GM Videos Take Ford's Use of Aluminum to Task

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It wasn't long ago that the world of half-ton pickup trucks was spun on its head when the all-new 2015 Ford F-150 debuted using military-grade aluminum for its body. Soon after the repair industry started asking what kind of additional certification training would be necessary to work on the new pickup. That was followed by media outlets asking the insurance industry how much more collision repair on an aluminum pickup would cost than on a steel half-ton.

Now Chevrolet is attacking the subject of body material head-on and going straight at Ford with its newest set of social media videos. The latest Chevy promotional video features longtime Silverado spokesman (and all-pro football player and not-so-pro actor) Howie Long speaking with Silverado chief engineer Eric Stanczak about some of the differences between steel and aluminum.

According to Automotive News, some auto industry strategists are second-guessing Chevy's decision to attack Ford's body material choice since several truckmakers use aluminum in one form or another and several are rumored to follow Ford's lead in the future. The fact that parent company GM uses quite a bit of aluminum in the existing Silverado and is likely to use even more in the next generation makes the attack seem a bit disingenuous.

Chevrolet is also releasing two other videos that are more "tongue in cheek," comparing the lightweight military aluminum to a superhero and asking potential customers what they would chose to protect themselves from a grizzly bear: steel or aluminum?

As interesting and humorous as these videos are (if they are successful on social media, you can expect to see them in mainstream media outlets), the issues of repair costs and long-term durability will take some time to sort out. As more aluminum vehicles enter the marketplace and the repair industry gets more comfortable, costs are likely to fall. And as more vehicle manufacturers — including GM — use more aluminum, you can bet there will be more acceptance from consumers. Remember, airplanes use significant amounts of aluminum framing and bodywork, and they're considered a pretty safe mode of transportation. We expect more pickups to get the aluminum treatment as new generations come to market.

Manufacturer image

Howie Long







Military grade is just a marketing term. The correct term for components designed to military specifications is 'milspec'. There is not such a thing as military grade aluminium.

And military specification/milspec isn't always better.
Also, remember that most military equipment is made by the lowest bidder, and instead of drawing every piece of kit themselves, they make a list of requirements for the item in question and leave the ball with the contractors.They use a low bidder system.
Milspec is the cheapest design that meets durability and lifetime they need out of it, and no longer.

Also, the military has a detailed spec for everything. There's probably a detailed MIL-STD for the aluminium used for cafeteria trays. You could make a truck out of that, and it would be "military grade" enough for advertising's sake, but not necessarily a good truck.

In the case of the F-150, that aluminum is probably just some standardized aluminum just about any joe-blow engineer can spec and buy. I guess the "military grade" somehow builds some intrinsic value into it, but it says nothing about the material spec, its yield strength, tensile strength, or stiffness - the properties you actually should care about. But this is over most people's heads, so they just resort to a simple name that builds intrinsic value.
Furthermore, in the engineering world, nobody ever says "aircraft grade" or "military grade" materials. You will never see these terms anywhere in any drawing or blueprint.



Thanks Svina,

I'm gonna make me some "military grade" brownies now on lol.
Those gonna be super tuff! Lmao!!!

Ford uses the Same aluminum that Pepsi uses in their pop cans


The Silverado and Sierra have had an aluminum hood for several years. The Tahoe, Yukon and Suburban have an aluminum lift gate.

@mp how much for a dozen?

GM is going to use aluminum front fenders on the 2016 models.

The crashed trucks in the test comparison above said nothing about the aluminum panels receiving more damage from the same hit. Just more labor intensive. Aluminum panels can easily be made stronger then steel, depending on thickness and nickel content, and still be much lighter than steel.

But I'm sure the same arguments were lobbed at the 1st aluminum ladders. And many things that are now made exclusively of aluminum, 1st were made of wood or steel.

All cars and trucks will eventually be made of aluminum. Common sense. Just not in my lifespan 'cause I'm old.

I think it is a stretch to say all trucks and cars will eventually be made exclusively out of aluminum. Aluminum will grow in use but it will be used with light high tensile steel and with polymers. Carbon fiber although expensive could find its way into more body parts of trucks and cars. Doors, hoods, trunk lids will be made of aluminum but I don't think steel is going to be totally replaced. If the price of steel becomes less expensive the manufacturers will still use it to save costs. GM could possibly use more aluminum and polymers in their truck bodies along with light high tensile strength steel. Using steel in the framing and the roof would be a cost effective use of materials while using aluminum and polymers for the rest of the body.

