You Need a Shop with an Aluminum Room
More Vehicles are made with Aluminum, Why You Should Care
We keep seeing the advertisements for vehicles that have their bodies made from aluminum. It’s a great step forward in automotive body styling; aluminum is abundant, easy to work with, easy to recycle, and most importantly it significantly diminishes the weight of the vehicle (allowing for better fuel economy).
What many people don’t realize, however, is that aluminum needs to be repaired in its own specialized room. This should be more than just a tarp separating it from the rest of the repairs. The reason is because of the elemental properties of the aluminum itself.
Aluminum Wants to Protect Steel
The short answer as to why you need to keep aluminum repair and steel repair separate is that aluminum will corrode faster. The long answer is a little more complicated than that.
All metals have different properties; some are more “active” than others. As the metals approach the noble end of the spectrum (gold is a noble metal and won’t corrode) they become less susceptible to the corrosion.
The problems occur when you put a more active metal in contact with one that is less active. For example, when unprotected aluminum comes into contact with unprotected steel and an electrolyte is present. When this happens the steel, being the nobler metal, will corrode faster and the aluminum will sacrifice itself so that the steel doesn’t wear down.
If you want a better scientific explanation, check out this fantastic post on the reaction of aluminum and steel.
As for what you, the owner of an aluminum vehicle, need to be concerned with, it’s simple. When aluminum and steel come into contact, the aluminum will corrode first in order to prevent corrosion on the steel. But how does that affect you?
Mixing Aluminum and Steel Repairs
Auto body shops are messy. There is a lot of grinding, drilling, scraping, and sanding that needs to be done. In the end there are a lot of particles flying through the air, and some of those particles are made out of metal.
When you have steel being worked on next to aluminum, steel particles come into contact with the aluminum auto body. The result is that over time that steel is going to cause the aluminum to break down. Corrosion properties say that the aluminum will sacrifice itself so that the steel won’t deteriorate.
Big Sky Collision Center Separates Aluminum from Steel
Here at Big Sky Collision Center we make sure that your vehicle leaves our auto body shop in Billings in just as good of condition as it was when it rolled off the factory floor. That means taking extreme measures to protect the aluminum from coming into contact with steel.
We have the largest aluminum only auto body shop in the entire state. Vehicles that enter our shop are secure from steel, and we can make sure to work on aluminum that only comes into contact with other aluminum.
The result is that your vehicle isn’t exposed to any unnecessary corrosion.
Take a look at the video below to see what happens when you put steel and aluminum in contact with each other. Without adequate protection, your vehicle will break down.
Call us with any aluminum auto body questions, we fix aluminum vehicles in Billings!