My Car Frame is Bent, is it Repairable or Totaled?

Car Truck Body Frame Repair Aug 07, 2010 4 Comments

A vehicle that has been in a collision and ended up with frame damage must be bound for the junk yard; RIGHT?

Maybe – Maybe Not!

A customer came in the other day saying his car was not far behind him on a tow truck. As I was getting the information for his estimate form he ask me, “Is it true that when the frame on a car is bent it will never really handle right again and won’t hold an alignment”?

I let him know that “With the proper diagnosis a repair shop should be able to show him a computer print out of what the measurements on your car frame are supposed to be according to the manufacturer, what your damaged car’s frame measurements are and whether or not it can be repaired so that it would again have a frame under it that was as straight as it was when it was new.

Once frame, body and paint work is completed, the vehicle should handle just as it did before the collision. With regular maintenance it should also hold a wheel alignment and have normal, even tire wear. Obviously there are other issues to consider such as suspension and steering parts that may need replacing now or later, but as far as what they are all attached to; the frame, the vehicle being put back to factory straight specifications should cause no undue harm or premature wear to any of those parts”.

Where did my Customer get his “Bent Frame equals Junk Yard” Idea?

So it seems my customer had already talked to a few well meaning friends and someone from another body shop who were probably also well meaning. But in an effort to protect the innocent or uninformed, we’ll call his friend Billy Bubba Bobby Joe, (Billy Bubba for short) and we’ll call the other body shop, “Good ole Boys Auto Body”.

Billy Bubba told my customer to take his car down to “Good Ole Boys Auto Body”. They had been fixin his daddy’s ole cars for years and always did a good job. Now it seems the fellas at Good Ole Boys are of the opinion that a tape measure, yard stick, a good eye and years of experience puts them in a position to condemn a car to the junk yard or not. Fortunately for my customer, those Good Ole Boys good ole days are long gone and he talked to another friend that recommended he get a second opinion.

Just like there are still people unable to accept that nowadays they need a computer to help the manage their business more effectively, there are well intentioned, hard working body shop owners that can’t accept how computer diagnostic equipment and modern repair equipment can help them provide more and better services for their customers.

“The Bent Frame ALWAYS Means It’s Totaled” – Myth Exposed

Unfortunately it’s people like those at “Good Old Boys Auto Body” that perpetuate myths like; “Once a vehicles frame is bent, it will never be the same regardless of who does the repairs”.

And that is one of the great things about all this new frame diagnosis and repair equipment technology; it allows the same technicians to do more work in a shorter amount of time and to do a better, more accurate job of frame repairs than would have been possible even 5 years ago. The right hi-tech equipment gives them the ability to produce Laser Measurement Computerized Diagnostic Reports to the vehicle owner and their insurance company, proving it either can or cannot be repaired to pre-accident condition.

After explaining these things to my customer and promising him an easy to understand, no tech talk diagnosis, he went to lunch. I took my customers car in and had our technician mount it and prep it in our “Chief EZ-Liner S21″ frame repair machine, then run a “Chief Velocity Laser Measuring System” diagnostics on the car.

You and Your Insurance Company Should Require PROOF!

When my customer returned from lunch, I showed him the simple to understand computerized print out from the Velocity laser measurement system. Then while his car was still on the EZ-Liner I pointed out the places where adjustments would be made and how they would be made to bring his car’s frame back within factory specified tolerances. He seemed somewhat amazed and pleasantly surprised when I presented him with the estimate of repairs. Then my customer said:

“That’s far less than the car is worth and the other drivers insurance company should pay all of that, and I can have my car back like new, instead of  going through buying another one and jumping back into debt again.  I just got this one paid off”.

The other driver’s insurance company paid for the repairs and our customer that brought in a wreck, drove back out in his pride and joy happy he hadn’t had to go out and jump back into payments for what the insurance would not have paid had they considered it totaled.

I wanted to relay this story to our readers to do my little part to squelch the old myth about bent auto frames ALWAYS being a death knell for their vehicle.  Now while not all collision damaged vehicle frames are repairable, with today’s technology in the hands of trained technicians, they can in fact determine those frames that can be repaired and return them to a like new condition. The bottom line is: in many cases collision damaged auto frames CAN be repaired so the vehicle drives and handles just as good as it did before the collision damage.

I guess the real moral to this story is: Good ole boy’s opinions always deserve a second opinion from Hi-Tech modern guys.

4 Responses to “My Car Frame is Bent, is it Repairable or Totaled?”

  1. Reply Danny says:

    I had an accident. At first they told me the frame was bent that they will probably total my car.
    Later they said it was fixable and that my car doesn’t have a frame but several panels. Just the panel was dented. Now my worried about my car not driving as well. I have a 2006 passat. Does it really not have a frame? I’m so confused.
    Dani

    • Reply Kevin says:

      Sorry to be so late with this reply Danny but we seem to just stay on a dead run around here. Bring your Passat into our shop, we’ll put in on the laser diagnostics machine (The Velocity) and then you’ll know for sure whether or not it can be put back in dependable driving condition.

  2. Reply Frank Castillo says:

    I have a 1968 F85 that i purchased cheap for parts to complete my 1968 Cutlass. Ive had a cupple people tell me that the frame is bend. If I could get this frame back to factory setting would be great the car was 90% restored and would hate to take it appart. I am located in San Antonio,Tx could you reffer me to a credable shop that wont over price or tell me it aint worth the money.

    • Reply Kevin says:

      Frank,

      Check out http://www.choiceautopaint.com/

      New Location – 11300 North IH35, San Antonio : 210-655-5585
      Second Location – 12800 Nacogdoches Rd., San Antonio : 210-655-5581

      This is not an endorsement, but they are the only one I could find with laser measuring equipment.

      Hope this helps

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