Video news release:
Hidden Frame Damage in Thousands of used Cars
|What is the most important safety feature in
It’s not the air bags. It’s not the ABS brakes. It’s the car frame.
In modern cars and other vehicles, the frame is a highly engineered
crash-absorption component that can help to protect you and your family in a
collision by dispersing impact forces more predictably. Every year, hundreds of
thousands of used vehicles with hidden frame damage to that very component are
bought and sold, usually for one of two reasons:
||Typical visual frame inspection
procedures for new or pre owned vehicles used by even the most reputable car
dealers can actually fail to detect hidden auto frame damage from a common
||Unscrupulous individuals are "passing off"
a salvaged car that has been totalled and refurbished, but not repaired
correctly or to vehicle safety specifications.
|Safety engineering has made incredible
leaps in the past few decades of automotive design. Frame structure and
manufacturing has played a significant role in many of these automotive
Just as the highly technical design of an Indy race car keeps its driver alive
in an otherwise horrendous crash, the design and integrity of a frame dictates
how a passenger car or truck "behaves" in a collision. Crumple zones are
precisely engineered to absorb impact and protect you and your family. Air bag
deployment is also affected by frame design.
For every vehicle, the manufacturer has developed the ideal behavior
characteristics of the frame seen in automobile crash tests. Auto frame damage
can compromise your vehicle safety even in a minor rear-end collision by
changing your car's alignment, crumple zones or air bag deployment.
||When your car is in
a collision, its frame can become damaged in two ways. First, the accident can
result in direct damage to the frame, which appears at the location of impact.
For instance, as you might expect in a rear-end collision, the rearmost
sections of your vehicle frame may be damaged.
||But, just as importantly, the
very same accident can result in what is called indirect damage to the frame
and body, which appears away from the area of impact. Think of indirect damage
as the accident's "ripple effect" through your vehicle.
Since much of this "ripple effect" damage happens far from the point of
collision impact, a vehicle that to the naked eye appears to be repaired fully
can still have a significantly compromised frame structure that can endanger
vehicle occupants in future accidents.
The surest way to assess the condition of a frame's indirect damage is to have
the frame inspected at an authorized AutoScan Inspection Center or a local body
shop that uses computerized laser measuring systems.