2018 Ford F-150 red back view with a load being placed in the bed

Is buying a used aluminum F-150 a bad idea?

When did the Ford F-150 switch to aluminum?

You may have heard that Ford was switching to aluminum for many of the components in the F-150. When did the Ford F-150 switch to aluminum? If you usually buy used, then this news didn’t affect you much at the time, but now you may be more curious about it, and you may want to know how to tell if an F-150 uses aluminum. We made a guide that can help you out.

How to tell if an F-150 has aluminum construction?

The easiest way to tell if an F-150 utilizes aluminum predominately in its construction is simply by the model year. The first F-150 models to have aluminum body panels came with the thirteenth generation design which first debuted on the 2015 model year. All models 2015 and newer have aluminum construction.

2018 Ford F-150 gray front view with rectangular fog lights

If this is your first look at a particular F-150 and you don’t know what year it is, there is another easy way to tell. For the 2015 model year and years after, the headlights and grille were significantly changed. Unfortunately, the design is still evolving so they don’t give you a clear indicator of the thirteenth generation F-150, but the fog lights do.

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On the twelfth generation F-150 models the fog lights were round, on the thirteenth generation F-150 with the aluminum construction, the fog lights are rectangular. This rule doesn’t hold true if you go to earlier F-150 models like the eleventh and tenth generation, but those should be pretty recognizable as older models.

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2018 Ford F-150 blue putting a boat in the waterIs aluminum in a truck a bad?

Though aluminum is strong, it isn’t as strong as steel, which is why the F-150 still utilizes a steel frame to provide strength and allow for great towing capability. So why use aluminum at all then? Aluminum is both lightweight and strong. By utilizing aluminum through the body of the F-150, Ford was able to save 750 pounds of weight. This means more efficiency and more capability.

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What’s more, though aluminum does rust, it doesn’t rust like steel. When steel rusts it turns orange and flakes off exposing more steel. This is how you get rust holes. When aluminum rusts or oxidizes, it turns whitish and actually protects the metal underneath it. Aluminum will not lose its integrity by being exposed to the elements like steel. For all of these reasons, soon all trucks will likely be employing aluminum throughout their construction. Ford was just the first to do so, and they took some flack for pioneering in this regard.

Used Ford F-150 in Redding