If you drive a car, chances are that eventually, you will be in an accident. Few drivers go their entire lives without being in one. Thankfully, most people will be involved in car accidents that only cause damage to the vehicle and not to them thanks to seatbelts and airbags.
While some car damage may be minor, such as a small dent, other damage can be major. In the case of frame damage, it might even render the car unusable, or, in the definition of the insurance company, “totaled.” Some parts of a car are more prone to damage after an accident than others. Here are some examples.
Since “fender benders” are one of the most common accidents, it’s no surprise that the rear bumpers of cars are the most commonly damaged part of the frame. Take care when assessing the rear bumper damage. The part that most people think of like the bumper is only part of it. There is a layer of foam beneath the visible bumper – this is what absorbs the impact. If the foam is intact, then simply replacing the bumper cover will suffice. However, in some cases, the foam will need to be replaced as well.
Along with the rear bumpers, the trunk lid can take damage in a rear-end collision as well. If the accident is bad enough that the truck is opened, make sure to have the latch inspected. If left damaged, it can open while you’re driving and cause problems.
Another common thing that happens after car accidents, even minor ones, is that the inertia switch can trip. This can cause the car not to start after the accident because the switch cuts off power to the vehicle’s fuel line. Read your owner’s manual to see if your vehicle has an inertia switch. If it does, the manual should instruct you on how to start the car manually so you can get it to a shop.
An accident can also jar your battery. Even if the battery is new, this can cause it to cease working. You may need to replace the battery after an even minor accident.
Like bumpers, headlights and taillights are another more commonly damaged parts of a car in an accident. These lights are made of hard plastic and tend to take the brunt of the impact in a collision. If they are broken, make sure they are replaced. Most jurisdictions give out citations for head and tail lights that do not work.
“One common question is how long do you have to report an accident,” says Jason Hennessey, a marketing consultant for Miami Car Accident Lawyers. “Some people choose not to report because there’s no visible damages or injury only to find out there’s a problem later. For insurance purposes, the sooner you report it, the better. Plus, you could run into legal trouble if you wait too long to report an accident.”
These are just a few of the most commonly damaged areas of a car after an accident. Make sure that you have a qualified mechanic inspect your vehicle after an accident to ensure it is still safe.