New Ford F-150 Owners Face Higher Insurance, Repair Costs

1 Saving Weight II

Making the big switch from steel to aluminum will be a double-edged sword for the 2015 Ford F-150. While it may save owners money at the pump due to improved fuel economy, it will cost more to insure and repair. According to Automotive News, the swap to aluminum will send ripples deep into the insurance and repair industries, both of which could significantly impact used vehicle pricing down the road. Some experts are saying that insuring a new F-150 could cost as much as 10 percent more than insuring a conventional pickup.

Then there's the lack of qualified mechanics. Ford doesn't seem worried by the fact that only a small percentage of U.S. repair shops have experience and certification for working with aluminum. Obviously the two metals are very different and require different processes when making repairs, but Ford says it has been working with its dealership network to get dealer repair shops up to speed with the changeover. Ford says 90 percent of its pickup truck owners are within two hours of a qualified repair shop.

Some experts say it could take independent repair shops up to 10 years to become proficient in aluminum repair. That could make for some interesting customer satisfaction issues in the first several years of 2015 F-150 ownership because accidents will happen. Other experts are pretty sure this will all get worked out in time because Ford CEO Alan Mulally has plenty of experience working with aluminum. About 147,000 pounds of it went into each Boeing 747-400 when he was an executive at that company.

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I had a new 97 F-150 with an aluminum hood. A neighborhood kid about four years old threw a snowball at me as I drove by his house. I thought nothing of it as this had occurred many times before with other vehicles. Well, after washing the vehicle, I indeed had ding from the snowball. I remember reading about an aluminum-bodied Citroen car that was perforated from sitting in a barn for a few years. The urine eroded the metal.

I have a little experience working with a manufacturer of aluminum cars, and some of those concerns are very valid. Not every dealership has a body shop, nor one that has invested in being certified to service aluminum bodied cars -- and yes, in some case the body shop must be certified by the manufacturer in order for any structural parts to even be sent to the repair shop.
Our customers vehicles which required any structural part replaced had to be sent across the state to a handful of certified repair facilities. These shops would be more than 8 hrs away from the customer's home.

I'm certain the F150 will be different and the fact that it is a higher volume vehicle dealerships and shops will be investing to train staff to repair these vehicles, but there will likely be some lag in training too as it is an investment.
In the long run I think we all are going to need to get used to seeing this as EPA regulations are going to force more use of aluminum in the future to reach mandated mileage. Add that to the cost the consumer has to pay for the privilege of owning/repairing a new vehicle.

Magnetic signs are not gonna stick.

Posted by: MaXx | Jan 21, 2014 6:10:57 PM

but pop rivets will lol

@Dippy DiM
WFT? Who's talking midsizers?

Why do you want to turn this into another midsize vs full size.

This article if you can't comprehend is about ALUMINIUM.

Stay on topic.

@Big Al--At least the aluminum bodies would eliminate those cheap skates and bottom feeders from buying the new F-150. I never realized that I was a cheapskate for paying over 30k for a new CRV. I guess DM is right that anyone who pays below 50k for a vehicle is a real cheapskate. Call me cheap.

Seriously if Ford can sell as many of these new F-150s with the new aluminum bodies then more power to them.

BAFOZ: your $50,000 pick up in America would be a $30,000 pick up here in America, if sold here, but you know in your heart I tell the truth, ok maybe 35K but still, it is just a fact, as when your truck was sold here, no one would pay 50K for a Mazda/Ranger, your "free health care" is NOT free, you know there are taxes you pay on your purchases that pay for your health care. The you call me out about the way I said the Peterbuilts and built, and by the way some Kenworths also are built the same way, how do I now? it is said so in their sale brochures I have read in the past, and just look at them with their over lapping panels and rivets, and they also use a " aircraft grade adhesive" as told in their sale pamphlets!

