The damage after a small accident may look minor, but there are often underlying issues that end up affecting your car. This is especially true for later model cars that are designed to absorb the impact to protect the passengers, often with a sacrifice to structural integrity of the car. The following are some examples of the types of damage your car may have suffered.
Most cars now utilize a unibody instead of a separate frame and panel construction. What this means is the panels and the frame are united into single components. These components are then divided into crush zones. When an accident occurs, the zone impacted absorbs the majority of the impact in an effort to protect the passengers. The damage on the outside of the affected zone may only have a small visible dent on the outside, but the inside has become crushed in and bent. Although the car looks relatively unharmed on the outside, this can affect many processes in the car, including alignment and the suspension system, which may make the car unsafe to drive.
Frame issues can affect older cars as well as newer unibody models. These also usually occur from minor collisions. You may even suffer frame damage without any visible damage to the outside of the vehicle, such as if you back into a pole or another stationary object. The force may not be enough to put a permanent dent or crack in a plastic panel, but it may be enough to bend the frame. Another common cause that doesn't leave outside damage is hitting a pot hole or a curb hard. The result of frame damage is a car that tends to veer to one side and won't stay aligned. You may also notice shaking at higher speeds or uneven wear on the tire. Fortunately, an auto body repair shop like River's Truck Center can pull a frame back into alignment in most cases.
Wheel Alignment Issues
Alignment issues after a collision aren't always tied directly to frame or unibody problems. Sometimes a minor collision can skew the axles or suspension system, resulting in a car that looks fine but doesn't track properly on the road. Dog tracking is one example of an alignment problem that can lead to major issues. This occurs when the front and rear axles are out of alignment. One axle points the tires in one direction, while the second axle aims the tires at a slightly different angle. For the driver, it may feel as though the car is slowly floating off course. It can also be easy to lose control of the vehicle, especially if you hit a bump at higher speeds. This is another problem that a repair shop can fix so that your car is once again safe to drive.