A Crooked Old Car
September 27, 2016
A bent frame can be very hard to identify for an untrained eye, though over time a vehicle with a damaged frame will show certain signs of indicative wear and tear. But be aware that some of these things can also be caused from other issues, and at the end of the day, you should always have your body shop and mechanic do a full inspection for you.
So what can you do yourself to try to spot damage to a frame?
Check for Visible Damage
If you’re in a position to do so, crawl under the car and look for rust, damage or creases or unusual angles in the metal frame. If you spot anything, make a note of it and have your body shop or mechanic check it out.
Check the Alignment and Tracking of Wheels
If the car has a bent frame, it will pull in one direction or the other. In a safe area (like an empty parking lot), while going very slow, take your hands off the wheel and see if you get a drift in one direction or another.
Then, with the wheels, and if you have someone with you, have them stand outside the vehicle (again in a safe area) to watch how the vehicle handles as you drive in a straight line. If the wheels are off, they’ll not track properly and give the effect of slightly sideways movement. You can also eyeball it, watching how the tires are aligning as the vehicle moves forward.
If your frame is bent, you’ll also have increased wear and tear on the side where the weight or force is placed.
Gaps and Misalignment of Parts
With a bent frame the parts and pieces of your vehicle will also become misaligned. Inspect the doors and panels – if there are gaps or if they’re not working properly, it’s very likely the frame is damaged. Smaller parts like bolts may also break because of the added strain a bent frame causes.
These issues and others offer a strong indication that your frame is misaligned or bent. If you think you have an issue with your frame, bring it in to your body shop or mechanic immediately. Better to get it fixed early and avoid bigger issues, than assuming it’s not a big deal and running into big repairs.
The material contained in this newsletter is for informational purposes only and is based on sources believed to be reliable and authoritative. However, this information has not been independently verified by us. This newsletter should not be construed as offering professional advice.
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