Is My Car’s Frame Damaged?
You’ve Been in an Accident… is There Frame Damage?
Being involved in an accident isn’t fun at all. Depending on the severity of the collision, there are a lot of things that you need to pay attention to. While some damage may be superficial, other damage may affect much more than you realize.
Here are a few ways to determine if your vehicle’s frame has been damaged in a wreck. If you’re buying a used vehicle, and you aren’t sure, you can check these items before making your purchase.
Visual Tilt or Lean
Park your car on a flat surface, preferably in a parking space that has clearly defined lines. Make sure it’s in there nice and straight. Now step back and look at the vehicle.
Does it appear to lean to the right or the left? Does it seem that the front wheels aren’t perfectly in line with the rear wheels? If either of these are the case, you might be suffering from frame damage, or at least some sort of damage not visible otherwise.
When vehicles are manufactured, they are supposed to fit together tight. Your doors have little clearance, but they’re crafted so well they shouldn’t stick, bump, or rub when opening.
Swing open all of the doors and notice if they are difficult to open, rub, or bump. If they’re all good, check the trunk and the hood. If there is frame damage, the hinged devices won’t work quite as well as they should, and the vehicle’s frame needs to be looked at.
Between the doors, hood, and trunk there should be small gaps. These are necessary so they can open properly. But the gaps should be fairly even. For instance, on the driver’s side of the hood the gap should be the same width as on the passenger side. The same goes for the driver’s side door and the passenger side door.
After the frame has been damaged, you will notice that at least some of the gaps are no longer even. It’s reasonable to expect that the area that was hit won’t line up, but if you were hit in the back quarter panel, and now your hood gaps don’t line up, there was likely damage that rippled through the vehicle.
Here’s an easy test to see if the vehicle you just purchased has some underlying issues. Have the wheels aligned. Over time (when you hit bumps and just regular driving) the alignment will get off kilter. After a wreck, the vehicle will need aligned as well.
A vehicle with frame damage will be difficult, if not impossible, to align. So if you’re wondering if the previous owner isn’t disclosing a major wreck, check to see if the wheels are aligned properly. If they’re not, it’s a good chance that they can’t be due to an accident.
Big Sky Collision Center Fixes Cars
Here at Big Sky Collision our goal is to be the best auto body shop in Billings, in Montana, and in the entire region. That means doing the repairs the right way to ensure that you drive off with a vehicle that has been completely restored to factory safety standards. If your frame is damaged, and it can be fixed, we won’t shortcut the method; it will be fixed the right way.
Need to schedule a time to bring your vehicle in? Call us at 406-259-6328 to make an appointment.