Why 2022 Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series buyers could pay higher insurance premiums to cover costly repairs to damaged aluminum alloy body panels – Car News
The news that the new Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series will feature a large amount of aluminum for its exterior panels has raised some eyebrows.
For the record, the LC300 (as Toyota calls it) will have the majority of its exterior hanging panels in aluminum.
The new car will have a roof, hood, doors and front guards all pressed out of aluminum, while the rear three-quarter panels will remain steel, as will the basic structure of the vehicle’s ladder frame.
Learn more about the Toyota Landcruiser
The first questions for future owners of the new Cruiser usually revolve around accessories and repair costs.
Starting with the latter, a large independent panel beat workshop in Victoria said CarsGuide that any car with aluminum panels has certain requirements when it comes to repairing damage caused by an accident.
The biggest downside is that major or structural damage must be repaired by a workshop certified by the car manufacturer.
Compared to a conventional steel car, there is not the same possibility of pulling an aluminum structure right after a shunt; ideally, the damaged section should be cut and a new section either welded or glued to replace the damaged part.
Considering the tolerances and exotic materials involved, this is simply beyond the scope of the vast majority of panel shops and that is why manufacturers have developed their own network of authorized repairers to perform this kind of work.
That said, the new LandCrusier stays true to its steel frame, so these concerns aren’t very much on the minds of all buyers.
But even more minor repairs to an aluminum vehicle impose their own conditions.
A minor dent or scratch can be repaired using a fairly traditional method, but if the panel was stretched during the accident (which is not uncommon for aluminum or steel body panels), the panel aluminum cannot be heated. shrunk like a steel panel can.
At this point, a replacement part is the best solution and the price for the repair suddenly skyrockets.
The truth is, many traditional panel shops don’t touch a car with aluminum panels (including the one we spoke with) making repairing them a very specialized process, which is often reflected in premiums. insurance for these makes and models.
Based on this, owners might find that their insurance premiums increase compared to previous LandCruisers.
We reached out to RACV Insurance, who told us that while many factors contribute to the cost of a final premium, it confirmed that it can take into account “make and model (including the materials the car is made with). has been manufactured) ”.
It will depend on individual insurers and policyholders, but it’s worth keeping in mind.
When it comes to accessories, the switch to external aluminum panels shouldn’t make a difference.
Steel; the structure is still where the electrical equipment will be grounded, and the attachment points for the winches, two bars, wheel carriers and bull bars will remain good old-fashioned steel.
The advantages of aluminum panels, on the other hand, are closely related to the weight saving.
The new LandCruiser would be 100-200kg lighter than the old car on a model-for-model basis, and much of that reduction must surely be due to the aluminum panels.
This tactic is by no means a first for Toyota; Since 2015, in the United States, Ford has been selling its popular F-150 pickup with an aluminum body and tray draped over a high-strength steel frame. The company claimed a weight reduction of over 300kg in the process.
Combined with the diesel engine option, the aluminum-clad F-150 became the first full-size American pickup to beat the magic target of 30 miles per gallon (about 8.5 liters per 100 km based on ‘an American gallon).
Obviously, the improved fuel economy is the big advantage of this reduced curb mass, and one that will hopefully result in the LC300 in real life conditions.
Rust resistance will also be a by-product of switching to aluminum panels, as this material, unlike steel, does not rust.
But the aluminum will oxidize. And the process takes place quickly, because aluminum has a high affinity for oxygen, which triggers the corrosion process.
The good news is that once the entire surface of a piece of aluminum has bonded (reacted) with the oxygen it is exposed to, it forms a hard surface layer and then the process stops. .
It may still require repairs over a painted finish, but a corroded pegboard is much less likely.
However, it’s also important to remember that the structure of the new LandCruiser is indeed steel, so a trip along a beach at low tide will always require careful cleaning afterwards.
There is also another major reason not to fear this new material technology: An aluminum body on a steel frame has been a successful off-road construction method since the late 1940s.
Designed just after WWII, British engineers resorted to aluminum body panels for the Land Rover, due to a shortage of steel at the time (most of which had been pulled or dropped from aircraft in general direction of Germany).
But the British military aviation industry was flush with aluminum, which led to the decision to specify the Land Rover with its aluminum panels.
The Range Rover followed suit in 1969 with the same successful construction technique, and the die was cast.