The frame of your car is like it’s skeleton: it gives it shape and is also likely to absorb a significant amount of impact during a collision. Any time you are in an auto collision, there is the possibility of a bent car frame.
The good news is that trained technicians with the proper tools can repair your bent car frame. Read on for a breakdown from the experts at CBS Collision on how to check for a bent car frame, the symptoms of a bent car frame, and bent car frame repair costs.
Types of Car Frames
There are two main types of car frames: unibody frames and ladder frames.
Older vehicles typically use the ladder frame, while more modern cars utilize a unibody frame. Both types of frame are equally likely to experience bent frames. However, unibody frames usually have impact-absorbing crumble zones, which save lives. Though saving lives is obviously the objective, it does mean that even low-speed low-impact collisions can result in frame damage on a unibody frame.
How To Check For A Bent Car Frame
If you’ve recently been in a collision, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for frame damage. The best way to check for frame damage is to get your car checked out by a professional.
However, it is possible to check yourself. The first thing you should do is visually inspect the exterior and underneath the car. Extensive frame damage is usually quite visible.
If no frame damage is visible, that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. Pay attention to any unusual sounds the car is making, signs of bad alignment, uneven wear on the tires, suspension, and shocks.
Bent Car Frame Symptoms
If you have a bent car frame, your vehicle will likely begin exhibiting some of the following symptoms:
- Frame is visibly bent or damaged. This is, of course, the most obvious sign that you have a bent car frame. Look for rust, cracks, or creases in your car frame or on the exterior of your vehicle. Be sure to stay safe, but if you can do so, get underneath your car and look for any damage on the bottom of the frame.
- Car alignment is off. If your car is pulling in one direction after the collision, it’s a sign that your frame is bent. If you’ve had an alignment done and the car is still pulling, get your car frame checked.
- Unusual car noises. When car frames bend it can cause creaking, squeaking, or other noises. The sounds can come from any part of the car, on the front, either side or the rear.
- Uneven shock and suspension wear. If you’re dealing with a bent car frame your shocks and suspension will wear unevenly. This is because the bent car frame will distribute weight unevenly when you are driving, placing more wear on one side of your car than the other.
- Uneven tire wear. If your frame is bent it can affect the suspension and alignment which will naturally cause uneven tire wear. If you have your tires rotated regularly and are still experiencing issues with uneven tire wear, it’s likely you have a bent car frame.
- Parts don’t fit correctly. The doors, windows, bolts, and mounts are the places you should check for a bent car frame. Like we mentioned before, the frame is like the skeleton of the vehicle, and if it is bent, these other parts will have too little or too much room and will show signs of stress and damage.
- Wheels track poorly. If you’re driving in a straight line but your car is diagonal, you’ve got a bent frame. Some people call it crab-walking or dog walking when a car does this. Vehicles should always be straight when you are driving in a straight line, not angled to either side.
Can You Drive A Car With A Bent Frame?
Well, you possibly can, but a better question is if you should drive a car with a bent frame. The answer to that question is no.
While a car may still be aligned well enough to go in a straight line if the frame damage isn’t particularly severe, remember: the frame is like the skeleton of your car. It is designed to absorb impact. If you get into another collision with a frame that is already bent, it will not be able to absorb impact and protect you as it was designed to do. This could cause severe damage to your car and possible injury to its occupants.
Can A Bent Car Frame Be Fixed?
Frame damage can absolutely be prepared by trained technicians with the proper tools and machines.
These machines use immense force to push your frame back into place. However, there are situations where the frame damage is so severe that your insurance is forced to total the car. In those situations, this is usually the best outcome, as severe frame damage can compromise the safety of the vehicle regardless of any attempts to repair it.
Bent Frame Repair Cost
The cost to repair a car frame depends entirely on the level of damage. A fender bender in the mall parking lot may cost you less than $1000 without insurance or paint repair. If the damage is more serious and requires core frame straightening, the repairs will be significantly more extensive and cost more.
Do You Suspect A Bent Car Frame? Call CBS Collision!
CBS Collision is a full-service collision repair shop capable of repairing any type of vehicle. CBS Collision specializes in auto body repair and painting, hail damage repair, paint-less dent repair, auto detailing, glass repair and glass replacement.
Don’t let your car be a roadblock for you. Get in touch with CBS Collision today. For your convenience, CBS Collision has three locations ready to serve you, or you can use the estimate tool to send photos straight to CBS Collision for your estimate.