How Do I Know If My Car Frame Is Bent?

By in Auto Body Repair with 3 Comments

To check if your car frame is bent pay attention to if it takes additional force to close your car doors or if there is uneven space at door openings.

Auto collisions are frightening both during and after worrying about repairing your car. A bent car frame is a possibility during collisions.

The good news is that a bent car frame can be repaired by trained techs with the right tools.

In this post we’ll show you how to check for a bent car frame, symptoms, and repair costs.

How To Check For Frame Damage

If you’ve just been in the collision, it’s important to take care of yourself first and worry about the car’s condition later.  The best way to check for a bent car frame is getting it checked by professional frame straightening at your local auto body repair shop.

To check for damage yourself you should visually inspect the vehicle both on the exterior and under the car.  Pay attention to unusual sounds, bad alignment, uneven wear in the tires, suspension, and shocks.  Read more about bent car frame symptoms below.

Bent Car Frame Symptoms

If the collision bent your car’s frame pay attention to the following symptoms.

Frame is visibly bent or damaged

The easiest thing to check for is also a sign of the worst damage to your frame.  Take a walk around your car and pay attention to signs of rust, cracks, or creases in the frame or exterior.  Next get under your vehicle, safely, and look for signs of damage on the frame’s bottom.

Car alignment is off

If your car is pulling in one direction after the collision it’s a sign that your frame is likely bent.  If you’ve had an alignment done and it still isn’t running in a straight line, get your frame checked.

Unusual car noises

When car frames bend it can cause creaking, squeaking, or other unusual noises.  The sounds can come from either side, front, and rear.  If you’ve heard any of these unusual noises you should get your frame checked by an auto body shop.

Uneven shock & suspension wear

If the frame is bent your shocks and suspension will wear unevenly.  The sides where additional weight is being distributed by the bent frame will wear more quickly.  You can check your shocks and suspension components for uneven wear.  If you see signs of this, get your frame checked.

Uneven tire wear

If your frame is bent it can affect the suspension and alignment which will cause uneven tire wear.  If you are keeping up with your tire rotations and still experiencing uneven tire wear it might be a sign that the frame is bent.

Parts don’t fit correctly

The doors, windows, bolts, and mounts are places to check for a bent frame.  The frame is the foundation of everything in the vehicle. If it is bent these other parts and components will have too little or too much room and show signs of stress or damage.

Wheels track poorly

If you’re driving straight forward but your car is diagonal, you’ve got a bent frame. Some call it crab walking or dog walking when the vehicle does this.  Vehicles should always be straight when driving in a straight line, not angled to either side and still moving forward.

Can You Drive A Car With A Bent Frame?

You can drive a vehicle with a bent frame if the vehicle is still aligned well and it will drive in a straight line, but at your own risk.  If you’re in another collision with a bent frame much of the vehicle’s strength could be compromised.  This could result in much more serious damage and potential injuries to occupants.

Can A Bent Car Frame Be Fixed?

Yes, bent car frames can be fixed.  They are fixed by trained auto body repair technicians with highly precise tools and hydraulic machines.  These machines use immense force to push your frame back into being true and like your car’s manufacturer designed.  There are situations where the damage is so severe that the cost to repair forces your insurance company to total the vehicle.  This is especially true if after the repairs the safety of the vehicle is compromised.

Types Of Car Frames

There are two main categories of car frames: unibody frames and ladder frames.  Older vehicles and track cars use the ladder frame while most modern vehicles feature a unibody frame.  Both can experience bent frames.  Unibody frames feature impact absorbing crumple zones which save lives.  While saving lives is the priority it does mean that even lower speed impacts to cause damage to car frames.

Bent Frame Repair Cost

The cost to repair a car frame follows with the severity of the damage.  A simple fender bender at the mall might only run you about $700 dollars without insurance or any paint.  If the damage is more serious and requires core frame straightening and more extensive repairs it will cost more.

Schedule Bent Frame Straightening In Mesa

If you live in the Mesa area and believe your frame has been damaged by an auto collision, we are here to help!  Impact Auto Body in Mesa is your source for reliable, affordable, and professional frame straightening. We repair unibody frames and ladder frames at our shop.

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  1. Yohannes says:

    My car passenger front door needs replacement because I was t boned in an accident some frame bent between fender and door and airbag of passenger is off I need an estimate to fix this.

  2. Thomas Jameson says:

    It’s good to know that you can visually inspect your car to determine if there is any frame damage. My sister was in an accident the other day, and she’s unsure if her car has been damaged. I’ll pass this information along to her so that she can take the car to a collision repair specialist to have it inspected.

  3. Heather Forsman says:

    I have rippling above both back doors on my vehicle. My vehicle was hit from behind with the usual bumper damage and taillight damage. I noticed one of the back doors at the bottom is bent a little outward. So the door closed isn’t smoothly lined up. Is this an indication of frame damage?

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