Car Seat Laws

Can You Drive a Car With a Bent Frame [Safety Risks]

Have you ever had a car door that just would not shut properly? Or maybe you were recently in a car accident and your car just isn’t steering the way it should. These are all indicators that you may have a bent car frame. So, can you drive a car with a bent frame?

It is very possible to drive a car with a bent frame. However, driving your vehicle in this condition will likely lead to more damages to your car, not to mention you may be putting your life at risk every time you get behind the wheel. 

No matter how bent the frame is, the integrity of the vehicle is lost, and often there are underlying damages to the vehicle that go unseen to an untrained eye. If you suspect your car has a bent frame, the safest thing is to have a mechanic look it over to assess the damage and risks. 

Let’s be real, there are many further damages to your car that do not meet the naked eye that could really impact the safety of your vehicle. To have a bent car frame means that there was some significant damage by force to the vehicle. More than likely caused by a collision.

It begs to inquire further on the integrity of the vehicle. Firstly, how do you know you have a bent car frame? Is it safe to drive a vehicle with a bent frame? Will it further damage the integrity of the car? 

How Can You Tell If A Car Frame Is Bent?

If a car frame is bent very badly, you will visibly see it. One side of the vehicle might be tilted further than the other. However, in most cases, you will not know for sure that your car frame is bent until taking it to a car mechanic. 

If you have recently been in a car accident it is best to get it inspected by a mechanic. Car accidents are the number one reason the car frame gets bent, and it is not always detectable by the average person.

Car Pulling Right Or Left?

One indication that things might not be right with your frame is if your car pulls to one side over the other while you are driving. This is a sign that something needs attention in your vehicle.

In most cases, this just means you may need an alignment for your tires, but if you have recently been in an accident, it could mean the frame is bent. When you take your car in to have the alignment done, the mechanic would be easily able to identify if it is a tire alignment problem or bent frame. 

What Is A Bent Frame?

Did you know that most light body cars being built now do not actually have a “frame”? When cars were first being built, they were assembled with a heavy-duty frame that contained the drivetrain and engine. They could then attach the wheels, brakes, suspension, and steering and then attached the body on top. This is considered a body-on-frame and is predominately used only for large vehicles such as trucks and large SUVs. 

Over the course of the years, car manufacturers discovered a more efficient way to assemble smaller body cars and no longer use this design. They use a unibody construction.

In smaller body cars, what is generally referred to as the “frame” is actually called the chassis? This is somewhat of a platform for which the unibody sits atop. It supports the body of the vehicle. In this day and age, this is what someone means if they say that your car frame is bent. 

Can You Still Drive A Car With A Bent Frame?

Yes, you can drive a car with a bent frame. The costs associated with doing so may convince you to consider otherwise. It can cause significant damages to other parts of your vehicle.

What Happens If You Drive A Car With A Bent Frame?

A major concern of driving a car with a bent frame is causing your car alignment to be off. This can make maneuvering your vehicle more challenging. 

When the alignment is off, it causes the car to pull to the right or left and could cause you an accident if you do not have a good grip on the wheel.

Another problem you may face is that the front and back wheels will likely not be in the correct position while driving either. This could lead to rapid tire wear and/or tears and be a costly repair. 

The average cost of obtaining all new tires can range from $50-$200 a tire. If you had to replace all 4 tires, you may find the cost to be between $300-$1000 for the tires and installation.

Can A Bent Frame Cause Alignment Problems?

Driving with a bent frame can absolutely cause alignment problems. Your vehicle relies on the frame for stability and alignment. If the frame is compromised by being bent, this will cause the suspension angle in your car to be off. It will also cause the tires to become unaligned with each other.

On average, the cost for getting your car aligned is $100. Taking your car to get aligned should be a standard maintenance practice to ensure your car is remaining safe to drive. Mechanics recommend getting this done every two to three years and anytime you get new tires installed.

Is it safe to drive a car with frame damage?

If the structure of your car has been severely damaged it is not safe to drive a car with frame damage. This is because the integrity of the frame has been compromised. The purpose of the frame is to keep the car stable and the foundation of your vehicle.

If you were to get into a collision, this would be extremely dangerous because now all the components of your vehicle are not positioned in the ideal place. This can increase the severity of the accident.

In some instances, there are minor frame damages to the vehicle. In this case, it may be safe to drive the vehicle, however, you really would not know the severity of the damage without first taking it to a mechanic.

Can you fix a car with a bent frame?

While it is possible to fix, it is likely not worth the costs associated with it. There may also be other damage that could cause additional problems later on. The cost to repair a bent frame will likely be around $10,000. 

In many cases, this may be more than what your cars’ market value is. If your car insurance deems your car totaled from the bent frame, it is likely more beneficial to take the cash payment from the insurance company for your totaled car, rather than repairing or selling to a private buyer.

Is it legal to drive a car with a bent frame?

You can legally still drive a car with a bent frame. There are no laws in place that otherwise at this time. If you decide to drive, you do so at your own risk. As we have covered, there are many safety concerns to be aware of while doing so.

Will my insurance still cover me driving my car with a bent frame?

While you may seek reimbursement for damages to your vehicle from your insurance company, many insurance companies will not continue to insure salvage vehicles. You will need to consult with your insurance company for details.

Shopping around for different insurance companies is always a good idea. Be sure to disclose that your vehicle has a salvage title. If you do not disclose this, your insurance will be invalid. Salvage car insurance is likely more expensive for coverage so that is something to keep in mind if you are planning to hang on to your vehicle.

When to sell a car with a bent frame?

To sell a car with a bent frame, you will receive pennies on the dollar. Even still, I would sell the car right away. The reason being, it can be very costly for the repairs you will need to make if you continue to drive it with the bent frame. 

Selling the car will be a challenge. Once it has been determined that it has a bent frame, the car title will likely be given a salvage title status. This means that the car has had significant damage to it at some point.

How to sell a car with a bent frame?

There are a few different ways to sell your vehicle once it has been determined there is a bent frame. The more common way is to sell to a private buyer. You can list your vehicle on many different resale websites online or even in the newspaper.

You can also sell it to a dealer. It is important to note that some dealers are specialized in rebuilding damaged cars and may take an interest in buying it.

The last option would be to sell the car to a scrapyard. You would get paid for any metal they are able to retrieve. Another option would be to donate the vehicle to charity and utilize the tax credit. 

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren