The Structural Aluminum Repair Conundrum

We've long maintained that a '32 Ford hot rod might be the ultimate car for a teenager. Every part imaginable is still in production, it's simple to work on, a rollcage can easily be added for more protection in an accident, powerful four-wheel disc brake systems are plentiful, and the engine power can be progressively and inexpensively upgraded as their driving experience increases. If something gets pranged, you simply replace it. But some kids just have to have a BMW. Reader Bill wrote in after seeing our Ferrari/Alcoa post from yesterday and commented regarding the repair of BMW's new aluminum front clip, "I can honestly say that I've never had to have a BMW or Ferarrari repaired after an insurance claim but I am sure that it's worth a post given the previous positive mention," after pointing us to this article in the LA Times.

While we geek out over aluminum construction, whether it's a hand-bashed body by Marcel or the extrusions that underpin the new Z06, it's also true that it's a less forgiving material to work with than steel. And that lack of forgiveness is causing vehicle owners, body shops and insurance companies fits. BMW's standards for certification are out of the reach of many mom 'n' pop body shops, the labor-intensive nature of a front-end swap on a Bimmer is incredibly high, and many insurers don't even know where to start when making an estimate, preferring instead simply to total the car. We'd love to hear from any late-model BMW 5 and 6-series owners who've dealt with front-end damage, or for that matter, from A8 or XJ owners who've dealt with similar circumstances with any part of the car.

Front End Repair? Maybe Just Throw it Away [LA Times]

Related:
Ferrari and Alcoa Makin' Whoopie: Aluminum Giant, Automaker to Cohabitate in Modena [Internal]