@sandman--Prices are relative to how much you make. Australia appears to be in much better financial shape than the US. Didn't you say that you would not buy an aluminium body truck? If I remember you stated you had an uncle that had an aluminum bodied Jaguar that had to be towed some distance to get it repaired. As with anything there is an upside and downside to using aluminum. As many people who will buy F-150s there will be many body shops that will become proficient at working with aluminum bodies. The cost of these trucks will become more expensive.

@Jeff S - If you automatically go for the regular cab small truck with rubber floors, crank windows and demand every rebate and incentive known to man on the lowest common denominator of trucks every time, you may be already be a cheapskate or bottom feeder. If not, not.

@BAFo0L - You didn't NEED to bring up midsizers. You're the president of SPaM. The Small Pickup Mafia... You make your agenda blatantly clear when all you do is poo poo any advancements in full-size trucks not involving diesel engines. Even then you have to add that your Mazda truck gets 30 MPG on the open highway (going down hill with a backwind and not stopping).

But because the rest of us are rational thinkers, we weigh BOTH the pros & cons of any advancement.

I would like to know what is wrong with a stripped model? or as some of you call them "bottom feeders" I for one am torn between a new Tremor, or to order a new reg cab truck, with the biggest engine and HD packages available, highest numeral gears, and optional radio, and that is it! on one hand I can get a powerful truck for around 28K near where I live with all rebates included, Ram Express, Chevy W/T or F150 XL, 4x4, V-8, or go the full route and pay over 40K for a hot rod truck w/f4x4!

I agree with you Sandman. Simplicity can be a great thing. Unfortunately I have to have 4x4 for the conditions where I live and work. Have to have a strong engine for towing. Have to have at least an extended cab for the family.

I also agree with those that criticize BAFO. He clearly doesn't understand the way things are here in America, and has a bias towards mid-size that relatively few Americans agree with. I find myself disagreeing with most of what he says. It always amazes me that he seems to think he knows so much about American products and how they could be better for Americans. I think there are a lot of things he doesn't realize about our culture, lifestyle, work situations, recreation, etc.

Bebe: the biggest reason I want to spend my money on a basic reg cab truck with a V-8 4x4 and hd tow package, is I also need to be able to buy a truck for the wife to drive, and of course that has to be an ext cab 4x4 also built to tow, and if I were to spend too much on one, I could not buy two! or more to the point pay the dreaded excise (property taxes here locally) and insurance but that is less than the first couple years of the taxes charged on a new truck, the biggest reason I will have to forget about the Tremor is that tax for the first years will be $2,800!!!!!! on a truck that cost 45K, and only goes down about 30% over the each of the next two years! then drops of a level that while still hyway robbery is not so bad!

@Denver Mike--It has been at least 30 years since I have owned anything that is even close to having rubber floors and manual windows. I doubt you will see too many aluminum body F-150s with roll down windows, single cab, and rubber floors. Since you are constantly using the words cheapskate and bottom feeders to describe most truck buyers then I thought you would appreciate those references. Maybe the cure for cheapskates is to start the base price of these trucks at the modest price of 50k and then have them go to 100k. As J P Morgan said if you have to ask the price a yacht then you cannot afford it. Since these trucks are yacht size then this statement is more appropo.

My question for you DM is since you carry on constantly about cheapskates then are you really a cheapskate yourself? We would like you to be honest and admit it. I am not the one who constantly brings the terms cheapskate or bottom feeders up. Come out of the closet and admit that in reality you are a cheapskate. There is no shame in being a cheapskate but there is shame when you hide from what you are and revert to name calling.

@sandman 4x4--It is your right to buy a single cab truck with rubber floors and not be ridiculed as a cheapskate. I will not ridicule you, but DM will revert to calling those cheapskates. My thought is let a manufacture make what they want even if it is more expensive and not what you want. That is the choice of each manufacture, but as a consumer you have a right to buy what you want. Freedom of choice is what is best, without reverting to name calling by others.

