Many auto body shops refuse to fix a bent car frame. They want to focus on easy jobs like minor dents, so repair costs stay down and their repair bays empty quickly. Structural damage on a car can be daunting to repair! 

If you have more than minor damage and you need a major frame repair, an experienced auto repair shop is what you need to seek out. Collision repairs can cost thousands of dollars, and the costs of repair can include considerable hours of skilled labor. 

The technicians here at Newark Autobody Collision and Glass know how to repair a wide range of major damage like a bent frame. We have specialized tools and understand how to spot signs of damage that may not be apparent to the owner. We understand the types of damages that can result from a collision, such as strange sounds and vibrations. We have all the advanced equipment on hand, like specialized framing machines. Our shop is fully equipped to make your car safe again.

Even if you’re not local to Newark, Ohio, you need to find a quality autobody shop to repair auto body damage, great or small. After all, your car is an investment you should protect, and not just for its value.

A safe repair means safer passengers. In the end, that’s the most important thing.

The truth about modern car frames

The frame of a car serves as structural support, providing strength and stability, particularly in the event of an accident. The frame design is crafted with precision according to safety standards. When there is any compromise to the integrity of this system, it is known as “frame damage.” This term is inclusive and can apply to any part of the frame.

In the past, before modern unibody car frames became popular, a damaged frame was often seen as irreparable or not worth repairing. During that time, ladder frames were the most common. In contrast to modern frames, frames from the past were highly durable, making them resistant to bending unless the collision was significant.

Car frames are now being designed with a focus on safety and the preservation of life, rather than solely prioritizing sturdiness. This sacrifices your car’s structural integrity to protect the people in the car. While costly frame and body repairs are unwelcome, the most important thing is that the people inside walk away unharmed if possible. 

To do this, modern unibody frames contain ‘crumple zones‘ that are specifically designed to absorb impact energy, prioritizing the safety of passengers. As a result, there is a higher likelihood of frame damage in these cars compared to older ones, even in low-speed collisions.

When is a car totaled from frame damage?

Insurance companies determine if a vehicle should be declared a total loss based on the various types of frame damage, as it is a common occurrence. This is usually determined by a cost comparison analysis of the severe damage, where the cost of the labor and parts is compared to the value of the car. If the repair would cost more than replacing the car, the insurance provider will often total the car. 

The extent of damage need not be great for this to happen, and it won’t always involve visible damage. If an insurance adjuster determines that minor frame damage compromises the entire vehicle significantly, a vehicle that looks sound to the uninformed eye may be totaled.

What are the consequences of driving a car with a bent frame?

When a car has a bent frame, it can cause the alignment to be off, making it difficult to control the vehicle. An improper wheel alignment can result in the car pulling to one side and increase the risk of a car accident if the driver cannot maintain a proper grip on the wheel.

When operating the vehicle, vibrations can be felt and may lead to driveshaft problems. Furthermore, another concern that may arise is the misalignment of the car’s wheels, causing accelerated wear and tear and potentially expensive repairs. 

If the driver risks operating this unsound car, an insurance claim made after a collision may be rejected. The responsible party could be left holding a massive personal injury or repair bill. it is vital that even minor frame repairs are addressed immediately.

The average cost for a car alignment is $100. It is recommended by professionals that aligning your car should be a regular maintenance practice in order ensure safe driving. It is suggested that this be done every 2-3 years and whenever new tires are installed.

How to Spot Signs of Car Frame Damage

If you’ve been involved in a minor crash and don’t want to involve your insurance company or spend money on a body shop evaluation, you may be able to determine frame damage yourself. Here are a few things to look for while operating your vehicle in the coming days and weeks.

Unusual tire wear. Although it will take longer to develop, strange, abnormal, or uneven tire wear can be a sign of frame damage. If you observe that the rear wheels do not align with the front wheels when driving straight, it could indicate a bent frame. This means that your vehicle is slightly traversing sideways, resembling the movement of a crab.

  • Poorly fitting panels and parts. If you suddenly notice the seams around the doors, trunk, hood, and so forth are no longer consistent or even, the frame may be damaged. This includes doors that suddenly stick or don’t close smoothly.
  • Misaligned steering. If you observe that your steering is consistently pulling to one side after an alignment, it would be advisable to inspect for any potential frame damage.
  • Strange noises. If a car has been involved in a crash and there are unusual noises while driving, it is possible that these noises could be a sign of frame damage, especially if other warning signs are present.

Conduct a visual inspection of your vehicle, carefully examining for any damage or stress to the frame. Even a minor collision has the potential to cause significant frame damage.

Types of Frame Damage

Twisted Frame

A twisted frame can be difficult to detect, but one indicator is the presence of gaps in the body. This can cause the car to lean in a particular direction and lead to accelerated wear on the coils and tires. Additionally, instability at higher speeds can be another indication.

Mash Damage

Rear-end or head-on collisions can cause mash damage to a vehicle, resulting in the frame compacting and becoming shorter than before. One drawback of mash damage is its potential occurrence even in low-speed collisions.

Sway Damage

A simple way to determine if you have sway damage is if your car tends to drift to the left or right, rather than driving in a straight line. Side impact damage occurs when a vehicle is struck on the corner or t-boned. This results in the frame bending to the left or right. 

How to Fix a Bent Car Frame

Repairing a bent car frame should be done by professionals. Specialized equipment is available to provide the necessary force to move the metal back into place. A reputable shop will also have technology to accurately measure frame alignment issues using lasers, ensuring that the frame is restored to safe, factory-intended measurements.

A common method used by body shops to repair a car frame and body damage is the utilization of a hydraulic machine. This equipment is capable of exerting significant pressure, surpassing human capabilities, to effectively realign the sturdy material.

The shop utilizes a range of pulleys and anchors to exert pressure on the frame, based on the car’s condition and type of damage. This includes pulling posts, frame straighteners, and floor anchors. Distinct equipment is employed for twisted frame damage and crumple damage. Bringing your damaged car to a collision repair shop that has experience working with bent frames is advantageous since they are more likely to have the precise tools to repair your vehicle.

It is not recommended to attempt to repair a bent car frame by yourself. Doing so may cause further damage, and driving a car with an improperly aligned frame means that in the event of another collision, your vehicle is not prepared to distribute the force correctly. This could lead to injuries for you, more extensive damage to your car, and potential legal troubles.

The Bottom Line

If you experience a collision which results in vehicle frame damage, find skilled collision repair service providers. Common auto body repair shops may not be able to handle extensive car-accident repairs and leave your safety features functional. 

If you get in a minor accident, look for alarming signs like gaps in the car body, odd sounds and vibrations. Immediately take your car to an auto body repair technician who can accurately assess the entire structure and damage costs.

Ohio Drivers: Contact Newark Autobody for Your Auto Body Repair

This article is provided to consumers by Newark Autobody Collision and Glass, LLC. If you are in Ohio and looking for quality auto body shops ‘near me’, we are here to help you.

Newark Autobody Collision and Glass
977 Mount Vernon Road
Newark, Ohio 43055

Phone: (740) 899-4111
Fax: (740) 888-3500

Newark Autobody Collision and Glass LLC