Every owner must know this.
It was in 2015 when the thirteenth-generation Ford F-150 was launched but unlike its many predecessors, this one featured an all-aluminum body instead of steel. Ford decided to use aluminum instead of steel in order to significantly reduce the truck's weight and improve fuel efficiency. Some 750 pounds was removed, but the choice of aluminum still remained controversial. Many long-time F-150 owners were unsure of aluminum's durability, a major factor for trucks. After all, a type of aluminum is used to make beer cans and we all know how easily those can be crushed.
Fortunately, Ford's unique type of aluminum has held up just fine and the upcoming fourteenth-generation F-150 will continue this trend. But what should current generation owners do if there is some collision body damage? Where should they have it repaired? Their local repair shop or a Ford dealership? The answer is vital.
The automaker answered this question by releasing its official position earlier this month. "The use of aftermarket structural rivets, including Self-Piercing, Blind and Solid rivets, is not authorized by Ford," the automaker said. "Ford Motor Company considers the use of OEM structural rivets critical to the safety, reliability, and durability of the repaired vehicle." At first, one might assume Ford wants nothing more than to sell owners its own parts as opposed to aftermarket ones.
However, differences remain. "There are many unique SPR rivets required to properly complete repairs to aluminum Ford vehicles," the statements adds. "Each rivet is specific to its location and required to meet structural repair requirements. The Ford repair procedures provide the required rivet location and part number that must be used during a repair. SPR rivets are not universal, and placement cannot deviate from the Ford repair procedures."
Another factor is that Ford needs to approve of the tools used to install the rivets because "the SPR installation mandrel determines the proper depth and spread of the SPR rivet." While steel might be cheaper and easier to repair than aluminum, Ford fully realizes aftermarket repair shops are simply not familiar enough with it to provide sufficient repairs at this time.
Going forward this will likely change but, for now, play it safe and have your local Ford-authorized repair shop fix any dents or other body damage.