then get an Airstream trailer. That would be a lot of bling going down the road. Polish an F150 out and OMG that would be trick.

Compare the fuel saving vs. assurance cost ,,,???

I think a lot would not like to think they will be tied to certified repair shops when the warranty runs out.

I get the impression that people will get stuck with getting repairs done at stealerships. That sucks since they are already over priced. None of the dealers in my town have their own bodyshops.

Aluminum is the future. Good ridden's to all the half a$$ed incompetent body shops. The Chicagoland area has been taken over by a mega body shop business that has bought many of the smaller body shops and made them profitable. Amazingly, both customers and tech's appear to be happier.

My lowly 2002 F150 7700 XL work truck has an aluminum hood. 12 years old and it's fine after being caught in many hail storms.

The aluminum move is looking less brilliant day by day.

I wonder how well it crashes? Will it be riveted together? Lol! A bunch of cracks! Surely.

Magnesium that MANY states use on the road in winter will EAT Aluminum much faster than any rust. If you don't believe it ask most any Trucker and they will tell you the cost of replacing wheels and trailers and parts made of aluminum.

Whereas the 2014 F-150's steel fenders were welded to the body, the aluminum front fenders in the 2015 model can be removed without cutting, saving 6 to 7 hours of labor costs, according to Ford global marketing chief Jim Farley. In addition, the B-pillar on the 2015 F-150 can be removed and replaced without affecting the roof.

Frist glued pickup truck ever. I don't want to drive behind ford , when it loses fenders on the highway.

This may clear up some misconceptions to those with an open mind.

Just give it a little while and chevy and fiat will follow suit. Then it will become the best thing since sliced bread!

"I expect panels to be replaced mostly, which is what I would want"
New aluminum f150 hood will run you about $900. Equivalent steel hood will cost about $300.
Do you still want to replace it?

"How many "rusted" out planes have you seen?"
Aircraft aluminum alloys are sprayed with a pure aluminum coating for protection. Pure aluminum doesn't corrode. F150 body isn't pure Al. It will corrode. There are documented corrosion problems on Ford's hoods out there.

Ford is charging ahead and going to leave the rest in there dust. They are making very smart decisions to right now.

@ gregory
You are full of it. Just did a quick search. There are lots of options of NEW ALUMINUM ford hoods around $300. And you're also full of it on the aluminum corrosion problem. I don't believe that for a second. How many vehicles with aluminum alloy rims do you see with corrosion problems? Manure is extremely corrosive and yet you see aluminum cattle trailers?


You are right, he is full of it. When aluminum "rusts", it forms aluminum oxide, an entirely different animal. In crystal form, aluminum oxide is called corundum, sapphire or ruby, and it is among the hardest substances known. If you wanted to design a strong, scratchproof coating to put on a metal, few things other than diamond would be better than aluminum oxide. By "rusting", aluminum is forming a protective coating that’s chemically identical to sapphire—transparent, impervious to air and many chemicals, and able to protect the surface from further rusting: As soon as a microscopically thin layer has formed, the "rusting" stops. This invisible barrier forms so quickly that aluminum seems, even in molten form, to be an inert metal.

Beebe, just ask anyone who tries to tell you how bad aluminum will corrode on what truck they drive. There is an almost certain chance that if it was made in the last few decades that the engine block, heads, or both were made of aluminum which is in direct exposure to all elements. They are just spewing out ignorant statements to fit there predetermined mindset that anything other that what their favorite truck make does is bad. As I was always told "You can't fix stupid" so don't waste your time or energy trying.

It looks like I'll have o repeat something I said earlier:

Rust is the oxidization of iron, in other words oxygen plus iron equals rust .

Salt = NaCl. Sodium Chloride. Do you see oxygen or 0 or 02 anywhere?

Salt attracts water and there is oxygen dissolved in water and almost everyone knows water is H20.
Salt acts as a catalyst.

Iron is water soluble aluminum is NOT.

Aluminum oxidized faster than iron but is NOT soluble in water and so it does not flake off like rust does. Therefore the process of oxidizing stops as soon as the hard layer of aluminum-oxide is formed.

Ford is using an aluminum alloy. It isn't pure aluminum. There is a blend of other metals like copper, magnesium, manganese, silicon and zinc.

Stainless steel is an example of an iron alloy. The chromium in the stainless steel forms a layer of chromium-oxide which protects against rust.