I'm gonna make me some "high strenght" brownies from now on lol.
Those gonna be super tuff! Lmao!!!

The U.S. military and big-rig trucking companies beg to differ, Reyes says. Humvees and Peterbilts have long used steel frames with aluminum bodies, much as the 2015 Ford F-150 does. (Yes, we know, military vehicles often get armor plating made of steel, but some versions don’t and stick with aluminum for certain body panels instead.)

My problem with Ford has always been under the hood rather than with the body. I don't have a problem with an all-aluminum body when it's properly cared for, but an engine shouldn't need the number of repairs every one of my Fords has needed just to keep them running.

air plane use aluminum and you no the result after crash ,,do you no a air plane build whit steel stupid comparison,,

big deal..that worthless generic motors always trying to sell their junk by cutting down someone else's superior product..they are a joke

Geez boys! I am not a Ford fan by any stretch! But you talk about sales well I remember the new GM's sold like sh*t in the beginning as well! So let's see what happens in time. I sure hope the other companies profit on GM's blunder!


Meanwhile, over at Cadillac.....shhhh, don't tell Howie....

From the Wall Street Journal website.

Ford Tops Auto Companies in Brand Survey

Ford’s brand value was pegged at $20.3 billion ranked 25th.

Chevrolet, General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) largest division, with a value of $7.2 billion, which put it in 66th place.

GMC ranked 172nd in the Brand Finance study, with a value of $3.5 billion

Corvette is aluminum....

It makes no sense to mismatch steel and aluminum body parts like some suggest.... More dissimilar metals in close proximity doesn't seem like much of a well thought out idea.... Plus many people here that are champion strategic use of aluminum and steel in the body that are critics of adhesives and rivets and hate ford's total aluminum body approach must realize that you can't weld aluminum to steel which means they will need more adhesives and rivets to assemble mismatched materials.

Didn't gm just patent some super duper new welding technology for aluminum????? Gm's next truck will be mostly aluminum like ford but may not save much weight due to there flimsy,weak, thin steel panels they use currently. They would prolly gain on durability and toughness by switching to aluminum but not save much of any weight in there bodies by making the switch.

Ford fails, whines, ford girlies cry. Interesting PUTC questions commercials, which are used to gain customers, but never questioned ford misleading claim of "the best selling pick up truck", when ford is counting almost everything in their sales as a pickup truck. I don't feel a F850 fire truck is a pick up, however, ford owners are well known to be intellectually challenged and can be made to believe a chicken egg is a dinosaur egg pretty easily.

GM uses the thinnest sheet metal of all brands! even the nissan uses thicker steel

Ford is leading the industry right now and this is the price they're paying for it. In a few years GM and Ram will follow suit while Ford will continue to push the envelope. Aluminum and Ecoboost are the future with the tougher CAFE standards coming from BIG Government.

@tj - It could be a failure. Remains to be seen.

Sales figures may mean nothing to you and I, but OEMs like to keep score. Ram also adds their 4500/5500 cab/chassis' in their total "pickup" sales. They do run down the same assembly line as their Ram HD pickups though (in Mexico).

The F-450/550 C/Cs also run down the SD pickup assembly line. Some get converted to pickup trucks by owners and upfitters, if it makes you feel any less sore.

F-450/550s are only about 5% of F-series though. Not a huge deal.

If GM offered a 4500/5500 C/C based on HD pickups, you're darn skippy they would include them in their pickup totals. If they did, I would be the 1st in line to buy one. Actually they did from around '88 to '94. The 4500HD

But F-650s and up, don't get counted in "F-series" sales totals. They have little in common.

Except it also remains to be seen how much aluminum the next or subsequent GM pickups will use. Perhaps the entire truck will be aluminum.

By then, all successful body shops will know aluminum repair inside-out.

GM mustn't approach the differences like some phan boi who comments on PUTC.

As I've always stated aluminium is a great material, but more expensive than steel to use.

Is an aluminium F-150 necessary? No.

What is the advantage of using aluminium in a 1/2 ton pickup? None.

