What Are Your Car Frame Repair Options?

What is a car frame?

A car frame can be defined as a structure that supports a car’s body and other parts. It may also be referred to as the skeleton of a motor vehicle. A car frame supports the whole weight of a car’s body and all its other components. An automobile also supports most of the body-weight of the passengers, along with the engine and transmission. It is safe to say that a car frame is the absolute basic of a motor vehicle. A car frame also withstands torque from the other car parts, side winds, and the twisting forces which reach the body of the car by virtue of a chassis, due to uneven road surfaces. A vehicle or car frame can be compared to a skeleton on a body in terms of its operation. Generally speaking, there are 2 main types of car fames; “body-on-frame” and “unibody car frame”.

The body-on-frame method of constructing vehicles is a rather old one not used very widely in this day and age other than in the construction of trucks. This method consists of mounting an independent body of a car to a solid car frame which holds the engine and transmission. Both the body and the frame of the car remain separate from each other in this method. But, due to this frame’s heavy nature, and its effect on the mileage and performance of a vehicle it was discontinued and replaced by the unibody car frame construction method.

A unibody car frame is a term which is commonly used to refer to a fully integrated frame and body of a vehicle. These types of frames are strongly constructed into a single unit which comprises of both the body and the frame of a vehicle. These frames are usually made by welding or casting metals and the components of the vehicle together into a single unit. The unibody care frame can be simply put into terms of a fully integrated single unit comprising of the chassis and the body (including all the components) of a vehicle.

Some other types of car frames include; Perimeter frame, X frame, backbone tube, Platform frame, Sub frame, Space frame, and Ladder frame.

Working/functionality of a car frame:

A car frame works in many ways from keeping the whole body of the vehicle intact to withstanding aerodynamic forces of wind and torque from the drive train (engine and chassis). The car frame also supports the mechanical components and the body of the automobile by itself. Detailed below are some of the workings of a car frame.

Describes the proportion of the automobile

The many purposes of a car frame include defining the dimensions of an automobile. Meaning that a frame act as an outline –which is in place to support the body of a car. The body of a car along with many other components rest on the vehicle frame. Apart from some exceptions like a body-on-frame where the body of the car and the chassis are separate! In most cases the frame of the car and the chassis are integrated into a single unit upon which the body may rest.

Many other car parts regulate with the frame

The other parts and components of the automobile align with the car frame in a rigid manner, causing it to keep all the parts and component sufficiently intact with each other. The automobile is widely dependent on the car frame to keep everything properly intact from the fuel tank, transmission, engine to the chassis and other such accessories on a car. A car frame plays a vital role in keeping the car properly intact and working correctly.

Designed to keep the car safe in the case of a collision

Cars nowadays are integrated with a “crumple zone”, the purpose of a crumple zone is to absorb some of the shock or impact in the event of a head on collision. This helps keep the car frame intact and the car doesn’t receive as much damage as it normally would if there wasn’t a crumple zone in the frame. Crumple zones in return make a car safer but the frames more prone to damage. The crumple zone absorbs most of the impact of a collision and transfers the rest onto the car frame, sparing the passengers and keeping them safe.

What is car frame damage?

In the uncertain case of a collision the car frame may or may not suffer from a significant amount of damage, depending on whether there is an allocated crumple space or not, or how much the integrity of a frame might be. As a car frame is the foundation of every automobile it is considered to be key for the car frame to be free from any sort of damage. Even minor damages –if not treated properly may lead to a disaster. Frame damage, is basically damage which happens to any part of the structure or foundation of a car which is in place to keep the whole car intact –functioning properly. Generally a car’s frame is made up of; a suspension, frame rails (upper and lower), the windshield, rocker panels, and rear window frame including some others. Damage to any of these components of a vehicle is regarded as frame damage. The more severe the damage the more chances of your car’s functionality being reduced. Sometimes frame damage may even lead to more serious outcomes like crippling of the car and more such possibilities.


The outcomes or consequences of frame damage to an automobile can be countless, some of the main ones are given below:

• Ruins resale value:
Frame damage effects the resale value of a car greatly, as it has a big toll on the integrity of a car. Even after repairs sometimes the car cannot fully recover from the frame damage caused by a collision or something similar.

• Delayed air bag timing:
As the damage usually causes the crumple zone to take on a lot of impact, it may also weaken the frame and chassis. An airbag is deployed upon impact or collision of a car. But, an already damaged frame is likely to cause a delayed air bag deployment as the deployment mechanism might not be able to function properly due to the frame damage.

• Crumple zones more likely to collapse:
During a collision, the crumple zones in a car frame are the first part of the car which get effected by the impact. Due to the nature of the impact, the crumple zones absorb a lot of impact which causes them to lose integrity. This in return causes the car frame to be exposed if a collision is to occur again, in the case of a collision a crumple zone may collapse under the force of impact. This can have dire consequences, if there isn’t any crumple zone to shield the car from impact, a car frame directly exposed to a collision may prove to be very hazardous for the driver and passengers.

What is car frame repair?

Car frame repair is possible to some extent, there are many factors to take under consideration when checking if the frame damage is repairable or not. In some cases the damage may be beyond repair, meaning that the car is totaled. But, it is best to get the frame repair done by professionals as amateur improvisation may lead to further mishaps. A car frame repair isn’t a job a person should do himself but always should take the help of an expert or professional in the field. The work of a skilled technician is a must to get a car frame working like before. But, any car frame repair job won’t be able to return your car to its former glory as car frame damage is permanent in most cases.

Car frame repair options

There is a wide range of options a person can go about getting their car frame repaired. Some of which are enlisted below:

• Straighten damaged car frames
Getting your car frame straightened serves as a better option for repairing a car’s damaged frame. This task is usually done by specialized auto shops which have custom computerized machinery for the job. Straightening car frames requires aligning them accurately for best results. Some auto shops even use ultra sound technology to examine the extent of damage and proceed with the amount of needed alignment to the frame.

• Car frame welding
Another alternative to straightening damaged frame is welding the damaged frames with new pieces of metal. Although this may cause the integrity of a frame to drop significantly if not done properly! It is advised to take the services of an experienced professional in the field. A professional will be able to do the job properly giving better results. A welding job shouldn’t be done by a person himself as it requires a lot of precision welding. A car’s frame is under constant forces like side winds, torque from the drive train and impact shock. It is best to make use of the expertise of an experienced professional.


  1. I would never dream of trying to straighten my car’s frame by my self. Like you say, it can damage the structural integrity of the car if you do it wrong. I just have one question about fixing my frame though. How long does it normally take to have the frame straightened out? Does my car need to be stripped down in order to do it?

  2. You mentioned that a car frame works in many ways from keeping the whole body of the vehicle intact to withstanding aerodynamic forces of wind and torque from the drive train. My brother called me this morning because while on the way to work he was hit by another car and his car rolled a couple of times. How do they determine if the frame can be repaired or not? Finding a frame auto body repair shop might be his best option.


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