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Man working at a body shop on a damaged car

Car Frame Repair Options

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When your car experiences structural damage from an accident, it’s common to wonder how much it’s going to cost to repair the frame and whether a DIY job is realistic. The truth is that frame repair requires technical work and making mistakes can be dangerous. This is why it’s usually best to trust the job to a skilled technician. When you bring your car in for an estimate, they’ll generally recommend one of the following three options.

Car Frame Straightening

Frame straightening serves at your best shot for restoring your car to the same condition it was in prior to the accident, but bending metal back into alignment is no easy task. To ensure precise accuracy, auto shops use computerized tools to determine proper alignment. Ultrasound technology is also required to measure the degree of damage, and lasers are then used to determine the necessary amount of alignment. If this process is done correctly and the damage isn’t too extensive, the vehicle can be restored to original condition.

Car Frame Welding

In some cases, traditional car frame straightening techniques are insufficient for proper repair. One possible alternative is to cut out the bent portions of the frame and weld in new straight metal pieces. It is important to note, however, that welding can significantly reduce the structural integrity of the metal at the weld points. This can result in insufficient support if done incorrectly. A professional welder with significant experience should be able to provide adequate results in most cases.

If you’re considering doing the job yourself, you may want to think twice, even if you have some welding experience. Because your frame is constantly under impact shock and other forces, it must be welded precisely or it isn’t safe to drive the car. To make sure the job is done right, you’ll want the superior expertise of a professional welder.

Other Options

Due to the difficulty and high costs often associated with car frame repair, many auto body shops may suggest scrapping the vehicle instead of repairing it. This is because a bent frame means that the car may have poor wheel alignment and structural damage, and it may never drive the same again.

If your technician tells you it will cost more than the vehicle’s worth to repair the frame damage, your best option is often listing the vehicle as a total loss with your insurance company. After their inspection, you’ll generally be given a check for the car’s estimated value that you can spend on a replacement vehicle.

It’s normal to want your vehicle fixed as quickly and cheaply as possible after a major accident, but as you can see, frame damage isn’t something to be taken lightly. Start with an inspection and estimate from a repair shop you trust, and then you can decide what course of action is best in your particular situation.

See also:

After an Accident: How Insurance Works

How to Find the Best Muffler Repair Shops

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