Hitting a curb can cause significant damage to your vehicle, including frame damage. Frame damage can be frightening, as it can lead to a host of other damage to your vehicle. Due to a curb hit, your car can damage structurally and can negatively impact suspension, brakes, alignment, and other parts. Above all, damage to the frame reduces the structural activity and makes the car more difficult to drive. How can hitting a curb cause frame damage? We will explore it in detail here!
Can Hitting a Curb Cause Frame Damage?
Yes, hitting a curb causes frame damage. We know, Frame damage on a car means damage to important parts of a car that support the whole car’s body structure. Any damage in the car’s core section that supports the fenders, body, trunk, roof, hood, wheel wells, and engine compartment can be considered Frame Damage.
Frame damage can happen by a collision, curb hit, with an object or another vehicle. While on the seat you might think it is just a few dents or scratches, but the real thing is that you could experience that your vehicle’s frame is actually damaged.
How to Check Frame Damage?
Either you can check frame damage by yourself or the best thing is you can bring the car to the service center for inspection. The service center will see if there is any major damage, you just got witnessed. If you prefer to check yourself, see the following damage steps.
- See under the vehicle, if there is any bending frame
- See the signs of rust, cracks, and creases in the exterior
- Does the vehicle’s door close properly, or is there any issue?
- Does your car cracking, squeaking, or rubbing noises when driving?
- Look for the signs of uneven suspension or shock wear
- See any uneven tire wear damage
- See all car’s parts fit properly or any uneven issue
What Happens When Your Car’s Frame is Damaged?
Generally, a non-straightening frame is the biggest problem in frame damage. If a car’s frame is bent by a small amount, it can cause your car to drive crooked. Bent frame damage can reduce the Vehicle’s resale value and also can impact the vehicle’s operations.
Also, see if your vehicle looks like driving sideways, maybe it has a bent frame. Additionally, repaired frames never are accurate and strong as they were in the past. Frame damage is a major concern on your end. Mostly, it is better to buy a new car rather than replace the frame part.
However, several damages may depend on the type of frame damage and the degree of damage. It would be great if you get the estimated price of repair by analyzing multiple repair shops. Then compare the price and the cost of buying a new car at cheap prices. Understand which option will be the best fit for you.
What Should I Do If I Hit a Curb?
If you suddenly hit a curb unintentionally, don’t panic. Follow these steps any time, you hit a curb-
- Check all tires and wheels for damage such as dents, scratches, chips
- Check the undercarriage and front end for damage
- Test the steering to ensure, you can drive straightly with a minimum wheel control
- Take a picture of any damage, if you want to file a claim
- If your car and curb are seriously damaged due to a collision, inform the police and the insurance company
Finally, go for an auto body shop repair to fix all damages, and make your car as like before.
7 Possible Damages After Hitting a Curb
When you hit a curb that results in serious problems in your vehicle. Can hitting a curb cause frame damage? Curb hits not only can damage frames but also structural damage, control arm damage, oil pan damage, steering knuckle, rims, and exhaust system damage are common in this case. Let’s explore them!
1. Tie Rod Damage
A tie rod is a crucial part of your vehicle’s steering system. It helps with a smooth ride in good and bad road conditions. The tie rod connects the steering rack to the knuckle. It not only helps to move the wheels but turns your vehicle as much as possible. Steering vehicles would be impossible without rods. Normal tear and wear can cause tie rod issues.
Accidents and driving hazards like potholes can cause Tie rod damage. When the tie rod is damaged, you will see steering wheel issues such as vibrating, shaking, and uncontrolled steering wheel. The vibration will increase when you speed up the car or take turns. Here are a few signs, that your vehicle’s tie rods are going to damage soon-
- You recently Hit a Curb, Pothole, or other obstruction
- Uneven tire wear
- Vehicle alignments are poor
- Steering is not responsive
- Shaking and clunking noises
- Wheel is loose when a car is packed up
- Vehicle Vibrates
2. Control Arm Damage
Control arms are core components of a car’s suspension system and build a connection between the front wheel and the vehicle’s frame. It allows drivers to steer a car. A vehicle’s control arms can be damaged when you hit a curb. 3 types of damage can happen in the control arm: bushing damage, frame damage, and ball joint damage.
