The second installment of Edmunds.com’s 2015 Ford F-150 torture test is now up for consumption. You’ll recall the story we ran earlier this week of the automotive news outlet smashing its brand-new, $52,000 F-150 long-term tester. The test studied both how well the rear quarter panel stood up to the impacts of a sledgehammer and to evaluate the repair process of the F-150’s new aluminum body panels.
Well the truck is back from the dealership and the verdict is in. It turns out suspicions of the aluminum panels costing more to repair were true. The dealership charged Edmunds $60 per hour for labor with 20 hours of labor total. That adds up to $1,200. What’s more, because Edmunds paid out of pocket, it was given a discounted rate. Had they gone through insurance, the dealer would have charged as much as $120 an hour for labor. (Premium hikes, anyone?)
The story continues and the dollars keep adding. The exterior lens of the taillight was slightly cracked thanks to a crease in the aluminum. This resulted in a replacement taillight being installed, costing a jaw-dropping $887 thanks to the built-in Blind Spot Monitoring system. Conversely, the standard taillight is only $106.
All told, the miscellaneous repair items totaled $1,738. Add in the labor, and the final bill totaled $2,938.44.
While that’s incredibly expensive, it could have been worse. The dealership could have charged Edmunds the full $120 per hour for labor, bringing the total to a staggering $4,138.44.
Besides costing more to repair, the aluminum skin also takes roughly twice as long to repair. The dealer kept the truck for a week rather than the average four days for a steel-bodied truck.
What’s the moral of the story? Until costs fall with time, repairing aluminum-intensive vehicles like the F-150 will be more costly and time consuming.
Source: Edmunds.com’s Sledgehammer Test