@Jeff S - Yes I'm a cheapskate, and I've said so on many occasions. But the new truck I always go for is the full-size extended cab with a light sprinkling of options, like the STX. And I've no problem using coupons at the grocery store, asking for the upcoming or past specials at department stores and $10 large 3 topping pies at Pizza Hut. But if you ever catch me buying Shasta Cola, please kill me...

Any cheapskate stepping up to, or sticking with base stripper full-size, is at least ahead of those bottom feeders scoring the cheapest possible base vehicle that's still a "truck", in the BOF and separate (regular) cab sense of the word. And the base regular cab mid-size truck is so ridiculously cheap, even before rebates, that it does attract new car buying cheapskates that were shopping base Corollas, Sentras, Focii and such. You can bet Toyota (the OEM) would rather sell you a cheap to build, FWD unibody Corolla than a base Tacoma.

One thing you never want to be is the lowest_common_denominator or trucks. Or of cars/vehicles in general. That's exactly what the reg cab Tacoma is. And that's why it's getting axed by Toyota (Toyoda) at the end of this year. The base Taco is currently getting swarmed by American cheapskates and bottom feeders, not to mention fleet.

I'm not saying cheapskates and bottom feeders are poor or mean it as a derogatory slam. Nothing of the sort. They are new car buyers and doing their part, greasing the wheels of the American economy, even if it's an import, built it Turkey. Thing is, most can probably afford much better, but choose not to. So they willingly, and almost eagerly, choose to deny themselves and their family of any options or upgrades. That's what makes them a cheapskate.

But without a doubt, the next 18 months will be the most exciting and riveting in truck history. Or in automotive history period.

Ford really dropped the ball on this innovation. Those tht think aluminum doesn't rust are ignorant. Aluminum gets white rust, it oxidizes and deteriorates if not removed. It won't be visible and will happen in every state since all you need it water to affect it unlike salt corrosion on steel. This truck will be a money pit a few years after someone buys it.

@ DenverlllMike - no more than 5% of Tacoma's are base model reg cab 4x2 trucks.

It isn't too hard to swarm such a low number.
Swarm means " a large number of animate or inanimate things massed together and usually in motion".

If there was a large number of buyers flocking to reg cab Tacoma's, economies of scale would rule and even though margins are small, they'd make the profits by sheer volume.

Since there is in fact NO large volume of buyers wanting reg cab 4x2 base model Tacoma's they are doing the prudent thing - killing it off.

@TJ - don't use ignorance in a sentence when you do not know what rust is or have a clue about oxidative processes.

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 aluminumoxide 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 chromiumoxide 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.

@Lou BC--I would agree with you about the single base cab Tacoma if they were selling in large volume Toyota would keep them. The phasing out of the regular cab Tacoma could also coincide with the introduction of a newly designed 2015 Tacoma. You are also correct about aluminum with other metals especially where steel fasteners are used on aluminum.

@Denver Mike--I will admit that I can be a cheapskate as well but I will not call someone that. My father was a cheapskate as well buying cars with hub caps and minimum options instead of the nice wheel covers with some of the extras. My mother would always fight him over being too cheap. I do appreciate the fact that both my parents saved and paid for all of their children to complete 4 years of college and for never having to worry about having a roof over our heads and for plenty of food. I appreciate their sacrifices and what they went through growing up during the Great Depression. I guess most of those that went through that time came out of it more conscious of money and how not to waste it.

@Lou BC--Aluminum hoods and truck decks have been around for about 40 years. Starting with the downsized 77 model full sized GM cars and continuing with the 78 model downsized midsized GM models. The only thing I remember is that the paint would fade and sometimes flake off of them but then that was almost 40 years ago and the paint technology is much improved. Jaguar, Land Rover, and Rolls Royce have been using aluminum for much longer.

