January 8th, 2020 by Fix Auto USA
If damage occurs to the inner or outer frame of your car or truck, auto frame repair is necessary to get your vehicle back in working order. Many automobile owners wonder how auto frame repair works. In this post, we are going to go behind the scenes a little bit and focus on the ins and outs of auto frame repair.
Types of Vehicle Frames
Before we talk about how auto frame repair works, we need to mention the two basic types of frame design: unibody and body-on-frame.
During the first half of the twentieth century, vehicles were not designed the way they are today. Most vehicles did not have unibody frames. That means, the vehicle’s body was separate from the chassis. As a result, the structural integrity of those vehicles was pretty darn weak.
These days, most vehicles are better in terms of structural integrity. Unibody frames are common now. Cars are structurally stronger because in most cases, the cabin is incorporated into the frame.
There are still some models of trucks and SUVs that have body-on-frame designs. Those models are not very good in terms of safety, because the impact of a collision is absorbed by the cabin. Companies also have to spend more to produce them, but they are easier to repair.
Identification of Damage
The identification of auto frame damage after an accident may not be easy if the damage is minor. However, an experienced technician can do that by measuring certain points of the chassis.
There are some areas of a vehicle—known as crumple zones—that are designed to save people in a collision. When there is a collision, crumple zones absorb the energy of the collision’s impact and crush, resulting in fewer fatalities to passengers.
But crumple zones have a downside—they make your frame more fragile. Even low-speed collisions may result in big damage.
How Auto Frame Repair is Performed
The process of auto frame repair depends on the type of the frame and the extent of the damage.
An auto frame repair machine has a large platform and a couple of rotatable towers. Clamps are used to bolt a vehicle on the platform, and chains are used to attach the damaged parts to the towers.
In most cases, mechanics use hydraulics and torque to straighten the frame. These machines are very useful for pulling and pushing a damaged frame to give it its original shape. For precision, some technicians even use advanced technologies such as a laser measurement system.
After dismantling the vehicle, a technician places the damaged frame on the platform. The frame is bolted down in such a way that it becomes immovable. Determining the areas to be fixed, technicians attach chains to specific points on the frame.
The technician then slowly increases the tension on the chain by operating the hydraulic equipment. When the laser diagnostics provide confirmation of the correct realignment of the frame, the towers are rotated and the chains are attached to other areas of the frame that need to be straightened. The process continues until the entire frame has returned to factory specifications.
A successful auto frame repair requires precise alignment of the frame because improper alignment can lead to other serious issues including faster tire wear, uneven steering, and poor safety.
Frame damage should not be taken lightly. Although many automobile technicians can perform auto frame repair pretty well, accurate straightening and repair require modern technology and the expert attention of experienced technicians.
This blog post was contributed by Fix Auto Orangevale, a leading industry expert and collision repair shop servicing the Sacramento area including Folsom, Fair Oaks, and Roseville.