Many types of vehicle damage are easy to identify, even if you don't have experience in the automotive industry. For example, any driver can observe the signs that a windshield needs replacement or a paint job requires restoration.
However, many of the most serious types of vehicle damage can appear completely invisible unless you know exactly what to look for. One of the most potentially dangerous and most difficult-to-detect issues that can develop after a collision is a bent frame.
Frame straightening services can often correct this problem, but first you must identify the need for these repairs. In this blog, we list six common indicators that point to a bent frame.
1. Abnormal Tracking
One of the signs of a bent frame that you may notice first is a change in the way your vehicle handles. Specifically, a bent frame can cause your wheels to drive slightly sideways rather than perfectly straight ahead.
You may be able to identify this symptom just by looking at your tire tracks. Normal tire tracks progress in straight lines, while tracks made by vehicles with frame damage may appear to "crab walk" sideways.
2. Altered Vehicle Noises
While many automotive conditions can change the way your vehicle sounds when you use it, certain noises can point to frame warping, especially when combined with the other signs listed in this blog.
After a collision, listen for metallic screeching or squeaking when you drive. In many cases, sounds caused by a bent frame will be confined to one side of the car or another.
3. Engine Component Damage
When your vehicle's frame shifts, you may not see the change at a distance, but the change in alignment can affect even the smallest parts of your vehicle. If you think your car frame could've bent in a recent accident, pop your hood.
Frame damage often snaps bolts, disconnects components, and causes other small-scale damage in the engine block.
4. Ill-Fitting Doors
Your car is manufactured to fit together perfectly. Whenever a moving part seems not to line up perfectly, the issue may point to frame damage. The most common version of this problem comes in the form of ill-fitting doors.
If your car doors stick or require manual adjustment to close fully, the root of the problem likely involves the frame. If your doors, hood, or trunk don't operate at all after an accident, assume that you have a frame issue and seek repairs as soon as possible.
5. Wheel Misalignment
In addition to changes in wheel tracking, a bent frame can also completely change wheel alignment. If your wheels go out of alignment, you will likely notice a host of handling issues, such as the steering wheel pulling to one side or the car easily drifting off course.
When you bring your car in for an alignment service, let the technician know if there's any possibility that the frame has bent. If the frame is misshapen, your alignment will likely go right back out after the service unless you address the underlying frame issue.
6. Visible Undercarriage Damage
While most incidents of vehicle frame damage aren't particularly visible at the angles you usually approach your car from, a different perspective may reveal changes that you can actually see.
After a collision, use a flashlight to inspect your undercarriage. If the incident bent the frame, you may notice obvious bends or other forms of warping across the undercarriage.
If you notice any combination of the signs of a bent frame listed above, bring your car in for professional frame straightening as soon as possible to minimize the safety and performance risks associated with frame issues.For comprehensive auto body services, including frame straightening, trust Dublin Auto Body.