FrameCutout.pngMore and more OEs are using more and more special materials in their latest models. That’s no secret. We often discuss aluminum and high-strength steel—and how they affect your business—right here on this blog. But we’ve rarely been able to quantify exactly how much special material is in use in today’s vehicles. Until now.

In its latest report, Mitchell has tapped its databases to show us all just how extensive special materials are being used these days. Because repair shops see these materials more than anyone else in the industry (other than the OEs themselves), the numbers might not come as a surprise—but that doesn’t mean they aren’t astonishing.

For instance, who would have predicted that—within five years—estimates written for repairs involving special materials would increase from around 3% to nearly 20%? Probably not us. We knew that CAFE standards would have an impact on material usage, but that’s a really large jump.

All of those special materials certainly have an affect on how a vehicle is engineered. But they may not have the same affect on repair shops. In fact, they probably won’t—because the repair process for special materials is often different than the manufacturing process. For example: BMW laser welds the quarter panels onto their 3 Series vehicles, but they insist that any repairs to those quarter panels should use structural adhesives.

So how do you repair these vehicles? 

Chief-Aluminum-1.jpegJust as importantly how do you understand how to repair them? It starts with OE repair data and ends with OE-approved repair equipment from Chief Automotive, who else? Our full line of collision repair equipment—all approved by the world’s largest auto manufacturers—is set to help you with both conventional and special materials.

When you need OE repair specifications, we have them. When you need to measure a vehicle against that data, nothing beats our LaserLock and Vector systems. From there, you’ll need the industry-leading options in frame machines, anchoring systems and welding—including our aluminum welding options.

Whatever you need to repair vehicles that use special materials, there’s a very good chance we have it. And when you look at the most recent reports of special materials, there’s a very good chance you’ll need it.