After an accident, you may notice a lot of visible damage to your vehicle such as glass cracks or chipped paint. But often, the most serious damage done by a collision is not so easy to spot.
For example, issues with the frame can make your car unsafe to drive without ever leaving a visible mark. These structural issues can be caused by any accident, from moderate to severe.
Even if you choose not to repair the cosmetic damage caused by an accident, you must consider the structural problems that could be hiding underneath dents and dings. In this blog, we list five signs that your vehicle may have a bent frame.
- Bent Undercarriage
You may not see the structural damage to your vehicle at a distance, especially if the collision you were involved in was relatively minor. However, you may be able to spot the damage by checking underneath your vehicle.
Use a flashlight to get a clear picture of what the undercarriage looks like after the accident. If you notice warped sections, the frame likely sustained significant damage. You should also check if your muffler and other under-vehicle components are intact, as damage to these parts can provide clues about the state of the frame.
- Ill-Fitting Doors
As you assess your vehicle after a collision, take the time to open and close the doors, the trunk and the hood. Extensive frame damage can change the way that the moving pieces fit into the frame.
If you have a bent frame, you may notice these parts catching, groaning or shifting on their hinges when you try to close them. If the frame has bent too far, you may not be able to close the doors, trunk or hood once you have opened them. Do not attempt to drive a car with this level of damage. Instead, call a company to have it towed.
You may also want to evaluate your wheels, as frame damage may have changed the direction that they point. Any obvious tilt to the wheels indicates the need for professional repairs.
- Poor Handling
The handling of your vehicle depends on the relationship between your tires’ positions, your vehicle frame’s position and the road itself. The importance of this relationship is one of the reasons why wheel misalignment can be so serious if left unaddressed.
If you have a bent frame, your vehicle can become difficult to maneuver, especially when you need to navigate through turns. If your steering changes after an accident or your handling seems less precise, the issue may stem from invisible structural damage that has affected the alignment of your tires.
If you suspect that your vehicle’s handling has reached unsafe levels, do not attempt to drive it. Instead, have the vehicle towed to your preferred auto body shop for evaluation.
- Scraping Noises
Whenever an automotive component shifts into an incorrect position, one of the first signs of this alteration can be a change in the noises the car makes when operated. If your vehicle has sustained structural damage, parts of the frame may now hang down, touch the tires or otherwise interfere with driving.
In this case, you will likely hear scraping or scratching noises when you drive. These noises can sometimes stem from localized damage to a component like your exhaust pipe, but in most cases, collision damage to any part of your undercarriage has likely affected the entire structure to some degree.
- Uneven Door Openings
If the frame has not shifted far enough to keep the moving parts from operating, you may still be able to detect the damage by looking at your doors. If you suspect frame damage but haven’t noticed any of the other signs on this list, grab a measuring tape.
Measure the door openings on each side of your vehicle. Each opening should have the exact same measurements as its correlating opening on the other side. If the driver’s side door opening is now narrower or shorter than the passenger side door opening, your vehicle has a structural issue.
If you notice any of the signs listed above, have your vehicle evaluated by a reputable auto body shop. Even if your vehicle still drives after a collision, the frame may have suffered extensive damage that will require professional repairs if you intend to continue driving your vehicle.
Vehicle frames that have been bent in the past may crumple in unpredictable ways in future accidents, making these auto bodies dangerous to those inside the vehicle unless they are properly straightened and reinforced.
If you need a reputable auto body repair shop to fix the structural damage done to your car, Central Body Company, Inc., can help. Whether you drive a sedan, truck, or semi, their frame straightening capabilities can get your vehicle back in working order quickly.