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The Consequence of Vehicle Frame Damage

Examiner Article

It may surprise you to know that any frame damage on a vehicle is irreversible! Although a damaged frame can be pulled back to its original dimensions, once the structural integrity of any frame member has been compromised the character of the metal is forever changed. This is so important to understand because it is literally the difference between life or death in many cases. To illustrate this, a vehicle's frame is often compared to an aluminum soda can. When the can is new and undamaged it is strong and hard to crush but if the can was crushed, even slightly, and then pulled back to it's original shape it has now been severely weakened and will then crush easily. The same is true with automobile frames. But that's just the beginning of the story....

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Attempting to "Repair" the Unibody - Would you Buy this Car?

Imagine this Frame Being the Soda Can Described in the Article Above

Unibody Vs. Frame Construction

eHow Article

While purists might consider anything but full-frame vehicles a splinter in the eye of automotive engineering, the fact is that monocoque (French for "single shell") chassis have been around nearly as long as the automobile itself. While the unibody (aka "unit body") didn't reach a state of any real respect until fairly recently, it made up for the time lapse by quickly becoming the predominant chassis type today. Unibody construction got its start not on the streets, but in the skies. You can think of a unibody chassis like a football; it's essentially hollow on the inside, deriving all of its structural rigidity from its skin and outer body. Frame chassis are more like a house, where the frame is the foundation and everything on top is just there to make the foundation useful...

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Frame vs. Unibody Vehicles


A frame or unibody provides a vehicle with structural strength. It is also used for mounting all the other systems that comprise the total car chassis. Car frame construction was used in early automobiles and is used in some types of vehicles today. In a car frames construction, the frame is made of steel and designed so that the body of the vehicle is mounted on top of it. The unibody is actually stamped out as part of the vehicle's structure. Today's passenger vehicles most commonly use unibody construction because of its ability to absorb energy during a collision...

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What Is Unibody Construction?

Tulley Collision Center

One of the most important structural elements of your vehicle is one that you cannot see, the frame. Most of today's cars are built with a unibody frame to provide greater structural integrity and absorption of impact in a collision. Unibody frames are stamped out as part of the vehicle structure. By contrast, in frame construction vehicles the frame is made of steel and designed so that the body of the vehicle is mounted on top of it. This type of construction is found more frequently on trucks. Regardless of the design, the frame of vehicle has multiple functions. First, it defines the dimension of the vehicle. The frame is what all other parts align with. Secondly, the frame is designed to provide safety in the event of a collision. It is built to bend and crumple in certain locations in order to absorb the energy of a collision and protect the vehicle occupants...

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Carmax says I have frame damage!?

Thread from ZRX Owners Association

Ok, so I have a '05 GTO. I hardly drive the thing and I'm thinking that maybe I'll sell it. So I bring it to Carmax because I want to get some sort of ballpark. So the guy comes back, and goes over the offer and says, "Oh, did you have an accident?. The appraisal comes back with:

  • Trunk Lid: Prior Paintwork
  • Left Quarter: Prior Paintwork
  • Right Quarter: Prior Repair
  • Frame: Frame Damage

Frame damage???? WTF? I bought this car new from the dealer in March of 05! I've had NO accident, and never had ANYthing done to it! The only thing that was fixed was the front passenger side seat. The sales guy brought the buyer over, they opened the trunk, and showed me the left side weld, and the right side weld on the rear quarter-panel. There was a HUGE difference. The left was clearly factory, and you could feel where the paint was added...

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How to Spot Hidden Vehicle Damage

Is Your Car a Rebuilt Wreck?


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