@Lou_BC - You're quoting last year's ('12) final "fleet"' totals for OEMs. But Toyota is notorious at fudging the numbers. "Fleetail"? I think Toyota invented the term. Anyways, you know something stinks if Toyota's Tacoma fleet totals didn't rise dramatically for '13. Orkin alone bought 2,000 reg cab Tacomas. Basically forced to. Almost one in every 100 Tacos sold in '13. •BUT• that's just one extermination company from ONE industry... And that assumes the reg cab Taco isn't an absolute hit with private, non fleet consumers. It is. Best automotive value (before rebates) out there. There's an absolute reason it's going away. And its the same reason all OEMs in the segment are turning their backs on it. And it's no big secret this is your last chance to score one (or two).

I'm a cheapskate like my dad, but I think I'm better balanced spender. My parents weren't from the Great Depression, but self employed and as kids we also had plenty to eat, etc. I definitely learned to live well within my means and stay way ahead of my bills. And it's a great feeling to own a new modestly equipped truck outright. While my neighbours struggle to make the (lease) payments on their luxury German cars. I'm sure I enjoy my peace of mind more.

@DiM - I'm also quoting what I find every time I use Cars.Com search engine.

The fact that both numbers jive is a strong indication that Toyota is not cooking the books.

Face it dude, reality does not jive with your version of it.

@Lou_BC - So you've not only got outdated, misleading information, it's 2nd hand, 3rd party.

But it's not about Toyota cooking the books. Every OEM has different criteria for who qualifies as a "fleet customer". Toyota requires proof of 10 vehicles currently in operation.

Others, like Ford, just require 5 vehicles in current operation. But that also includes forklifts, ATVs, Bobcats, tractors, combines/harvesters, cement mixers, backhoes, etc. Not true for Toyota. Ford does NOT require ANY vehicles in current operation for 'body modifiers'. Same with taxi companies, livery and funeral. Not true for Toyota, no exceptions. And Toyota excludes leasing companies. Not true for Ford.

When the OEM or dealer network makes it difficult or impossible to get the fleet rate, commercial buyers go elsewhere. Especially small, family run businesses, farms, etc. These are also the backbone of the American economy. Or they're forced to pay the higher rate and that obviously gets recorded as a retail sale.

The biggest cab company in my town (less than 10 taxis) uses Toyota and Scion cars exclusively. It's what they prefer so they pay the higher retail or fleetail price.

But the bigger commercial vehicle buyers, like Orkin, Autozone, O'Reilly, don't have a specific brand they buy. They'll just buy the cheapest vehicles available to them.

So Toyota's official "fleet" totals mean absolutely nothing. Zero.

But where's Toyota's 2013 fleet totals for the Tacoma. Has to be about 30% now. Orkin alone is about a 1% hike. Regular cab 2wds have to be around 50% of all Tacos sold since the end of 2012.

@DM & Lou BC--Many of the cab fleets are using late model used vehicles such as prior generation Taurus, Sable, and Town Cars along with vans, Camry, Sonota, and Accords. You still see a few Crown Vics but fewer. Many auto parts stores have gone to compact cars and crossovers. Lou BC your research is very much on target with the Tacomas that are bought within the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky metropolitan area. Crew cab Tacomas and extended cab Tacomas are more plentiful than single cab Tacomas. I have seen a few regular cab Tacomas used by businesses but I see Orkin using more F-150s than anything else. The fleet Rangers have for the most part disappeared. When it comes to older trucks that are 10 years and older there are lots of single cab Rangers, Tacomas, S-10s, Nissans, F-150s, Silverados, and Dodges. Most new trucks sold around my area are crew cabs and then extended cabs.

I think that if the next Tacoma offers a seat delete on the extended cab versions then most businesses will buy them. The World of vehicles is continually changing and I full expect in the next ten years manual transmissions to disappear from midsize trucks and from most compact cars. A stripped down vehicle for the most part has auto transmission, power steering and brakes, power windows and locks, and fobs. What was considered a fully equipped vehicle 20 to 40 years ago is now considered base trim.