For frame damage, you may face extreme flexing, rust, breakage from collision, and forceful impact. The bushing can result over time due to tear and wear. And ball joints are prone to wear and tear or even fracture because moving parts are constantly in contact.
Above all, control arm damage may experience some bigger issues such as wandering steering wheel, vehicle vibration, misalignment, unusual grinding noise, wobbly wheels, uneven tire tread wear, fluctuations in braking and many more. In this case, control arm replacement is mandatory. Here are a few symptoms of your vehicle’s control arm damage-
- Hitting a curb
- Unusual road noises
- Uneven tire wear
- Unresponsive steering
- Excessive vibration
- Erratic handling
3. Steering Knuckle Damage
In the steering system, knuckle damage is a serious problem that you need to fix as soon as possible. Without a steering knuckle, you can’t turn the wheels. Knuckles can be damaged during hitting a curb or a deep pothole, and a crash or collision. This damage can change suspension style, causing a crooked steering wheel, wandering steering feels while running a car straight, or steering bind.
Overtightening a ball joint or tie rod end, CV axle failure, or wheel bearing are also a cause of knuckle damage. Steering knuckle damage results in difficulty in steering, uncomfortable handling, low vehicle performance on the road, and many more. Here are potential signs of your vehicle’s steering knuckle damage-
- You just hit a curb
- Uneven tire wear
- Noises when turning a car
- Shaking the steering wheel
- Vehicle running in the side instead of going straight
- Crooked steering when driving straight
4. Wheel Rims Damage
Can hitting a curb damage a wheel bearing? Yes, probably. Wheel damage is always unfortunate, every driver may face it on the road. No matter if you are experienced in driving while making a tight turn, suddenly you may hear a horrible scraping sound from the wheel steering curb. Hitting a curb causes rim damage. It causes structural damage like chunking, bending, cracking, etc.
Rim damage is annoying and frustrating in all ways. However, there is 3 common wheel damage we see. Also, they have differences in severity and cost to repair. Some problems with your wheels may pose a serious safety risk and require prompt attention to ensure the continued safe operation of your vehicle.
For example, Curb rash problems result in the vehicle’s structural damage to wheels such as chunking, cracking, severe gouging, etc. Here are common causes of wheel damage, we see.
- Road debris
- Brake Dust
- Flat tires
- Cleaning products
- Salted roads
- Wheel pitting
- Pothole damage caused by hitting a curb
- Curb/Kerb Rash due to tight turn
- Wheel corrosion due to curb damage, stone chips
5. Tire Damage
Tires are the most important part of a vehicle. They take most of the damage and protect other parts. But, constantly hitting a curb or pothole can cause tire damage. No matter whether the tire is expensive and quality full, hitting a curb certainly damages the tire strength and forces you to buy new tires.
Tire damage depends on when hitting a curb at high speed, the angle of impact, and the type of curb sharp. In some cases, tires look fine, but due to the sharp curb, eventually, they will damage when you speed up the car regularly. Curb hits also weaken the sidewall of tires and compromise the total performance.
Also, the tire may blow out when you hit a curb but it depends on impact. After hitting a curb, the tire can take so much pressure. Consider checking the tire pressure monitoring system and see if the tire lost pressure. Here are a few signs and common causes of tire damage, we see.
- Hitting a curb
- Uneven Tire Wear
- Noise When Driving
- Bulges or Cracks
- Air pressure issue
- Bubbles or Blisters
- Tire Age
- Gashes in the Sidewall
6. Suspension Damage
Suspension damage often goes unnoticed until it’s too late. Without proper maintenance, this damage can be serious. The suspension is a crucial part of your car that connects the frame to the wheels, and the task of the suspension is to absorb any shocks from uneven road surfaces, allowing for a more comfortable journey.
Due to overtime and regular use, suspension components can be worn, especially if you drive the car on rough roads or drive off-road. Suspension can also be damaged due to serious or minor curb hits. Here are a few signs and common causes of suspension damage, we see.
