What Is Car Frame Damage?

by Lee Grayson
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Cars are constructed on a frame or assembled using a unibody structure, according to Carfax Vehicle History Reports. The reporting agency defines auto frame damage as the compromise of "any component designed to provide structural integrity."


The earliest car design through the 1980s used a frame to hold the parts and pieces together. A unibody construction is used for modern autos.


The frame component of a vehicle includes suspension mountings, lower and upper frame rails. The "frame" of a unibody model includes the windscreen, rocker panels, rear window frames and the A, B and C car pillars, according to Carfax.


Damage to any of the bolted features on a car is generally considered to be frame damage.


Frame damage is not always apparent and an auto repair expert must be consulted to evaluate the extent of frame damage after an accident. The Auto Channel reported in 2005 that "hundreds of thousands of cars on the road right now will fail to properly protect" due to damaged or faulty frames.

Expert Insight

Carfax states that damage to the car frame reduces the chance that the auto can protect the driver and occupants during an accident. The agency recommends avoiding purchasing a used car that has frame damage.

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