Bent Out of Shape: The One Part Most People Overlook during Collision Repair

10 April 2015
 Categories: Automotive, Blog


The only people who like auto accidents are the ones over at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). They're the ones that willingly hurl pieces of metal filled with gasoline and crash test dummies to study how well cars hold up under pressure. Typically, the results are pretty good, and that's because of automobile frames — the part most people overlook when getting repairs.

Why the Frame Is Important

The frame serves a lot of purposes, such as giving a vehicle its structure, supporting the weight of the vehicle, and allowing other parts to fit together. However, it's also designed to protect you and anyone else in case the car is involved in a wreck.

The frames do this by giving and bending. They absorb the impact of an accident the same way football pads and helmets absorb the impact from other players. The difference is that automobile frames are absorbing nearly half a million pounds of force — and that's just when both cars are traveling around 25 mph. Higher speeds are more dangerous, which is what makes the frame even more important.

What Happens to the Frame?

Despite the fact that the metal frames in cars are incredibly strong and resilient, they do bend and, rarely, break. Although other parts of the car, such as headlights and molding, will be damaged too, the frame's job is to protect the people inside.

They're designed in one of two ways — a full body frame or a unibody frame. Full body frames use to long bars on each side of the vehicle, while unibody frames run completely from one side to the other. Both work by absorbing an impact, but full body frames are easier to replace parts of when damaged.

What Can Happen If the Frame Isn't Fixed?

Because frames also lend stability to the vehicle, warped frames can lead to many future problems, including

  • Misalignment
  • Tread Wear
  • Extra Force/Pressure on Axles
  • Decreased Safety

Frame repair is usually a fairly simple process. A specialized shop will hook the car up to a frame and a chain, secure the vehicle, and pull the metal frame back out from the car.

Think of it as a highly specialized form of a hanger that can be bent into a new shape and then reshaped into its original form. Although the metal frame will never be exactly the same shape again, it will be able to serve its purpose and protect you and your passengers. For more information, talk to a professional like California Auto Body North.