In the comments above I do see some uneducated comments from the Ford biased commenters, ie, attempting to relate warships, aircraft, expensive performance vehicles, military equipment with a 1/2 ton pickup. How totally and utterly ridiculous.

Lets look at the real picture regarding Ford move in the creation of the aluminium wonder truck.

1. I would love to see if Ford HD numbers have been improving at the same rate as GM/Ram pickups.

2, If Ford HDs are improving in numbers in line with the other manufacturers then this is a double whammy for the F-150.

This indicates it is performing far worse than Ford is admitting to.

Overall for such a new and radical change in vehicle there was no real gain in vehicle performance from FE to capability. A Ram or GM pickup can do what the F-150 can do, but for far less money.

As I've always stated Ford's initial comment and justification for the aluminium F-150 wonder truck was FE. This evaporated.

Ford's next ploy was to market the vehicle for it's better load and tow. The reality is 75% of customer don't give a rat's behind on this, so long as the vehicle can tow what they want and go to Home Depot and carry a handful bags of fertiliser.

Ford really misjudged the market on this one.

This is what GM and Ram should be targeting.

They should ask the consumer what is advantageous in owning an aluminium F-150 wonder truck over their product?

I actually like the new F150 and I'm traditionally not a Ford man at all. These commercials are funny I think. I get their point but I think its moot.

These things are going to be mofo's, lighter, the most powerful, and the most capable factory 4x4 pickup. Coming to a dealer near you next year!!!!

@BAFO - it's not the earth shattering breakthrough, market tries to portray. To me it's just a regular, routine update/improvement that should come with each new generation. Or why shouldn't I just keep my great running, sharp looking older pickup?

What so great about the current generation Silverado vs past? Meh?

Current Ram vs past? Tundra? Taco?

The aluminum build doesn't exactly kill the other trucks in any one category, but collectively might sway the average consumer not dead-set on any one brand.

If GM is really sweating Ford's move to all-aluminum, as the commercials clearly imply, and they're scrambling to build their own partial or total aluminum pickup, maybe we're both wrong???

The only trucks added to the pickup truck sales total is pickup bed trucks. Not cab chassis such as the 450-550 and the 4500-5500. There not part of the monthly sale total that is reported to PUTC. Ford includes the consumer f450 in there figures. But cab chassis f450 isn't included. No f550+ are added in the sales figures like the uneducated poster above said ford adds dump trucks to there total.

All the Ford hype equals 60 pounds less than the Steel GM, what a joke, but the real joke is how bad the Ecobusts Turdblows compare to the GM 6.2, Furd lovers will have to buy the I wish I had a V8 bumper stickers, especially after the turblows go down the road, GM should show the underhood temp differences, somewhere say in the desert and show the Furd going into Limp Home mode, youtube has plenty of videos showing Ecobusts going into limp home mode, esp trailering lol.

Here are the numbers of the 2015 Ford F150 3.5 Ecoboost versus the winner of the Light Duty V8 Winner, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 6.2.

As you can see, the Chevrolet wins almost every test, you could say 8 speed vs 6 speed is an advantage for GM, as you could say Gears favor the Ford, along with slightly lighter and less payload, versus 100 pounds more trailering on the Davis Dam Run Only.

Chevrolet 54310
Gears 3,23
Weight 5620

0-60 5.92
0-60 loaded 7.09 1240 pounds
1/4 14.34
1/4 loaded 15.36 1240 pounds
Unloaded Chevy 6.2 19.8 MPG
Braking 60-0 133.7 unloaded
Trailering Chevy 6.2 10.2 MPG 6,700 pounds
Braking 60-0 132.2 loaded with 1240 pounds
Davis Dam 19.92 6,700-pound trailer

Ford F150 60880
Gears 3.55
Weight 5560

0-60 6.22
0-60 loaded 7.02 1080 pounds
1/4 14.84
1/4 15.50 loaded 1080 pounds
Unloaded 3.5 Eco boost 18.5
Braking 60-0 133.6 unloaded
Trailering 3.5 Ecoboost 11.1 6,800-pounds
Braking 60-0 135.3 with 1080 pounds
Davis Dam 20.76 6,800-pound trailer

A key to engine building is how many ponies you can pump out per pound, and that is exactly why Chevy went to such great length to minimize the engine’s weight. In fact, this 6.2-liter engine weighs just 465 lbs and is 25.3 inches tall. To put that into perspective, the ultra-powerful BMW 4.4-liter V-8 is mammoth when compared to the LT1, measuring 29.6 inches tall and weighing 503 lbs. To boot, the 4.4-liter powerplant falls 50 horsepower short of GM’s new LT1 engine. This gives the LT1 6.2-liter a 1.033-pound-per-horsepower to 1.257-pound-per-horsepower victory over the fame Bimmer engine.

