In the interest of lighter weight and fuel efficiency, certain body panels in new cars and trucks are made with composite (read that plastic) materials. For example, my current SUV has a hood, tailgate, front fenders and front doors made from composite materials. Oddly, the rear doors are made from steel. The discrepancy in materials between front and rear doors may have something to do with achieving a 50-50 weight balance in the vehicle — at least that’s the best that I can guess.
And as you might suspect, these composite materials may be good a saving weight, but they lack a little in durability.
Take, for example, a lawsuit filed by a Pecos, NM, man in 2012 against his neighbor. The suit alleged that his neighbor’s dog, in a fit of unexplained rage, had ripped off a rear quarter panel and part of a bumper on his Volvo. There were identifying tooth marks and canine blood found on the body panels that had been mangled.
The cost to repair the wounded Volvo was $2,000.
Volvos used to have a reputation as super-safe vehicles, some models even carrying a $1 million insurance policy if anyone was killed in a crash involving the Swedish car. Now maybe the owners need to carry additional insurance to protect their vehicles from the aftermath of a dog bite.