The risk with aluminum alloys in constructing a vehicle lies at the points where aluminum comes in contact with steel. Dissimilar metals (different metals) in contact with each other can behave much like the poles of a battery and accelerate the oxidative process.

Ford and GMC both use aluminum skinned hoods and I haven't heard of any issues with both brands.

No, I agree, I think more auto makers will start using more aluminum. And i know they've already started using aluminum parts. Even Ram has an aluminum hood now. But, I think its a big jump to go from just putting aluminum hoods to the whole truck. I thought maybe they would add doors and then later body panels and then eventually the whole truck. But, yes, i think someone had to do it and then everyone else will follow because they will have to.
Hell the way our laws are going we might be driving Bamboo pickups in 2050.

Another problem with alloys is allowing the built up of deposits of foreign matter (dirt). This holds moisture and the minerals in the moisture is what causes the electrolysis to occur. Salty water is a better conductor of electricity than pure water. Electrolysis is based on the transfer of electrons, which is electrical energy.

Corrosion on aluminium is will start out on the surface, then pitting will occur. The pitting will develop into inter granular corrosion which is a complete destruction of the aluminium alloy.

Another problem with aluminium is holes that are drilled into the metal, particularly where stress is located. Fractures will set in and again inter granular corrosion will occur.

An aluminium vehicle shouldn't present itself as a problem if basic maintenance is provided to the vehicle. I would think Ford will put a program into place to educate the future buyers of this vehicle.

The area I do see as an issue is the repair of the vehicle. Bonding techniques will be harder to achieve. Where I work we bond (adhere) aluminium to aluminium through a process called vacuum bonding. This is quite strong and durable, but if it isn't done correctly the join will be weak. I've seen the result of a job done hastily and/or the 5 days to allow the bond to set wasn't followed.

I have read that DC-3's built in 1945 are still flying. How much stress and bad weather did those aluminum aircraft sustain?

Are we going over the top here with worry?

I hope Ford got it right..since their CEO sat attended the State of the Union Show last night, I have crossed GM off my list. I guess they want to be Government Motors forever.

Ford Claims Aluminum F-150 Will Be Easier To Repair than Predecessor
Construction Technique Enables Quicker Repair, Lower Labor Costs

Hoods don't ussually get much in the way of repair, unbolt the four bolts, throw it in the scrap pile, get another. Not like a bedside, oh wait, Ford just wants to have to sell you that bedside, at stealership rates, cause you won't have a choice on where to buy from for awhile.

Some soaps can be highly corrosive on aluminum.

I don't think Big Al will be happy unless we are all driving little pichup trucks with diesels in them. I think anything short of that is just a horrible idea to him. Oh, and don't tune your turbocharged engine. You wil get a 4 post lecture from him on how much a fool you are for doing so even though it is your own truck that you bought with your own money.

Btw big Al, I know the risks and I know about turbos. I used work for a diesel engine manufacturer that built nothing but turbo engine and I still work around them with another company. I have been dealing with my tuning company for years and I trust them. I watch all my parameters from the A/F ratio to the exhaust temps and not once have they been out of Ford's own stock specs when towing almost 10k lbs in Texas 100F+ heat. If it breaks because of the tune (which I know it won't) then I will pay to fix it. You have to pay to play and I am fully aware of that so please spare me the 4 post lecture next time.

As far as Aluminum, it's fine with me. However, please, please resolve paint adhesion issues. I have a buddy with an 03 Expedition and there is now white powdery residue flaking on the hood and hatch. Both are aluminum. Happened a few years after he bought it, prolly around 2007. That vehicle is garage kept and immaculate except for the flaking paint and white dust from the aluminum alloy. Ford dealer said no rust, so no corrosion warranty. F that. He went to a good bodyshop to get it repainted and fixed. Estimate $3800 to paint/fix hood and rear hatch. Sorry, I would be absolutely p'd off with Ford. He has vowed to never buy a ford again and his family owns collectively about 6 fords.

Are you kidding me? Just search Ford's aluminum hood corrosion and you'll see it for yourself.
Most of you don't even realize how clean the environment must be when you're working with aluminum. You basically have to have a "clean room" installed at your shop if you want to work on Al and do it right.
Ford had a problem some years back where Al hoods on almost all Mustangs were corroding because they contaminated all of them at the factory with minute metal shavings that were later on paint over. You can't have steel work done next to Al booth or you're asking for trouble.

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