How much more does the 3.5 ecoboost weigh over the 5.0?
the 5.0 was the lightest V-8 produced at 445 pounds but I'm not sure what an Eco-boost weighs.

For the 2015's, it looks like about 50lbs or so.

That's right Ford lovers, the EcoBust weighs nearly 500 pounds, 365HP, 420Lb Feet of Torque.

The GM 6.2 weighs 465lbs, makes 460HP in the Corvette and 420HP in the Silverado.

Weighs less, way less complex, makes WAY more HP (55-95), gets better Fuel Economy, yea Ford really has something with the twin turdblows haha.

GM Man - 3.5 EB is 6 - 8 lbs heavier than the 5.0 due to turbos and more robust construction to live under boost.

@Lou, do you work for Ford, where is your proof, that's right you have no proof. So here is the proof from Ford own website, now if you need a calculator, let us know as you can see below the Ecobust 3.5 weighs more than the 5.0 in every situation by well OVER 50 pounds.

Base Curb Weight - 2.7L EcoBoost® V6 - - 4,168 lbs. 4,425 lbs. 4,257 lbs. 4,500 lbs.

Base Curb Weight - 3.5L EcoBoost® V6 - - -4,419 lbs. 4,668 lbs.

Base Curb Weight - 5.0L Ti-VCT V8 - - 4,223 lbs. 4,487 lbs. 4,344 lbs. 4,596 lbs.

Cab style Super Cab

Base Curb Weight - 2.7L EcoBoost® V6 - - 4,463 lbs. 4,703 lbs. 4,539 lbs. -
Base Curb Weight - 3.5L EcoBoost® V6 - - 4,571 lbs. 4,822 lbs. 4,703 lbs. 4,964 lbs.
- -
Base Curb Weight - 5.0L Ti-VCT V8 - - 4,521 lbs. 4,770 lbs. 4,621 lbs. 4,887 lbs.

Cab style Super Crew

Base Curb Weight - 2.7L EcoBoost® V6 4,563 lbs. 4,806 lbs. 4,602 lbs.

Base Curb Weight - 3.5L EcoBoost® V6 4,679 lbs. 4,925 lbs. 4,722 lbs. 4,984 lbs.

Base Curb Weight - 5.0L Ti-VCT V8 4,622 lbs. 4,871 lbs. 4,664 lbs. 4,930 lbs.

3.5 ecoboost weighs 417...... with out accessory drive.... such as AC compressor and such. Not sure where GM man is getting his info.
Is there a link to the 6.2 GM engine weight?????

@scott, you must have rode the short bus with Mike Levine and the Ford Engineers, showing an incomplete engine kits proves nothing, I have the actual weights of the trucks with the engines installed, proving the slight of hand that Ford makes claims of the light ecobusts when in fact installed in the truck with all that bs to keep them cool, weighs MORE than a 5.0 V8, don't forget the oil and coolant.

As for the 6.2

GM man
You have to put oil and coolant in the GM as well.

Also doing some math between the 5.0 and the 3.5 from the ford website the difference isn't the same between every 5.0 and 3.5.... There is different numbers when you do the math. Why is that.

The 3.5 weighs 417. In the same configuration the 6.2 gm weighs 465 according to your link.

I hate to beat a dead horse here. This is your answer Scott, Ecobust weighs more than the 5.0 and the Corvette V8 weighs less than the Ecobost while producing, 460 vs 365 in the ecobust, that's 95 MORE HP, weighs less, way less complexity.

The only major differences between the corvette lt1 and the L86 truck motor is the Manifold and CAM, an L86 can easily be upgrade to make the corvette power and more without Turdblows.

