examples of hidden damage

Believe it or not, rear-end collisions are the most common type of car accident, making up about one-third of all collisions. If you’ve ever been involved in a rear-end crash where someone hit your parked car, or you experienced some other type of accident, you probably know that a car crash can cause obvious damages to the exterior of your vehicle. In addition to this visible damage, collisions also frequently cause hidden damage that can be missed by both the driver and the auto body repair shop.


A hidden-damage car accident can cause major issues down the road if the damage isn’t discovered and remedied. It’s easy to think that if you don’t see damage, it doesn’t exist. But that’s often not the case, and it’s important to get any damage fixed as soon as possible after an accident.


In this article, we’ll take you through some of the most common types of hidden damages found after a car accident, and give you an idea of the next steps to take if you find yourself in this situation.

1. Frame Damage

person with hand on the steering wheel

A vehicle’s frame is its main supporting structure. You can think of your car’s frame as its skeleton. It provides structural support, helps align the wheels, holds the suspension, and supports the radiator, among other things. “Frame damage” is a broad term used when a structural component on the frame of a vehicle has been damaged or compromised. Most cars have plastic bumpers. These don’t offer much-added protection for the frame, leaving your vehicle vulnerable to serious internal frame damage as a result of a collision, which may not be easily noticeable. 


If you’ve been in an accident and suspect there may be hidden frame damage, it’s essential that you take your car to a certified collision expert so it can be professionally inspected and assessed. A good collision expert will be able to diagnose the potential side effects of internal frame damage, such as misalignment and doors not closing as they should.

2. Trunk Damage

large car dent in need of professional dent removal

Hidden bumper damage and hidden trunk damage are common types of issues following a rear-end collision. The angle and speed of the crash can impact the kind of damage your vehicle incurs, but generally, the bumper and trunk take the brunt of the impact.


Some damage to your trunk may be visible and obvious, but there are a few very common types of hidden trunk damage to be aware of, including the following:


  • Lock-mechanism issues
  • Difficulty opening
  • Seal and moisture issues
  • Lid opening unexpectedly


These issues can lead to frustration and even distracted driving, especially when your trunk lid opens unexpectedly while you’re driving. It’s worth getting these concerns addressed by a collision repair shop as soon as possible.

3. Alignment Issues

two mackins employees repairing a car side fender

Although it’s difficult to diagnose alignment issues just by looking at your vehicle, misalignment is one of the most common problems to arise from many types of accidents. Even what seems like a minor damage car accident can lead to serious alignment concerns. If you notice a difference in how it feels to handle and drive your car following an accident, it’s likely your alignment is off.


Common symptoms of misalignment include the following:


  • The vehicle favoring or pulling to one side
  • Wobbly steering
  • Odd vibrations
  • Noisy steering
  • Squealing tires


When left without repair, poor alignment can lead to other serious issues over time. It puts tires, brakes, suspension, and other parts of your vehicle under undue stress, which causes them to wear out much faster than they otherwise would. Not only is it a good safety decision to address alignment issues quickly after an accident, but it’s also likely to save you the cost of having to repair or replace other parts in your vehicle earlier than you should have needed to.

4. Electrical System Damage

Even a minor, low-impact car accident can loosen the wires connected to your tail lights, headlights, and other vehicle components. This can compromise the electrical systems that are vital to your car’s ability to continue operating. Over time and without professional inspection and repair, minor problems can lead to major problems. 


These loose wire connections could impact your brake and tail lights, which could pose a serious risk of further collisions. In addition, they could impact your sound system or cause your battery to stop working, which can prevent your car from being able to start.


These potentially hidden electrical-systems damages may not be visible, but that can have a serious impact on your car’s ability to function and get you where you need to go. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and have them checked by a professional certified collision expert.

5. Rust

As we’ve seen, minor car damage can lead to more serious and long-term issues. For example, small scratches in your vehicle’s frame can cause paint to rub away over time and result in the exposure of bare metal to the elements, leading to rust buildup. 


On the most basic scientific level, rust is just another name for iron oxide. When any iron-containing metal — such as the steel on your car — is exposed to oxygen, iron oxide begins to form. Over time, rust eats away at the metal on your vehicle. This causes an unsightly appearance and can weaken the car’s frame over time.


Even just a small scratch left unrepaired can cause the primary supportive structure of your vehicle to weaken. It’s much better for your car and your wallet to address the problem early, when it’s just a small scratch and more easily treatable. 

Contact Mackin’s for Hidden Damages Today

mackins auto painting

Over the years, Mackin’s Auto Body has built a reputation as a local leader in auto-collision repairs, especially hidden damages. We’ve been in business since 1945, serving our local community and doing our part to keep it safe. 


We’re certified, local, and family-owned, and you can trust us to do a thorough inspection of your vehicle following a collision to make sure we find any hidden damage. We’ll return your car to you in a timely fashion, and with the highest level of customer service.


Stop by one of our 9 locations and contact us to let us know how we can help you. If you’ve recently been in a collision, you may also be wondering how to claim insurance for auto collision and get the best deal. Read our article on insurance claims to learn more.

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.