Types of Car Frame Damage and How They Are Repaired

When you hear back from the auto body shop that your car has frame damage from the accident, you might immediately think that your car is totaled, but with technological advances this may not be the case. We here at Columbia Collision Repairs would like to share our over 40 years of experience with you about what to expect when the frame of your vehicle has been damaged.

What Is the Frame of Your Vehicle?

Car Frame Damage Repair Services in Surrey, BC

The technical term for the frame of your vehicle is the chassis and it is the structural support system of your vehicle. It supports all the mechanical components, car body, and the weight of your vehicle. The frame also protects all the internal parts of the car and the passenger(s) in the event of a collision. There are two types of frames your vehicle may have: unibody or body on frame. The unibody frame is designed to be the frame and body of the car in one unit and are unified to support the entire vehicle. The unibody frame is most commonly found in passenger cars. The body on frame is also known as a ladder frame and is two separate parts bolted together. The body on frame is commonly found in trucks, SUVS, and buses.

What Is Frame Damage?

Frame damage is classified as any damage, to any part of the vehicle, that is intended to support the vehicle’s structural integrity. This damage can be visible hidden from an exterior look at the vehicle, but it is caused by outside forces or from disrepair. Major damage to the frame compromises the main support of the vehicle and can make it too unstable to drive, put other parts of the vehicle at risk, and compromise the safety of the passenger(s). Dents, scratches, and or gouges to the paint are minor frame damage but will not put the passenger(s) at risk.  The cost to repair the frame damage may be more than the value of the car, but if the damage is repairable, the time it will take to fix the damage will depend on the complexity of the repair, if there is any damage found during the initial repair, and the availability of the parts needed for repair.

Types of Car Frame Damage

Even though frame damage is damage to the structural integrity of the vehicle, not all frame damage is created equally. Here are some of the different types of frame damage and what to expect with each type of damage to the frame of your vehicle. These types of frame damage can occur to either a unibody or a body on frame type of frame.

Sagging Frame Damage

Sagging frame damage is when the frame of the vehicle is sagging after an outside force has collided with the vehicle. The result of the collision leaves parts of the frame uneven and can cause gaps that may be visible or hidden. If the gaps are hidden, they are most often found when sections of the vehicle lean in toward the gap. The most common result of a sagging frame is stress to the tires and the coils but can be corrected through the use of a frame straightener.

Twisted Frame Damage

Twisted frame damage is when the unibody or body on frame becomes twisted as a result of a collision between your vehicle and an outside force. A thorough inspection by a trained technician is usually needed to detect twisted frame damage because it doesn’t cause gaps in the vehicle. A twisted frame is most commonly detected when the vehicle is unstable at high speeds or has difficulty in turns and is corrected using a frame straightener. If a twisted frame is not corrected tires and coils will wear faster.

Sway/Corner Frame Damage

Sway frame damage is also known as corner frame damage because it is the result of an impact to the corner of the vehicle. This type of damage most commonly occurs because the driver of the vehicle turns the wheel before impact trying to avoid the collision. The symptoms of sway damage are vibrations and/or rubbing sounds coming from the vehicle as a result of the vehicle not being able to drive in a straight line. Sway damage can be corrected using a computer assisted frame straightener but if sway damage is not corrected the misalignment will cause issues to the transmission.

Mashed Frame Damage

Mashed frame damage is the result of your vehicle being hit head-on or rear-ended and the frame has crumpled in on itself and part of the frame has become shorter than the manufacturer’s specifications. Of the different types of frame damage, mashed frame damage is the most visible because it is indicated by the distortion, or wrinkles, in the hood, fenders, rails, and/or frames. Mashed frame damage can not be repaired but the section of the frame that was damaged must be replaced. This is not a cost-effective fix and left unattended will cause serious wear and tear on the rest of the vehicle and put the passenger(s) of the vehicle in danger.

Columbia Collision Repairs Ltd. has delivered extraordinary automotive body repairs and collision repair services in Surrey, British Columbia since our family-owned ICBC accredited body shop opened in 1981. We take pride in performing the finest auto repair services in the area, guaranteeing that our customers are happy, and their cars look pristine. Our staff comprises 10 trained and certified auto body repair specialists who operate within our 10,500-square-foot body shop in Surrey, BC. With the ability to perform comprehensive car body repairs on a wide array of vehicles, we are proud to be your preferred collision repair shop in the Lower Mainland. We will work with your insurance company to have your damage repaired. Fill out the contact form below for us to contact you, or call us today to learn more about our range of auto body and collision repair services.