GM ordering a stock mustang 5.0 from ford performance the engine comes in at 444 according there specs minus accessories. Ordering an 3.5 ecoboost from ford performance it weighs 417 minus accessories. Figures are there for you to look at. SBYL

Also there are differences between the Corvette 6.2 and the pickup 6.2. Yes the corvette engine weighs 465. There is no info on weight from the pickup 6.2.... There are differences in intakes and exhaust manifolds on them.... A corvette 6.2 engine cover doesn't fit on the pickup 6.2 and vice versa do to the tall, different runner config. The 6.2 truck engine is heavier then the corvette.

Also why isn't the ford curb weight chart difference between the 3.5 and 5.0 consistent????

Also if you take curb weights to heart and accurate from manufactures website the Ford is over 500lbs lighter then the GM trucks!!!! Crew cab 4x4 6.2 short box Chevy weighs 5434 lbs according to
Ford crewcab shortbox 3.5 eco 4x4 weighs 4925 lbs!!!!!!

You can't buy a ford f150 over 5000lbs according to ford specs that you use as your bases as your weights!!!! LOL

Some people should just stay in their mamas basement @scott. I think I will believe Ford's own website with the motor in the truck and weighed over some third party engine replacement website, you mention accessories like 10 times, ever stop to think, I know its hard for you, but the Turdblow has intercooler and lots of extra BS to help cool it and that's REQUIRED to run, while the 5.0 doesn't need it, so your replacement engine argument weight aint working, showed you the website FORD and the FORUM for F150's who LOVE fords and both say Ecobust is heavier.

The L86 and the LT1 weight almost the same, 465 pounds and MAKE TONS MORE POWER THAN EGOBUST, that's 95 Horsepower more with the Vette and 65 MORE horsepower with the L86, you have no come back so go away already.

GM Faster, Better, MORE POWER, longer life, will outlast any Ecobust, better FE, better engineering, based on 60 years plus small block V8

Ecobust 3.5 Twin Turdblows, 150k expected lifespan, huge under hood temps, limp home mode, terrible FE under load/trailer, way less HP than 6.2, worse resale value than 6.2

Alum F150 60 pounds lighter in compare with 6.2, still got crushed, end of story.

And as far as complexity is concerned, the new GM engines are plenty complex, mostly in a good way. Direct injection is a definite step in the right direction (no pun intended). The only thing I wish they would skip is the cylinder deactivation. It's not been exactly trouble free. And please remind me of the benefit of CD. I've talked to guys who felt that the cylinder deactivation on their GM trucks was actually hurting the fuel economy. Albeit that was the previous gen truck so hopefully they got the problems sorted out on the current gen.

Gotta love how GM fanboys hate on the other manufacturers for trying new technology. It seems to be a case of inferiority complex. They can't stand that other people can enjoy the new technology while they are stuck with the old tech because that's what their favorite brand offers. So their reaction is to bash anything new and different. Sadly GM itself does the same, as evidenced by these videos. I guess that's where the fanboys learn it from. Lol.

LOL GM man. Mama's basement is better then your bedroom in your mama's trailer house.

poor GM can't keep up with the ecoboost. GM is lying as this no way resembles an engine with the claimed HP and torque that GM claims it has.... Talk about struggling

This is how a real truck is suppose to perform with that weight

@Scotts Basement Condo, here is your EGoBust getting crushed by the Mightly LT!, beats it by HALF A SECOND in the 1/4, no Turdblows, all V8 goodness, no R2D2 sound effects, limp homie mode, just 420HP and 450LBS of Torque, with tons of headroom left in this engine.

Chevrolet 54310
Gears 3,23
Weight 5620

0-60 5.92
0-60 loaded 7.09 1240 pounds
1/4 14.34
1/4 loaded 15.36 1240 pounds
Unloaded Chevy 6.2 19.8 MPG
Braking 60-0 133.7 unloaded
Trailering Chevy 6.2 10.2 MPG 6,700 pounds
Braking 60-0 132.2 loaded with 1240 pounds
Davis Dam 19.92 6,700-pound trailer

Ford F150 60880
Gears 3.55
Weight 5560

0-60 6.22
0-60 loaded 7.02 1080 pounds
1/4 14.84
1/4 15.50 loaded 1080 pounds
Unloaded 3.5 Eco boost 18.5
Braking 60-0 133.6 unloaded
Trailering 3.5 Ecoboost 11.1 6,800-pounds
Braking 60-0 135.3 with 1080 pounds
Davis Dam 20.76 6,800-pound trailer

GM_Man - is bragging about an engine that will find it's way into 10% of GM pickups. The EB3.5 is already in over 55% of F150's.

