Did you know that even a small car accident could result in hidden damage to your vehicle's structure and computer system? While most of us only notice the visible dents and scratches, the damage could be deeper than that. Sometimes it's only apparent once you notice changes in your car or truck's performance. So, it's essential to know the signs of hidden damage and what to look for. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the importance of identifying hidden damage and what to keep an eye out for. Let's dive in!
Looking for signs of damage after your car accident?
Contact Flagstaff Collision Center in Flagstaff, Arizona for our collision repair services!
When Can a Collision Cause Hidden Car Damage?
Vehicles have changed quite a bit in the last half century. They of course are more technologically advanced with navigation systems, cameras, and keyless starters. With these advancements come some interesting problems. All of those electronic devices and sensors within your vehicle are highly susceptible to the impact of collisions. You may have come out unscathed from someone rear-ending you, and you may not see any damage on your vehicle at all, but that doesn't mean there has not been some hidden damage to your car.
Signs of Hidden Car Damage
There are many types of hidden car damage. Some collisions are more serious than others, which will certainly impact your repair cost. Here are examples of the most common types of hidden car damage and how you can detect if your vehicle has possibly been damaged after an accident.
1. The Trunk Won't Open
Unless you load and unload your trunk often, you may not realize that it has become stuck shut after an accident. Trunk damage can actually indicate that the bumper has been compromised. Since most people don't check their trunks after a car accident, you may not even notice that it's broken right away. If your bumper looks fine, but your trunk won't open, it is probably bent. This means if you get rear-ended again, your bumper won't be able to cushion your impact and your car may take on some structural damage. Another sign of a bent bumper is a trunk that won't stay shut.
2. Uneven Tire Wear
Whenever you get your tires changed or rotated, the technician will let you know if there seems to be a large discrepancy between the wear on your tires. The tread on your tires should wear down evenly. This wear pattern indicates that your car's alignment is on point. But if your left tires are almost bald and your right tires have tons of tread, you have a problem. You may also notice that your car tends to drift to the left or right while you're driving. Being in an accident may have impacted your car's alignment.
3. The Lights Are Flickering or Dead
Modern vehicles rely on technology to both run efficiently and to provide those little luxuries that older vehicles didn't have. This means cars have really intricate and sophisticated electrical systems that run throughout the vehicle. If your lights suddenly flicker, you'll need to get your electrical system checked immediately. Many systems in your vehicle rely on electricity, and while today your lights flicker, tomorrow, your engine may not start.
4. The Check Engine Light is On
Nothing is worse than waking up on a Monday, trying to get out the door as quickly as possible, starting your car, and noticing the engine light is blinking at you. You remember that fender bender you were in last week? Guess what, small collisions can actually damage your engine. This sounds unimaginable, but many types of vehicles have transmission components in the back half of the car, away from the engine. So if somebody taps you from behind hard enough, they can actually damage your transmission or even push your exhaust components forward, compromising their efficiency.
5. Transmission Fluid is Leaking
Have you been noticing dark red fluid leaking from underneath your car? Transmission fluid is dyed a reddish color so that you can differentiate it from other commonly used car fluids. If you see the distinctive color in your parking spot, you know that you have a transmission leak. Your car's transmission is extremely important to your car's overall maintenance. Without a proper transmission, your car will likely not drive smoothly, veer to the left or the right, and ultimately, not run properly. As soon as you see those spots, you need to contact an auto repair shop.
6. There Are Panel Gaps
You actually may notice this damage sooner than most. If your car is looking like a child's toy that wasn't put back together properly, then you know it suffered more than just a minor bump. You can easily tell when your car's doors don't align as they properly should. Those types of panel gaps show you that your car needs to be seen by a professional. If you have panel gaps on your vehicle, they can actually indicate all types of unseen damage in your car or truck. Make sure to get your vehicle seen by a professional collision center, like us, right away.
7. The Ride is Rougher
You should notice when your luxury sedan starts to sound and move like an old jalopy. This is not too hidden, because a bumpy ride means you'll know right away that your suspension needs to be fixed. A suspension system controls more than just a smooth ride. If you put off having your suspension system fixed, you run the risk of losing control of your vehicle while driving it. (A bumpy ride could also mean other problems are present, so you definitely want to take your car in for a checkup.)
8. Your Tires Are Squealing or Humming
If your ears are hurting because your tires are squealing, then more likely than not, you'll need to have your alignment checked. As stated before, poor alignment can cause your vehicle to drift to one side of the road. More importantly, a car with poor alignment uses more fuel. Save yourself money in the long-run and have a technician look at your wheel alignment.
9. You Have Trouble Accelerating or Shifting
Having a damaged transmission really puts a damper on the performance of your vehicle. You will notice this change right away. Your car may not change gears as easily as it should, which is of course, a safety concern. Likewise, you may step on the gas pedal to merge onto the freeway only to find your car refuses to move with the flow of traffic. This type of road performance is dangerous and needs to be fixed promptly.
10. The Damage Won't Go Away
After your accident, you had your car looked at for electrical problems. The mechanic said it was fixed. But now your lights are flickering again. No matter what the problem is, if your car keeps displaying the same damage even after you've taken it to the repair shop, it may have serious structural integrity issues. If the frame of your car is damaged, it could lead to a whole host of problems. A highly skilled professional mechanic will be able to advise you further.
Having Car Trouble After Your Accident? Bring Your Vehicle to Our Auto Body Repair Shop in Flagstaff, Arizona!
Even if you think your car didn't incur any damage in an accident, hidden damage can be hard to diagnose. It's important to take your concerns to a reputable auto body shop. Find a professional who listens and who will help you figure out if there is unknown damage to your vehicle. If you have your entire vehicle inspected up front after an accident, you will spend less in repair costs in the long run.
If you have concerns about any of your vehicles, please do not hesitate to contact Flagstaff Collision Center today. Our skilled technicians will be able to help you decide what the best course of action would be to make sure your car runs smoothly and safely. We utilize factory-grade equipment and only use OEM parts. We work on all makes and models of vehicles and our technicians pride themselves on our quality work. If you've been dissatisfied with service at other auto body repair shops, we welcome you to give us a call or request a quote today!