What Can You Do If Your Car's Frame Is Damaged?

Does your car have frame damage? What are your options, and would you still be able to sell the car? WeBuyJunkCarsFast can help answer that question.

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Even a minor collision can result in a damaged car frame. Dents, scratches, and crushed bumpers are all considered frame damage and can be costly to repair.

Keep reading below to learn about frame damage and how WeBuyJunkCarsFast can pick up your car for cash if you’re facing an exorbitant frame damage repair bill.

What Is The Frame Of A Car?

what is the frame of a car

The frame of a car is the supporting structure of the entire vehicle. You can think of it as the skeleton to which all other parts are attached.

Besides providing a base, it has several other functions such as:

  • Supporting the weight of passengers and cargo.

  • Handling torque.

  • Receiving the most impact during a collision.

  • Bearing the twisting that occurs on uneven surfaces.

There are two main types of frames:

  • Unibody frame: The frame of the vehicle is incorporated into the sheet metal design, mostly used for crossovers, minivans, and sedans. It is typically lighter and more aerodynamic than other types of frames. This means that the chassis (underbody) is attached to the frame.

  • Body-on-Frame: Frame and chassis are not attached the same way that unibody models are, allowing for greater flexibility and off-road driving. Despite being able to withstand a lot more damage, these frames are heavier and offer less refined driving dynamics.

  • Ladder frame: This is one of the oldest and most common type of car frame. As the suggests, these frames resemble a ladder. This kind of frame provides great support and is usually equipped on heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and SUVs.

  • Platform Chassis: With this type of frame, the chassis is separate from the rest of the frame, much like a body-on-frame. The chassis is also arranged as a single flat steel sheet, making the overall frame rigid.

Car frames are composed of several parts including:

  • Unirail

  • Radiator support

  • Strut tower

  • Floor pan

  • Firewall

  • A/B/C pillars

  • Quarter panel

  • Rocker panel

  • Rear support

What Is Car Frame Damage?

In the simplest terms, frame damage on a car is any damage that occurs to the parts of your vehicle responsible for structure and support such as:

  • Fenders

  • Body panels

  • Roof

  • Trunk

  • Hood

  • Engine compartment

  • Wheels

Below, we go over specific examples of frame damage and what to look out for if you’re evaluating your car for this kind of damage.

What Is Considered Frame Damage On A Car?

does frame damage total a car

We defined frame damage as any damage done to the parts of your vehicle that are responsible for structure and support. However, you might be wondering what exactly is frame damage on a car and how you can identify it.

First, let’s go over the levels of damage frame damage:

  • Minor: This kind of damage is mostly cosmetic such as small or shallow scratches. These can occur by driving too close to another car or object, or even a tree branch grazing your car.

  • Moderate: Cracks, dents, deep scratches, or ripples that clearly affect the appearance of the car, but don’t affect drivability can be considered moderate damage.

  • Severe: A crumpled, mashed-in, sagging, or twisted frame is considered severe damage. This usually occurs with collisions.

There are also several common types of car frame damage:

  1. Sway damage: When your vehicle leans in one direction when driving. This type of damage is usually the result of getting hit on a corner or side of your car.

  2. Sagging frame: Gaps in the frame from an accident that create uneven strains on car parts can cause sagging.

  3. Twisted frame: This type of damage can be hard to identify but it is also caused by gaps or uneven tension due to damage to certain areas around the frame. Your car will likely be out of alignment and not leveled.

  4. Mashed frame: This type of damage is usually from head-on or rear-end collisions. You’ll notice distortions or wrinkles on the hood, rails, fenders, or bumper of your car.

  5. Diamond damage: With this kind of damage, one side of your vehicle is moved forward or backward, disrupting its alignment.

Is It Safe To Drive A Frame Damaged Vehicle?

If your frame damage is minor and you are not experiencing mechanical issues, then you can likely continue driving with frame damage. However, if your car crumpled or any parts twisted or completely broke during a collision, you should not be driving your vehicle.

Even if you only see frame damage, mechanical parts can have been affected as well. Plus, if the structural damage has affected the suspension, axles, or wheels, driving can be dangerous and unpredictable.

To identify if your frame damage is too severe to drive safely, look out for these signs:

  1. Your car cannot drive straight.

  2. A part of the frame is hanging off.

  3. The hood, trunk, or any doors are unable to close.

  4. Your car is drooping.

Does Frame Damage Total A Car?

Frame damage can absolutely total a car. Not only can repair costs exceed the value of your vehicle, but this type of damage can make your automobile unsafe to drive.

Your insurance company will make the final judgment about whether the car is totaled or not which will depend on the cost of repairs and whether it will be safe to drive even after repairs.

What Is The Repair Cost For A Frame Damaged Vehicle?

Damaged frame repair costs can be high, especially if the damage is extensive. Compare the rates of different frame damage repair costs:

Level of Damage Service Low-End Cost High-End Cost
Minor Dent Repair $50 $1,500
Moderate Fender Replacement $600 $1,000
Moderate to Severe Frame Straightening $800 $2,000
Severe Mashed frame damage repair $2,000 $10,000+
Minor to Severe Labor $600 $1,500

How Much Does Frame Damage Devalue A Car?

Frame damage can be considered severe damage as it can affect the structural integrity of the car. Damage to the car frame can impact alignment and function of other parts and cause mechanical issues. Because of this, many dealerships and private buyers reject a car that has had frame damage even if it was perfectly repaired.

The depreciation amount will vary, though, depending on the extent of the damage. For example, if there was minor damage like dents or scratches, then your car might only lose about 10% to 15% of its pre-accident value.

Severe damage, though, can impact the value by 75% to 85%. In this case, your vehicle will be more valuable as a salvage.

WeBuyJunkCarsFast Buys Frame Damaged Vehicles

Found that your car is more valuable as junk? We’ll take it! At WeBuyJunkCarsFast, vehicles with damaged frames (even totaled ones) have value. We’ll fairly price your car and even pick it up for free in 24 to 48 hours. Here’s how it works:

  1. Answer some questions about your car through our calculator.

  2. Get a guaranteed offer in less than two minutes.

  3. Accept our offer.

  4. Schedule a free tow within 48 hours.

Your tow driver will hand your check for the exact price you were quoted and you’ll have your damaged car off your hands. Get a free estimate today!

Is It Worth Fixing My Car With Frame Damage?

Unless the frame damage has totaled your car, it would be worth fixing it. A damaged frame can affect the way your vehicle drives and can cause more problems down the line if it isn’t repaired or be a hazard to other drivers.

What Are The 5 Types Of Frame Damage?

The five types of frame damage are:

  1. Sway damage

  2. Sagging frame damage

  3. Twisted frame damage

  4. Mashed frame damage

  5. Diamond damage

It’s a Quick and Easy Process


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