Mackins - Damaged Frame Here's Our Guide On What To Do Next

The frame of a car provides structure to the entire vehicle and ensures that you’re able to maintain control while on the road. But like any component of your vehicle, the frame can sustain damage in a collision.

Driving with a damaged frame can put you at risk and harm other important components of your car over time. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about frame damage and what to do if it happens to your vehicle.

What is frame damage on a car?

A car’s frame is its structural support system. You can think of a car frame like a skeleton. It supports all the components of the vehicle and acts as the foundation for its weight and shape. It’s also designed to protect you in the event of a collision. 

The term “frame damage” broadly refers to any damage caused to the parts of a car that are intended to support its structure. Since different makes and models have unique frame designs, car frame damage can present itself differently depending on the car you drive.

Mackins - neck pain after a front end collision

Causes of Frame Damage

Car frame damage is usually the result of a collision, either with another vehicle or an object. Just about any type of accident can cause frame damage on a car – including fender benders and all of the most common types of vehicular collisions.

How to Identify Frame Damage on a Car

After an accident, sometimes there’s visible damage and sometimes there isn’t. You might only see a few scratches, dings, or dents on the surface. But that doesn’t mean your car hasn’t sustained hidden damage to its frame. 

The only way to know for sure is to take it into a trustworthy auto body repair shop. But here are some common signs and symptoms of frame damage to look for after an accident:

  • Visible bends or other damage
  • Uneven tire wear
  • Alignment problems
  • Strange sounds
  • Uneven wear on the suspension
  • Other parts out of place

What is considered frame damage on a car?

Car frame damage can vary in terms of the type and extent of the damage, and identifying the level of damage you’re dealing with can be helpful as you consider your options.

Types of Frame Damage

There are four primary types of frame damage that can occur due to a collision:

  • Sagging frame – This is visible damage that causes gaps in the body of the car.
  • Twisted frame – Similar to sagging, a twisted frame is characterized by unevenness, but it’s usually less visible and harder to diagnose. 
  • Mash damage – Usually caused by a rear-end or head-on collision, this type of damage causes one end of the frame to crash inward and become shorter.
  • Sway damage – When one of the corners of your car is impacted in a collision, it can cause the frame to lean to one side.

Severity Levels of Frame Damage

The extent of frame damage can vary from minor to serious. Small dents in your car’s exterior can be considered frame damage. However, they usually won’t reflect significant impairment of the vehicle’s structure. 

On the other hand, severe misalignment or a completely crumpled frame can impact important mechanical functions and make your car unsafe or even impossible to drive.

Factors That Affect the Extent of Damage

The type and level of frame damage your car sustains in a collision can be impacted by several factors. The velocity and angle at which the collision occurs will of course affect the extent of the damage. The amount that you drive the vehicle after the collision and before getting it checked can also have an impact.

Mackins - driving listening to music on the road

What To Do if Your Car Has Frame Damage

A bent or damaged frame not only negatively impacts your car’s value, but it can also affect the way it drives and cause potential hazards on the road. That’s why it’s important not to ignore common signs of frame damage.

Steps To Take After Discovering Frame Damage

The first things you should do immediately after an accident are 1) to get to safety and 2) to make sure you and any passengers are okay. Once you’ve done your due diligence at the scene and discovered signs or symptoms of frame damage, here’s what you should do:

  1. Call your auto insurance provider as soon as possible to notify them of the accident.
  2. If you’re able to drive your car away from the scene, pay close attention to how it drives.
  3. Take photos of any new damage you notice and write down any and all problems with how your car is operating.
  4. If you suspect your car has frame damage, don’t drive it unless you have to.
  5. Take your car into a reputable collision repair shop as soon as possible to have it professionally evaluated and repaired.

Repair Options for Frame Damage on a Car

It takes a great deal of force to bend a car frame during a collision. It takes the same amount of force to straighten it back to its original shape. For that reason, frame damage repair is performed using specialized framing machines. 

Using hydraulic pressure and torque at particular specifications, these machines can smoothly and reliably correct a damaged frame and any associated alignment issues. At Mackin’s, we use Car-O-Liner frame measuring and straightening equipment, and every repair is completed according to the original equipment manufacturer’s guidelines and tolerances.

Mackins - old picture of mackins truck

Mackins has the expertise to repair your car’s damaged frame and return it to you as good as new!

Mackin’s Auto Body is a trusted collision repair shop that has been offering fast and reliable service in Portland and the surrounding areas since 1945. If you’ve been involved in an accident, we’ll take a look at your car to diagnose any issues and provide expert repair services to get you back on the road safely. We’ll work directly with your insurance provider and get the job done within a reasonable time frame.

Contact us online or visit one of our locations to get started!

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts is the Director of Operations at Mackin’s Auto Body, where he has been making an impact since 2018. With a career in collision repair that started in 1999, Chris brings a wealth of experience and dedication to his role. Before stepping into his current position, he served as the Assistant Operations Manager at Mackin’s Auto Body from 2013 to 2017. Chris holds a BA from Northwest Nazarene University. When he’s not ensuring everything runs smoothly at Mackin’s, you can find him skiing down snowy slopes, wake surfing on sunny days, or cheering on his daughter at her soccer games.