The Mystery of Tesla Aftermarket Hoods: Are They Truly Made of Aluminum?

Tesla, known for its cutting-edge electric vehicles, has a growing market for aftermarket hoods. These hoods are often advertised as aluminum, but are they truly made of this lightweight and durable metal? In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of Tesla aftermarket hoods to uncover the truth behind their materials and construction.

As Tesla cars gain popularity, so does the demand for aftermarket parts and accessories. Among these, aftermarket hoods stand out and become the latest business opportunities for Tesla repair shops and Tesla parts importers. These hoods are marketed as lightweight, durable, and often advertised as aluminum – a material known for its strength-to-weight ratio and corrosion resistance.

However, the question arises: Are these aftermarket hoods truly made of aluminum? While many manufacturers claim to use aluminum in their hood construction, some skeptics question the authenticity of these claims. Reports have surfaced suggesting that some aftermarket hoods may not be entirely aluminum, leading to speculation and confusion among Tesla parts repair shops and automotive parts importers.

While we all know that Tesla’s original hoods are made of aluminum alloy, many aftermarket Tesla hoods are not entirely composed of aluminum material. But the facts are complicated. There have several models of hoods in the aftermarket.

The Mystery of Tesla Aftermarket Hoods: Are They Truly Made of Aluminum?
The Mystery of Tesla Aftermarket Hoods: Are They Truly Made of Aluminum?

1. Full Steel Tesla Hoods.

These hoods are heavy but inexpensive because iron is much cheaper than aluminum, and iron has a much higher density than aluminum. These hoods were prevalent in the early 2022 market because many consumers and traders were unfamiliar with the material properties of Tesla body parts and were often misled. However, very few factories produce these hoods now; they are almost discontinued. These hoods are also easy to identify through methods such as weighing and using a magnet test.

2. Aluminum in the outside panel, Steel in the inside panel, and small parts.

As consumer awareness grows, repair shops and parts traders have observed a gradual decline in the market for all-iron hoods. Some factories have begun developing hoods with aluminum alloy outer panels and iron inner panels and internal reinforcements. This approach can reduce costs while mitigating the risk of detection by customers to some extent since they often only use magnet tests to inspect the hood’s outer panel. The identification methods for these hoods are still straightforward, relying on weight measurement and magnet testing, albeit with a more comprehensive approach during inspection.

3. Aluminum in both outside panels and inside panels, But the inner small parts are Steel.

This is the latest scam in the market, and many repair shops and traders find it challenging to distinguish. Moreover, manufacturers vehemently claim that their hoods are 100% aluminum alloy.

In reality, while the outer and inner panels of these hoods are aluminum, their thickness is approximately 0.8mm, whereas the thickness of the original all-aluminum hood is 1.0mm. This saves a significant amount of cost. Additionally, the reduction in thickness inevitably leads to a decrease in weight. However, the inclusion of iron for small fittings between the inner and outer panels increases the weight. As a result, the total weight of the hood remains almost consistent with the original all-aluminum hood at around 7.5kg.

Is there no way to distinguish? Of course, there is. We can still differentiate through magnet tests and meticulous visual inspections.

Due to the different properties of aluminum and iron, they cannot be directly welded together using traditional welding techniques. Instead, riveting processes are required. However, this method leaves riveting marks on the inner panel of the hood, making it easy to differentiate from original factory hoods.

While magnet testing can still be used for identification, it must be conducted at specific points, such as the hinge and latch areas of the hood, as these are the only areas with internal fittings. Similarly, when inspecting riveting techniques using the first method, focusing on these three areas is essential.

At this point, weighing the hood is no longer suitable.

4. Full Aluminum in all panels and small parts but 0.9mm thick.

There are many hoods made in this manner, where all parts are indeed aluminum alloy, fully complying with the factory’s claims, albeit without specifying the material thickness. While the original hood is made of 1.0mm aluminum alloy, some factories use 0.8mm or 0.9mm aluminum alloy instead. For the same grade of aluminum alloy, every 0.1mm difference in thickness can reduce the cost of one hood by 40-50RMB. The only way to distinguish these hoods is through weighing. A 1.0mm thick hood has a net weight (N.W) of 7.5KG, a 0.9mm thick hood weighs 6.9KG, and a 0.8mm thick hood weighs 6.3KG. However, the market may also use 0.85mm or 0.95mm aluminum materials, resulting in slight variations in weight. Therefore, when negotiating prices with factories, don’t forget to inquire about the specific quality grade of the hood.

5. Full Aluminum in all panels and small parts 1.0 thickness which is the same as OE parts.

Such hoods are of the same quality grade as the original factory hoods, using aluminum of the same thickness as the original factory. Their weight and strength meet the requirements of automotive quality standards. They are considered among the best aftermarket hoods available.

Tesla Model 3 Hood High Version Full Aluminum 1081390E0C 1081390-E0-C
Tesla Aluminum Hoods
TypeDescriptionDistinguishing Features
Full Steel Tesla HoodsHeavy and inexpensive due to iron composition. Common in the early 2022 market but now rare. Easily identified through weighing and magnet tests.Heavy; identifiable by weight and magnet tests.
Aluminum in Outside Panel, Steel Inside PanelOuter panel aluminum, inner panel and small parts steel. Emerging trend as awareness grows. Identifiable by weight and magnet tests, focusing on specific areas.Outer aluminum, inner steel; identified through weight and magnet tests, with focus on specific areas.
Aluminum in Both Panels, Steel Small PartsLatest market scam. Aluminum outer and inner panels, but thin. Iron used for small fittings, maintaining weight. Identified through weight and magnet tests, with thorough inspection required.Aluminum panels, steel fittings; thinner than OEM; weight maintained through iron fittings. Identified through weight and magnet tests, requiring thorough inspection.
Full Aluminum 0.9mm ThickAluminum alloy throughout but thinner than OEM. Cost-saving alternative. Identified by weight.Aluminum alloy; thinner than OEM. Identified by weight.
Full Aluminum 1.0mm ThickEquivalent to OEM in quality. Uses aluminum of OEM thickness. Meets automotive quality standards. Considered among the best aftermarket options.Aluminum alloy; same thickness as OEM. Meets quality standards.

6. Full aluminum is also not the same. AL6061 and AL5182.

Another point to note is that while all hoods are made entirely of aluminum, different aluminum alloy grades may be used. Currently, Tesla hoods in the Chinese market are typically made from the 5000 series aluminum alloy. However, if you have specific requirements, our factory can also produce hoods using the 6000 series aluminum alloy. About the AL6061 and AL5182 you can read this blog.

Is Tesla Hood Aluminum?

When purchasing aftermarket hoods, it’s essential to seek reputable manufacturers known for their commitment to quality assurance. Manufacturers that adhere to strict quality control standards are more likely to deliver aftermarket hoods that meet or exceed expectations. By choosing trusted suppliers, you can ensure they’re investing in high-quality, authentic aluminum hoods and that you can make your business better and better.

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Hi, I'm Lina. Co-founder of ALSETTE.
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We focus on manufacturing metal exterior aftermarket parts for Tesla from China.
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