The 6.2 also requires premium and those "mighty" numbers are based on premium. Another blogger made the post on this site that the EB 3.5 HP numbers are based on regular fuel. It will compensate for premium and "up" HP numbers if run on premium.
That would be an interesting shootout - EB3.5 on premium like the 6.2.

More time to laugh at Ecobust Owners

Ford F150 3.5L Ecoboost Rattle Upon Start Up- Timing Chain Stretch Issues

Aluminum is not some new magical material for making vehicle bodies out of. Land Rover, Jaguar, and other manufacturers have made all aluminum bodies for years. GM used aluminum in hoods and trunk lids on their downsized full size cars starting in 1977 and again on their downsized midsize cars in 1978, Aluminum is new to pickups with the F-150 but semi trucks and semi trailers have been using aluminum for years. Aluminum is not the only material that has been used in vehicle bodies. GM started using fiberglass with the first Corvette for 1954 and Saturn used plastic bodies. Xenoy a form of polymers is used in jet fighter wings and lawnmower decks (Honda and Husqvarna). I don't think every vehicle made will go to aluminum but I do believe that steel will still be used but it will be used much less as it has in the past when vehicles were made completely out of steel and now many have more plastic. There is also carbon fiber. To think that only one type of material will be used in vehicle bodies of the future is very short sighted and doesn't consider any future materials that will be developed.

After all the Ford guerrilla PR against the Colorado/Canyon that has been on most every auto/truck site for the last 3 yrs. I can’t say as I can blame G M even though I don’t care for this type advertising.
After reading Tom Wilkinson post about price and cost of ownership being major purchasing factors and a cost-no-object truck would be wonderful but not many can afford them. His comment makes me think when G.M. put the project on hold they had already made the decision not to build an all aluminum truck. Even today they are saying their next truck will be built using more aluminum but also multiple materials such as carbon fiber and high strength steel.
Now I am wondering if G.M. pulled away from this project hoping Ford would pick it up?

@Jake D--You might be right, GM could be letting Ford take all the risks up front to learn from Ford's mistakes. GM could very well use multiple materials in the next trucks, but regardless GM and Ram will have to make their trucks lighter to meet the new fuel standards. All the manufacturers will have to spend more to comply with the new standards.

GM save money at the bodyshop because they can use BONDO filler for repairs on steel panels. You can not use filler on an aluminum fender.

Any reputable body shop is not going to repair a vehicle body with Bondo. If the rust comes back which it will the body shop doesn't want a mad customer. Most body shops will cut the rusted body panel out and replace it with a new part.

@Jeff S - Bondo is normally used when repairing steel panels, except anything more than 1/8 inch is shoddy work. Paper thin if possible. There's nothing wrong with that.

@Denver Mike--Maybe in a warm climate with no road chemicals for snow such as California but any reputable body shop where I live will turn away the business for fear that they will have an angry customer when the rust starts to pop out again. You cannot stop rust by using Bondo, it is like a cancer in that once rust starts it spreads. I just had some rust on my S-10 repaired and it was even hard to find a body shop that would cut the rusted area out and weld a new piece of metal in its place. If you want to do the body work yourself or pay someone on the side then sure you can use Bondo but it will not stop rust. Most of the body shops around where I live are licensed and would not take a risk on using Bondo.

@Jeff S - I'm just talking about collision repair.

Except rust should be 100% *gone* before new metal is 'welded in' to fill what cancerous metal was removed. Bondo is just used to fill the grinder marks and raise the low areas, again as close to paper-thin as possible.

Denver Mike--Maybe for grinder marks and low areas but many body shops are reluctant to use Bondo. Rust is a very big issue for those who live in colder climates. Road salt is bad enough but most municipalities have started mixing beet juice which is even more corrosive than salt. Salt has become more expensive and many municipalities have run out of salt recently due to more snow in recent years. Many municipalities have actually gone over their budgets for snow removal and are looking for ways to reduce costs such as using beet juice with salt (extending salt supplies) and plowing less often. You can run your vehicles through the car washes frequently but if you drive you will still get rust especially if you live in a more humid climate.

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