The Pros And Cons Of Aluminum Auto Body Modifications
Aluminum has become more and more popular in recent years due to its recently low cost and light weight, both of which save money for the car owner. On the other hand, there are also several detriments to using this high-tech alternative to steel which can, in some cases, negate the positive attributes of the material. Here are the major pros and cons of sourcing your next body modification with aluminum parts.
- Aluminum is very lightweight, so if you're replacing or installing a very large piece, like a new hood or roof, then aluminum will save you some serious weight over steel, as steel is about 2.5 times heavier than aluminum. This will not only save gas, but will also allow your car to get a few extra miles per hour, which is a welcome improvement to many racers.
- Aluminum simply doesn't rust, meaning that your investment will be in perfect shape for years, even if faced with salt, rain, and other conditions that would deteriorate steel and iron. In fact, the small amount of corrosion that does form on aluminum will actually protect the rest of the metal from corrosion, making it a self-protecting barrier. This fact means that your aluminum parts are sure to remain strong and look pristine for years with little or no maintenance, unlike steel parts, which can suffer from ugly, expensive rust.
- Aluminum is hard to repair, as you'll need to go to an auto shop that specializes in repairing aluminum cars to get this work done. This is due to a variety of factors, including the high melting point of aluminum and the abnormal way in which aluminum behaves while under stress. This makes aluminum a poor choice for parts of the car that have a high potential for being damaged, like a bumper or low skirt.
- While aluminum is far lighter than steel, it is not quite as strong. This makes it a poor choice for parts of the car that will bear a load or will often be under stress, like doors or the hood, which are often slammed or bumped into by other cars.
The choice to go aluminum is being made more and more often every day by drivers who want to go faster, save gas, and enjoy a rust-free look for years. If you want to maximize speed, fuel efficiency, and corrosion resistance, then aluminum is the way to go. On the other hand, if you want your car to be tough as nails and easy to work on, then you may want to go a different route, like sticking with steel, the old standby.