Frame Straightening: What It Is and When Your Car Needs It

car on a jack in repair shop

Road traffic accidents can have many different outcomes, but damage to your vehicle is likely. Your car may sustain cosmetic damage, such as scratches or dents, but structural or engine damage can occur too.

When the structure of your vehicle is damaged in a collision, it’s important that it’s repaired before you drive the car again. Although the vehicle may still run, the damage to the structure could affect the safety of the car and increase the risk of subsequent accidents and injuries.

What Is Car Frame Straightening?

Car frame straightening is a method of collision repair that rectifies damage to the structure—or frame—of the vehicle. If the integrity of the structure has been compromised due to an impact, straightening will ensure it’s properly aligned and able to withstand potential future impacts.

When Does a Car Require Frame Straightening?

Any damage that pushes the frame out of alignment can mean that straightening is required. However, there are many types of accidents that could send your vehicle to a collision repair shop. A front collision could cause the front of the frame to sag or twist, for example, while sway damage can occur if the corner of your vehicle is hit.

Alternatively, if you’re rear-ended or involved in a head-on collision, mash frame damage may be present. A mashed frame essentially means that the frame has crumpled inwards, towards itself, due to the impact it has sustained.

Although damage to the frame of a car can be obvious in some instances, this isn’t always the case. Even if your car doesn’t appear badly damaged, it’s important to have it checked by a qualified technician to ensure it’s safe to drive.

How Does Frame Straightening Work?

A frame straightening machine is used to elevate the vehicle. Moveable upright posts are positioned around the car so that different areas can be worked on. Technicians may use laser technology and automation to determine how much damage has occurred and what adjustments need to be made to bring the frame back into alignment.

The vehicle is then securely fastened to the platform, and chains from the posts are affixed to the frame. A technician then adjusts the posts, increasing the tension on the chains to pull the frame back into alignment. As each post is fitted with hydraulics, it has enough power to change the position of the frame and restore its structural integrity.

What Happens if I Don’t Get My Bent Frame Straightened?

If the frame of your vehicle has been damaged and you don’t visit a collision repair shop to get it straightened, your car may be unsafe to drive. As a result, your insurance may be invalid, and getting behind the wheel could even constitute a criminal offense.

When a frame isn’t in alignment, it doesn’t provide adequate protection to the driver or passengers. If another accident was to occur, the prior damage won’t offer protection and could result in tragic consequences. 

In the meantime, the misaligned frame could cause additional damage to your vehicle, affect its performance and leave you facing many more repairs. Furthermore, frame damage can affect the way your vehicle handles. This makes it harder to control on the road and more at risk of future accidents.

Is My Car Safe to Drive After Frame Straightening?

Yes. Once the frame has been repaired by an experienced technician, you can be confident that it’s safe to drive. Electronic measuring systems are used to ensure the frame is realigned in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. You should have peace of mind that your vehicle will be safe on the road.

How Do I Find a Qualified Frame Straightening Expert?

Frame straightening requires precision and expertise. It’s worth doing some research to find a collision repair shop that can provide the specialist services you require. Not every auto repair shop has the equipment or experience to undertake frame straightening.

Valley Collision is proud to offer expert frame straightening for vehicles in the Salt Lake area. If you’ve been in a collision and need frame repair, contact Valley Collision today to schedule an estimate.