What Is Frame Damage on a Car?

Whenever the integrity of your car’s frame has been compromised. This can be the result of an accident, third party involvement, or events classified as an “Act of God.” When a diagnostic of your vehicle confirms frame damage, there may be parts integral to supporting its structure that are damaged.

How Do I Know My Car’s Frame Is Damaged?

roof damage to car

Frame damage to your car can be quite catastrophic. It can throw your vehicle out of alignment and a compromise in your car’s frame is often expensive to repair. The high costs of those repairs may not be worth undertaking at all.

Consider the causes of frame damage mentioned; these are typically high impact events. For example, imagine you’ve just been in a heavy front-end collision. The entire front of your car is pushed back and crushed up; there are two metal support beams jutting out; your engine is sitting in the passenger seat!

Walking away from an accident of that magnitude physically unscathed is worth being thankful for. Your car, however, can’t say the same. There’s a high likelihood that your car will be declared an undrivable total loss and be sent to that great junkyard in the sky.

Although, the possibility that it can be repaired exists. It just won’t be a low cost repair in any sense of the word. Before taking the steps towards repairing a damaged vehicle, it’s a good idea to ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is frame damage?
  2. Is driving with a damaged frame safe?
  3. What is the cost of repairing a vehicle with frame damage?
  4. Is fixing my car after an accident even worth it?
  5. Do I have any other options?

What Is A Frame Damaged Vehicle?

frame of a vehicle

By this point, you understand that the frame of your car is its support system; it is the skeleton that everything else is built around. Like your rib cage protects your heart and lungs, your car’s frame is designed to defend the important bits (you) in the event of an accident.

Are There Different Types of Frames?

Nearly every vehicle type has a unique frame created by the manufacturer. That said, the majority of these car frames can be placed into two categories: Unibody frames & Ladder Frames.

Unibody Frame

The unibody frame is defined as “a single molded unit forming both the bodywork and chassis of a vehicle.” In layman’s terms, the car’s frame and body are one. A unibody frame can be broken down into several parts:

  • Core Support (Radiator Support)- Found on the front end of your vehicle, this part is bolted on and can be removed without being considered “frame damage”.
  • Unirail- These are two symmetrical beams at the front and back of your car. They are the strongest portion of the car’s frame and serve as the attachment point for different components to get welded onto.
  • Strut Tower- Within every vehicle, there are four strut towers located at its four corners. They’re purpose is to align and hold the vehicle’s suspension in place.
  • Apron- The front, two-sided, inner-fender area of the vehicle. It extends from the core support to the strut tower and the rear apron extends from the strut tower to the firewall.
  • Firewall- The portion that separates the engine from the cockpit of the vehicle.
  • Floor Pan- A metallic sheet welded to several cross points to form the floor of the vehicle.
  • A-B-C Pillars- Vertical supports of the car labeled alphabetically to represent their position from front to rear. Longer vehicles will have a fourth “D” pillar.
  • Rocker Panel- Panels that support your doors. They are located in between the wheels and under the doors they support.
  • Quarter Panel- A metal sheet that forms the left and right rear panels. Aside from helping form the wheel well, you will also find the gas cap on it. In more unique vehicles (like the Corvette) the quarter panels can be made from fiberglass or carbon fiber.
  • Rear Support- The rear of the frame.

Ladder Frame

happy client on computer

An older, traditional design for car frames. While most cars used to be made with this frame, it's now more common within trucks thanks to its high resistance and strength. It derives its name from the core of the frame being made up of two symmetrical rails connected by several cross members, like a ladder.

What Can I Do If My Car’s Frame Is Damaged?

Frame Damage to your vehicle is devastating and the repairs can be extremely costly. In an event like that, it might be in your best interest to reach out to the experts at DamagedCars.

Our cutting-edge price engine is designed to kick back an offer your way within 90 seconds. We’ll come to you and pick up your vehicle for free, while putting the payment right in your hands within 24-48 hours!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does Frame Damage Make A Car Unsafe To Drive?

Not necessarily. If the vehicle is still aligned and can drive in a straight line, then it’s safe to drive even with frame damage.

Does Frame Damage Make A Car Unsafe In A Collision?

Unless the damage is minimal, frame damage makes a car unsafe during collisions. Crumple zones being damaged are no large issue, but if the frame is bent or warped by damage, then your car is not optimally safe in the event of collision.

What Is The Cost Of Repairing A Damaged Frame?

Repairing a damaged frame requires the cutting off and welding of new parts onto the frame. Combined with the time needed for this patch-up, the costs could top $10,000.

Can I Sell My Car With Unibody Frame Damage?

While it’s not impossible, most people buy cars with the intent to drive them. While a car with unibody frame damage may be drivable, it still has an inherent repair cost the new owner would have to handle.
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