Five things to remember before embarking on aluminium panel repair
High aluminium costs mean it makes sound economic sense to repair rather than replace a damaged panel wherever possible.
But before getting stuck into repairing aluminium damage, we encourage repairers to ensure they know when to repair and when to accept that replacement may be the more appropriate option.
Because aluminium panels tend to be more expensive than their steel counterparts, there’s an even more compelling argument for the economics of repairing rather than replacing them. However, a more extensively damaged aluminium panel cannot be put right by stretching and filling in the way that steel can be, so in this situation, a panel is more likely to need replacing.
5 important points to remember when repairing aluminium
- Not all aluminium is the same. So it’s vital that you identify the type you’ll be working with, and that you understand how it will perform.
- With aluminium, there’s no going back! Unlike steel, aluminium forgets its original form once it has been reshaped.
- Aluminium is strengthened when it’s bent or squeezed. This is known as ‘work hardening’. Because it’s an alloy, its crystalline structure becomes more complex and less slippage can occur. However, as well as hardening, it’s more likely to split or crack if too much force is applied.
- Some like it hot. To repair and pull a damaged area of aluminium, you’ll need to get the panel temperature right up to around 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius) to allow the metal to anneal sufficiently to rework.
- Save the panel if you can. By using a comprehensive aluminium dent-pulling system such as Eco’s ALU-Flatliner, you can save more panels AND push more labour hours through your workshop.
As aluminium is finding its way into more and more car parts, it makes sound business sense for repairers to ensure their technicians have the right skills and equipment to capitalise on the opportunities for profitable aluminium repair.