Its worth paying the higher insurance cost cause I will be the coolest and most popular guy in town owning one.

@Jeff S - Small truck OEMs are damned either way. They take away consumer choices and expect budget minded buyers to step up to more truck than they need. Great market strategy! Honestly, they can't win. They're either losing money or losing sales. Or losing both.

When Nissan forced a King cab Frontier, they forced buyers into Rangers, Tacomas, etc. Then Frontier sales dropped dramatically. When there are no more regular cab small trucks, the same thing will happen to the small truck segment. They're only shooting themselves in the foot.

@DiM - and you say I am providing "misleading" information?

Where is your proof " Regular cab 2wds have to be around 50% of all Tacos sold since the end of 2012".


Prove it.

Does your truck have an exhaust leak in the cab?

#1 Call me Big Al. I have dealt with you respectably so far.

#2 I think you'll find I have never stated our health system is free. Yes, in Australia we pay taxes, actually about the same percentage as the US overall, but our government spends less as a percentage as well. Without taxes you whingers would be the first to complain when the government doesn't provide you with something you feel is significant. Everything has a price.

#3 The figures you quoted for our midsizers are relatively accurate as I've given those figures for years.

#4 Trucks aren't built using aviation construction techniques, sorry. The fasteners we use are different. Most every part from formers to longerons are milled from solid aluminium that is X-Rayed. Even the panels or skin on many aircraft is milled from solid aluminium.

A truck constructed like this would be unaffordable, the cost wouldn't benefit the savings in fuel. Imagine milling the cab of a truck from solid aluminium stock?

Like I stated my teflon frying pan has space tech in it.

@Lou_BC - I told you exactly why it's misleading info. Do you have a problem with my English? Do you struggle with reading comprehension? It's cool if you do. I'm not here to judge. Can restate the text for you? Can I restate the OBVIOUS???

But you also have outdated data. Way too old. Where's the current data? A lot has changed since the end of '12. The Ranger disappeared since then and the GM midsizer twins went on haitus since then. Of course Tacoma sales had to increase dramatically. It's not all the good kind though, or like you desperately want to believe.

Toyota mostly inherited the fleet, bottom feeders and rebate demanding cheapskates that normally bought other brands.

Toyota won't reveal the true ratio of cabs sold, but it must be real embarrassing.. Your 5% estimate is lame at best. That's just an outdated and misleading "fleet" number. And it only considers true_"fleet"_buyers. It never minds "retail" reg cab Taco sales, fleetail or simply failing to meet Toyota's "fleet customer" eligibility requirement. An aftermarket 'body modifier' can buy 2,000 reg cab Tacomas, at a considerable discount, convert them to flatbeds, cube trucks, utility beds and such, and they all get recorded as "retail" by Toyota. Toyota loves to contort the truth in their favour.

A take rate of 75% reg cab Tacos wouldn't surprise me one bit.

bigal I was only telling you what it says in the Peterbuilt sale brochure! that is all, and it also used to have a video on their site that said the same thing! and have you see the price of a new Pete, or KW lately? But I am sure they only mean the cab structure, that is all!! oh one more thing, do not call me a "winger", it tells us more about you, than any truth about me.

I love it how the news makes everything bad. 99 to 06 honda insights had an all aluminum unibody. Never heard about high insurance or high repair costs and that was 10-15 years ago.

maybe big shots at ford are friends with CEO s of Aluminum company's or else why would you take this expensive gamble? now if ford trucks get 30 MPG then will be big success Ram gets 25MPG so maybe ford is on to something

I have no problem with the idea of aluminum body panels, however i do tow heavy trailers if the tow vehicle is 900 or so lower in weight, The current trailer will overtake the tow vehicle. Im really concerned with this my next truck will be a freightliner sport for about the same price, better engine, better brakes, better weight distrobution thanks no more fords for me

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