If you’ve been in an accident that caused your vehicle’s frame to be twisted or otherwise damaged, you may be wondering if the problem is even fixable.
Thankfully, the answer is yes.
While there are some car frame damages that require professional help, there are instances when you can fix the problem yourself in a DIY way.
Many years ago, before contemporary unibody automobile frames were extensively used, a damaged car frame was deemed irreparable.
Or, at the very least, above the “economically viable” repair.
The frame of the cars is now designed in plenty of style focusing on safety and fuel efficiency rather than focusing on a sturdier the better approach.
And in this article, we’ll see what are the different types of car frame damages, how can they be fixed, and what are the different procedures it takes:
4 Types of Frame Damages
The term “bent” is rather broad when it comes to automotive frames.
Depending on the severity of the incident, your vehicle’s frame may have one of the following forms of damage:
1- Minor damage
The collision did not bend the frame, and if it did, the dimensions are within the manufacturer’s specifications.
This type of accident necessitates no maintenance on the frame, only on the automobile body.
2- Sway damage
When your car is hit in a corner, this form of frame damage is prevalent.
It is rather straightforward to notice, but it will require the use of a frame straightener machine to correct.
3- Twisting and sagging
This is a common outcome of a lateral accident.
Depending on the circumstances of the event, this form of damage may be more difficult to identify and hence more expensive to fix.
A straightening machine operated by professional car bodyworkers is used to repair this kind of damage.
4- Crushed frame
If the car is hit squarely in the front or back, its frame may be crushed, causing it to be shorter than previously.
Because contemporary automobiles are engineered with ‘crumple zones,’ this sort of damage is relatively easier to repair by simply replacing the damaged portion.
But, depending on the accident, further repairs, such as straightening the frame, may be required.
The cost of repairs might vary substantially depending on the type of damage.
Which Frame Damages Can You Fix Yourself?
In general, like a wrinkled hood, you should be able to knock things out with minimal effort if your car is minimally damaged.
With the right equipment, you can get better and safer results.
Again, we don’t recommend doing that at home.
In most cases, dents can be easily knocked out and crashed frames can be fixed with pull posts and chains.
But it’s recommended to leave the important metal parts of bending that are essential for proper operation of the car to a specialist.
What Tools to Use for Auto Body Frame Straightening?
The below tools are very important when it comes to straightening the frame and fixing any wear.
They all work in unison to make sure that the car is back to normal and functions properly:
1- Floor Anchor Pots
Anchor pots are used to secure the chain from the vehicle to the floor of the workplace and pull the vehicle when the frame needs repair.
They are easy to install and may be quickly moved and re-installed throughout the business if a different position is required.
Anchor pots with detachable chains are the ideal solution since they protect the anchor pot base from harm.
The length of the chain may also be modified depending on the size of your space.
2- Pulling Posts
These are other useful vehicle frame straightening tools.
These are used to straighten the frame of a bent or damaged car by taking advantage of the vehicle’s natural torque and weight.
Which provides a strong and durable base with a specially designed pulley system to maintain tension in any chain or cable attached to the vehicle and is effective in delivering quality results.
A winch enables the pulling mechanism to be easily raised and lowered.
Depending on the size of the vehicle, height adjustment provides better mobility and weight allowances can reach up to 20 tonnes.
3- Frame Racks
For auto body companies that deal with bigger automobiles, frame racks are a piece of crucial straightening equipment.
Because of the hydraulic pump systems that can return the car to its original dimensions, this equipment can repair substantial vehicle damage with no effort.
4- Frame Straighteners
These are an excellent tool for both auto body companies and skilled home technicians.
They work effectively to repair minimal frame damage on your automobiles and employ a leveraging mechanism similar to the frame rack for straightening.
5- Hooks, Chains, and Clamps
Properly weighted professional equipment makes it much easier to straighten bent car frames.
Chains are a crucial element of pulling, and ensuring that they are properly secured to the vehicle and the source of pulling is critical for correct straightening and safety.
When to Let a Professional Handle the Damaged Car Frames?
It’s risky to drive a car with a bent or broken frame.
Therefore do not ever drive with major damages in your car or truck frames unless you see a professional.
Here are some telltale signs that your car frame needs professional care:
a) Tracking Errors:
Is there a difference in how your car handles? A bent frame, in particular, might cause your wheels to move slightly laterally rather than straight forward.
You may be able to diagnose this condition simply by inspecting your tire tracks.
With this error tracks formed may seem like “crab walk”, although normal tire tracks move in straight lines.
b) Changes in Vehicle Noises:
While numerous automotive situations can affect how your car sounds when you operate it, certain noises, when paired with the other indicators listed above, might indicate frame warping.
When driving after an accident, listen for metallic screaming or squeaking.
Many times, the sounds produced by a bent frame are restricted to one side of the automobile or the other.
c) Engine Component Failure:
When the frame of your car changes, you may not see the difference from a distance, but the change in alignment can damage even the tiniest pieces of your vehicle.
Pop the hood if you suspect your automobile structure was damaged in a recent collision.
Frame damage frequently disconnects components, rips bolts, and causes other minor engine block damage.
d) Inadequately Fitting Doors:
Your vehicle is designed to fit together perfectly.
When a moving item does not appear to line up correctly, the problem might be due to frame damage.
The most prevalent manifestation of this issue is ill-fitting doors.
If your automobile doors cling or require manual adjustment to shut completely, the frame is most likely to blame.
If your doors, hood, or trunk do not operate at all after an accident, presume you have a frame problem and you need to get it fixed as soon as possible.
Above are some serious signs that you should not wait any longer to get professional care for your car frames.
A damaged car frame is not only dangerous to you and your loved ones but also to other innocent people on the road since you no longer have full control over your car.
If your car frame has minor damages, you can fix it yourself with the appropriate tools.
But the best recommendation is to let professionals take care of the dents.
Just in case you are planning to buy a car with severely damaged frames, it isn’t a good option unless it’s a limited edition model.
You will actually need to hire professionals who can cut and weld the frame which will need to spend a hefty amount of money to get them repaired.
Based in Orem (Utah) John Paterson graduated from Utah Valley University and has begun writing in 2009. He has a large wealth of experience in writing articles related to cars, automotive repair, wheels, cleaning/maintenance, and much more. He has also written instructional articles in a similar niche for a few online publications as well. Currently, he works as a mechanic in his personal garage shop where he loves serving his countrymen from his heart.