- Loose handling
- Vehicle bouncing
- Vehicle leans when parked
- Squeaking, knocking, clanking noises
- Uncomfortable ride
7. Oil Pan Damage
Oil pan damage on a car can result from hitting a curb. While this may not seem serious, it can result in major issues and costly repairs. You may find that there are leaks or other damage that could be expensive to repair. The oil pan itself can be cracked and punctured, which allows oil to leak out.
This can cause other damage or problems with vital parts of the engine. You may not see any sign of damage, and the problem may still exist and will trouble you sooner or later. It is important to take your car to a mechanic asap, after hitting a curb. Here are a few signs and common causes of oil pan damage, we see.
- Oil puddles under the car
- Leaks around the oil drain plug
- Visible damage to the oil pan
- Smoking engine
- Overheat engine
- Low oil level
- Burning oil smell
Will Hitting a Curb Affect Your Car Totaling?
It is possible to total your car, after hitting a curb, while you are driving at high speed. But, several parts such as the car’s wheel, frame, and tires may get damaged due to hitting a curb. Though, car insurance allows tire damage to be recovered after hitting a curb. If more parts such as wheels are bent, alignment damage, or other serious damage happens to your car, after a curb collision.
This can impact your car’s steering. These damages are highly insecure to driving the vehicle comfortably. So, your car’s total possibility will be reduced. However, before totaling your car, do check for car damage after hitting a curb.
What If a Car Hit a Curb But No Damage?
If your car hits a curb but has no visible damage, you should take the situation seriously. There is much more unforeseen damage, your car can experience. It happens when the car has been traveling at a lower speed, but the possibility is that the car’s internal parts may have damage.
Also, be sure to check the alignment of the car as hitting a curb can knock the wheel’s alignment inside. Bumping into the curb can cause little or no car damage and will not be considered an accident. But, force and constant curb hits may damage your car’s part and it will be treated as an accident.
In this case, auto collision coverage may help you to cover the curb hit damage. If you hit the curb and it damages the car’s part by the impact, liability coverage may pay you the repair cost to the curb and other damage.
What Happens When You Hit a Curb Slowly?
When you hit a curb slowly, you might be wondering what you should do in response. The result can depend on the car you are driving, and what angle you just hit the curb. The damage severity and type will vary from car to car. For example, Hitting a curb head at 5 mph with a Sedan can damage minor suspension in the engine and transmission.
Even if you hit the curb slowly, you could have damaged your tires, rims, brakes, or engine oil. Hitting a curb slowly can also lose tire air pressure. Be sure to check, each tire has sufficient air pressure. So that, you can drive the car safely. Visible or invisible damage, you have to seek out mechanic help to have it checked. It’s good practice as the best driver.
Can Hitting a Curb Bend Your Frame?
Yes, hitting a curb can certainly bend your frame. It can break a wheel or split the rim. If the frame is bent, the effects can be much worse than just a broken wheel or split rim. The frame needs to remain true for the entire car to stay aligned correctly and any imperfection can cause it to be unbalanced.
Even if the frame is only bent a few millimeters, the difference can be huge and cause a dramatic change in the way the car drives. The consequences of a bent frame due to curbing can be dangerous, as the car can be more difficult to control. Sometimes, it is hard to fix frame damage, and dangerous to drive in that situation. Better to replace or buy a new car!
Can a Fender Bender Cause Frame Damage?
A fender bender can certainly cause frame damage, depending on the severity of the accident. Fender benders are known to cause frame damage and lead to the weakened structure of a car. Damage to the frame can be particularly concerning when it comes to vehicles with unibody frames, as the frame is the main structure of the car. Excessive frame damage in this type of vehicle could lead to safety issues or make it un-roadworthy.
In conclusion, can hitting a curb cause frame damage. Yes, hitting a curb has the potential to cause frame damage to your vehicle. The damage impact depends on vehicle size, speed, angles, and distance between the curb and the vehicle. Receiving an alignment at a professional shop will help you determine if there is frame damage or misalignment. If frame damage is found, it is important to have it taken to an experienced mechanic for repair as it can greatly reduce the safety and integrity of your vehicle.
He is a passionate automotive writer with a deep understanding of cars and mechanics. With hands-on experience, John offers a knowledgeable perspective on the automotive repair and tips. Whether you’re a seasoned or regular driver, John’s articles are your go-to resource for all things.