Report Brings Our Attention to the Repair Costs of New, Lighter Cars Which Use New Materials

A big talking point nowadays is the increasingly common use of special high-strenght low-weight materials for the construction of new cars. These new solutions for the mass market, like carbon fiber, high-strength steel or aluminum, have obvious benefits over conventional steel and plastic, in the sense that they not only weight less and make the car more efficient, but they also offer stronger rigidity, and therefore better safety credentials. However, a report published by USA Today brings our attention to the higher costs associated with repairing cars made from these new materials. In fact, it’s not just about the (more) money that you spend on a fix, but also the difficulty with which it can be remedied – some shops may find it a hassle, if they lack the necessary skilled manpower, with advanced knowledge of the special repair techniques that are required. The report goes on to explain that because of this, some owners are choosing to swap out the broken parts with new non-original ones, made out of non-high tech materials that obviously don’t have the same properties. You don’t need us to tell you just how bad of an idea that is… but it is. I’d also add the increasingly complicated body shapes to this piece. Now that stamping of sheetmetal is moving forward, more complicated shapes are becoming easier to achieve, with lower costs. However, once a curvy panel with creases and bulges is damaged, it’s not as easy as it once was to repair – chances are it will be done badly, simply because of the extra complexity, so swapping these panels out for new ones is the best thing to do. I mean just look at the side of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class: imagine denting that then having it fixed with filler and sandpaper… By Andrei Nedelea