Is My Car Totaled If My Frame Is Bent?

Is a car with a bent frame automatically totaled, or can you repair it and keep going? WeBuyTotaledCars explains how a bent frame affects your car's value.

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frame of vehicle

Frame damage is when the main structure (aka frame) of your car suffers some form of harm.

In many cases frame damage is repairable. However, if your car has severe frame damage as a result of a collision, it’ll most likely be considered a total loss.

Let’s explore the tell-tale signs of a bent car frame and what options you have when you’ve got a crooked car frame.

Bent Car Frame Symptoms

When your car frame is bent out of shape, you’ll likely be able to tell. There are several indicators that your car’s frame has been compromised, but four of the major ones are:

  1. You Can See The Damage Beneath The Vehicle.

    Climbing up underneath your vehicle is one of the easiest ways to see if there’s been any damage.

    Taking a flashlight and looking beneath your car’s chassis enables you to see if the damage you’re dealing with is severe enough to warrant repairs.

  2. Ill-Fitting Components

    Warped frames can cause a slew of issues with the way your vehicle’s parts interlock with one another. You may notice a door that won’t properly close or gaps between your vehicle’s body panels.

  3. Suspension & Shock Damage

    A car in great working condition will evenly distribute its weight across its suspension system.

    If it has a bent frame, however, it can develop balance problems. More weight could begin to be placed on one side than the other and cause vibrations or an uneven wearing down of shocks on one side of your car.

  4. They Can’t Realign Your Car

    If you’ve got a vehicle with a bent frame, then that vehicle won’t remain aligned. The misalignment caused by a bent frame can result in something called “crab walking.”

    You may find that your vehicle points slightly to the left or right when driving down a straight road; it’s not usually easily noticeable, but is something that needs to be addressed.

These common tell tale signs for bent frame damage are tell-tale signs that something is wrong with your car’s structure.

Can You Drive A Car With A Bent Frame?

The short answer is yes, you can drive a car with a bent frame.

But driving a car with a bent frame won’t maintain its alignment and cause the vehicle to drag to the side. It’ll become pretty challenging to steer and become a hazard for the driver and anyone inside the vehicle.

Don’t put yourself or your loved ones at risk of an accident by trying to drive a vehicle with a compromised frame.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Bent Frame?

mechanic repairing frame of car

Bent car frames retain the possibility of being repaired by highly-trained, well-equipped auto body repair technicians.

The cost to fix a bent frame is directly related to the severity of the damage and the time it’ll take to fix. Something like a minor fender bender can amount to $700 out of your pocket.

More intense damage to your frame, however, can result in your insurance company being forced to total the vehicle — especially if the vehicle’s safety is still compromised after repairs.

What To Do With A Car With Frame Damage

When your frame is crooked and bent out of shape, you have very few options as it pertains to the vehicle:

Keep Driving It: Sometimes, frame damage isn’t too severe and you can continue to drive your car.

Outside of mild misalignment and maybe a few weird noises, your car feels just fine.

Keep in mind, though, that frame damage can cause imbalances, uneven wear-and-tear on your shocks and tires, and compromise the protection you’d expect from your vehicle.

Repair It: You can pay to have your frame damage completely repaired, but the costs of the repairs are going to mirror the severity of the damage.

Sell It: When the cost of repairing your bent frame exceeds the value of your car, it’s time to sell your car.

Whether that is to the insurance company if they provide a payout for the vehicle, selling it as scrap, or selling it to a private buyer.

Unfortunately, selling a car with frame damage bad enough to make it undriveable is a tall order if you’re trying to make a decent amount of money from it.

Is frame damage a big deal?

Frame damage can throw your entire car out of alignment. It can also compromise the structural integrity of your vehicle, placing you and any passengers in increased danger in the event of a collision.

Can a car frame be straightened?

Car frame straightening is a repair process for compromised car structures. It’s an expensive process, with the cost driven higher by more severe damage to the car’s framework.

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