When you get into a minor car accident, the external body damage may not seem too bad. A slight crumple in the hood, some scratched paint, a dented bumper or a crushed side door might seem like easy body repairs that could be repaired in a few days or weeks.
Sometimes you might drive away without even seeing a body shop, thinking you’ll just deal with the cosmetic damage. However, sometimes the most expensive and drastic damage is inside the car, even if exterior damage seems minor.
Here are some common problems that can come after a minor accident.
Radiator Damage and Leaking Fluids
When you have a front end collision, the force of the collision may be greater than you realize. The weight of the car and the object you hit can jostle things around. You might have a leaking reservoir (the plastic container that holds water or antifreeze) or slight damage to the radiator itself. Connecting lines may be punctured or leak.
If your car is overheating or you find leaked fluid on your garage floor, your car has more damage than some dents and scratches.
Power steering fluid can also leak after an accident if a line got nicked. Many people don’t notice right away because the car drives fine in the short term after the accident. As the fluid drains out, handling become more challenging.
Cracked or Broken Air Conditioning Compressor
Having trouble getting your air conditioning to work? The compressor is often buried deep inside the mechanics of your car, but like dominos, one thing hits another thing until damage affects the compressor or coolant lines.
This is an expensive repair that your insurance will cover if you’re involved in a collision. If you put off the repair, however, you may ruin your chance to get your AC working properly without having to put out the money yourself.
Poor Alignment and Suspension
Fender bender accidents may not affect the appearance of your tires, but even minor collisions can affect both the alignment and suspension of your vehicle. Suspension can be ruined when dampers begin to leak, when springs break or when control arms break.
You’ll notice suspension trouble because you’ll have more trouble with bouncing when driving on bumpy terrain. You’ll also feel like the vehicle does not handle as well, especially when starting, stopping or making precise turns.
Another common trouble that can come from a minor accident is alignment issues. When your tires are properly aligned, the tires will wear evenly and you’ll get better mileage. When alignment is poor, your steering wheel will pull, so you have to constantly apply force to drive in a straight line.
Bad alignment can affect your suspension over time. Suspension repairs are more involved than correcting alignment, so you should get alignment troubles fixed as soon as you can after an accident.
Oil should be self-contained within the engine components to work as a lubricant. Gaskets can leak after an accident, resulting in a strong smell of burning oil when you drive. Piston rings can also leak, which is what causes oil clouds from your exhaust.
Burning oil can lead to other engine damages and depletes your oil so your engine doesn’t have the correct fluid levels for lubrication. If you don’t stay on top of replenishing oil, your engine will seize and your car may not even be worth repairing.
Airbags may not deploy in a minor collision, but that doesn’t mean they are still ready in case something worse happens down the line. Crash sensors can sometimes be affected during minor crashes. Usually, an airbag light will show on your dashboard if this is the case.
Because the safety of your vehicle is not guaranteed if the airbags are not in working order, a quick check after a collision is a good idea.
Finally, you should realize that driving around with body damage can also be risky for the life of your vehicle. Your doors, bumpers, and hood are designed to react in a particular way after an accident. If you’re in another collision, the buffer these car parts are designed to provide will not be as effective, increasing the risk of injury to riders in the car.
Small scratches, dents, and dings can mean rust trouble in the future and affect the resale value of your car. Damage to side mirrors affects your awareness on the road. Even small issues can turn into bigger problems weeks, months or years later if they are not immediately addressed by car accident repair professionals.
You don’t want to put off getting your car assessed by a professional if you’ve been in a collision. For more information on getting your car assessed after a minor accident, contact us at Central Body Company, Inc.