The use of aluminum in auto manufacturing has increased heavily over the last few years. With the release of the 2015 Ford F-150, a model manufactured primarily out of aluminum, repair shops across the country began training to handle repairs related to this type of material. Aluminum corrosion can cause serious problems for drivers and repair shops.

Not many believe aluminum can rust, but all aluminum is different and it can corrode over time. When aluminum corrosion takes over a car, while mostly cosmetic, it can impact the outcomes of accident damage and subsequent repairs. Plus, there are different types of aluminum corrosion that affect the automotive world.

Most Common Auto Aluminum Corrosion and Prevention

Aluminum corrosion is easily noticeable and customers tend to notice when their car doesn’t look as great as it should. Over time, the longer corrosion goes unnoticed or unrepaired, it damages the vehicle further. Here are the most common types of aluminum corrosion to look out for:

Filiform Corrosion

Your paint job will never look worse than up against filiform corrosion. While it typically isn’t considered a structural issue, filiform corrosion begins under paint coatings. It will usually begin forming after a small scratch or chip damages the paint, leaving an opening. Filiform aluminum corrosion spreads causing a bubbling effect in common areas like the hood of the car. Sometimes, it will look like white powder stuck to your paint job.

Most manufacturers suggest refinishing the surface of the vehicle properly by buffing and cleaning the metal. All defects and rougher surfaces must be removed or smoothed. It is also important to paint and seal the car correctly. Having the right paint system used to treat your vehicle will prevent alloys from exhibiting filiform corrosion down the road.

Crevice Corrosion

Street parking is very common in University City and with street parking comes corrosive liquids that cause crevice corrosion. These abrasive liquids can come from salt vehicles whose contents mix with rain or other liquids to create a mixture harmful to your vehicle. These liquids make its way into the gap (or crevice) between two joining surfaces. Higher temperatures can quicken the aluminum corrosion and will appear as small pits or etching patterns.

This can cause slightly more of a structural problem as these corrosive liquids start their processes in joints, under gasket fittings and seams of the car. The best way to prevent this from happening is with sealants, primers, and coatings.

Galvanic Corrosion

Galvanic Corrosion occurs when aluminum comes in contact with a different metal while also being in contact with corrosive liquids and electrical currents. For example, aluminum, steel, and water don’t mix. This type of aluminum corrosion is rather slow and takes a lot of exposure before drivers and technicians can see its effects.

Adhesives, primers, and paint coatings are a great way to keep electrolytes and dissimilar metals from causing galvanic corrosion.

Getting it Fixed

Fixing damage done to a car in a collision or otherwise requires a certain level of research. As we mentioned earlier, not all aluminum is the same and repairing the corrosion and pain requires special equipment. Specialized tools are needed when fixing aluminum corrosion because of how the different materials react to one another. This is true for all types of corrosion, not just galvanic.

Understanding the difference between the care of vehicles made of steel and those made with aluminum is critical to the success of repairs. Many models recalled to different shops’ inability to understand the proper care for each. At Paul Bros., we offer paint repair and rust removal to get rid of that aluminum corrosion plaguing your car. The affected areas will be etched to break loose the corrosion before being washed and primed for paint repair. The process is fairly simple and we can have you back out on the road in no time at all.

Do you think your car has aluminum corrosion? Or do you just have more questions about the process? Reach out. Paul Bros. wants to hear from you.


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