The damage a car sustains in an accident isn’t always apparent. After all, a dented door from being T-boned could be purely cosmetic, or it could impair the function of the door. Worse, the entire frame of the car may be bent. Even low-speed impacts can damage car frames because impact-absorbing crumple zones are built into newer frames with the intent of saving lives.
It may still be possible to drive a car with a misaligned frame, but you do so at your own risk. After all, much of the vehicle’s structural integrity could be compromised. If you get into a serious collision with a bent frame, you risk more severe damage to the car and a greater potential for injuries. For this reason, you should seek frame straightening as soon as possible.
The best way to check for a bent frame is to take your car to a local auto body repair shop. You may also be able to spot a bent frame by watching for these warning signs.
Visible Damage on the Exterior of the Car
The first place to check is the outside of the car. Walk around it and look for creases or cracks in the exterior. If these areas are rusted, it could mean a bent frame has been ignored for a while. Next, look under the car. Lift it on a secure jack and crawl beneath the vehicle to check for visible parts of the frame under the chassis. Look for bent or cracked sections that indicate damage.
Parts Not Aligning Properly
A warped frame may prevent moving parts of the vehicle from aligning properly. The doors may refuse to shut, even if there are no visible problems with the latches, and the windows may get stuck when they roll up and down. Other bolted and mounted items may also show signs of stress or damage.
A bent frame throws off the balance of an evenly weighted vehicle, placing additional stress on one side. One symptom of this is excessive vibration that seems worse on one side of the car than the other.
Uneven Shock and Suspension Wear
Throwing off the weight of a vehicle also puts additional strain on the shocks and suspension system—but only in some places. If you notice that these components are wearing out unevenly, have your frame checked.
Vehicle Pulling to One Side
A bent frame causes wheel alignment issues. Here’s an easy way to test your alignment: pull onto a straight stretch of road and slowly take your hands off the wheel. If the car pulls to one side, this means the wheels are misaligned. Try having the wheels realigned at an auto body shop. If the mechanic can’t fix the problem, ask them to check the frame.
Unusual Noises When Driving
Listen for new creaking, squeaking, or other unusual noises that weren’t there before your recent accident. The sounds may come from anywhere in the car, depending on where the frame is bent.
Increased Tire Wear
Tires may wear out unevenly for many reasons, including a bent frame. If you rotate your tires regularly, but they are still wearing unevenly, have your frame checked. Ignoring this problem raises the cost of replacing your tires and could increase the risk of a blowout.
When in doubt, bring your car to B&L Automotive Repairs, an auto body repair shop in Chicago, IL. Our knowledgeable mechanics can determine if the frame bent in a recent collision. Then, we can perform professional frame straightening to help your car drive normally and dependably once more.
To request information about frame straightening and other collision services, please contact us online or call (773) 463-1622. You can also drop your car by our shop today to receive a repair estimate.