Cast aluminum alloys are promising materials that can simplify the manufacturing process of automobile body structures. However, the low ductility of cast aluminum poses significant challenges to existing riveting technologies. In the present work, dissimilar AA6061-T6 aluminum alloy and Al–Si7Mg cast aluminum were joined by self-piercing riveting (SPR) and friction self-piercing riveting (F-SPR) processes to reveal the effect of friction heat on rivetability of low-ductility cast aluminum alloys. The joint macro-morphology, microstructure, peak tooling force, microhardness distribution, tensile-shear, and cross-tension performance of the two processes were comparatively studied. Results indicated that the in-situ softening effect of friction heat in the F-SPR process could effectively improve the ductility of cast aluminum, avoid cracking, and reduce the tooling force by 53%, compared to the SPR process. The severe plastic deformation and friction heat induced by rivet rotation results in refined equiaxed grains of aluminum near the rivets and solid-state bonding between aluminum sheets in the rivet cavity. The F-SPR joints are superior to SPR joints in both tensile-shear and cross-tension performance due to the avoidance of cracking, increase of mechanical interlocking, and solid-state bonding of interfaces. Significantly, when Al–Si7Mg is placed on the lower layer, the peak tensile-shear and cross-tension loads of the F-SPR joints are 7.2% and 45.5% higher than the corresponding SPR joints, respectively.