Car accidents, even seemingly minor ones, are never fun. Between making car insurance claims and ensuring your car is OK, a fender bender is certainly an inconvenience. And, unfortunately, it may not be over after you drive away! Learn what issues could crop up after a fender bender and why it's important to take your vehicle in for an inspection.
Considering a pothole can put your vehicle's alignment out of whack, it's not surprising that a fender bender can, too. Wheel misalignment can cause your car to pull or drift to one side as you drive. It can also lead to premature tire wear, an off-center steering wheel when driving straight, and you may even notice that one or more of your wheels visibly leans in or out whenever your vehicle is parked or in motion.
Can a fender bender cause engine damage? The answer is, maybe. Even if your car seems to be operating smoothly, small engine issues that go unnoticed can snowball into bigger, more consequential problems. Whether your check engine light illuminates or not after a fender bender, it's important to get a complete vehicle inspection to stay ahead of potentially costly issues.
Exhaust Pipe Damage
While you're checking out your car's bumper and paint job, thoroughly examine your exhaust system as well. This system has the crucial task of carrying exhaust gases away from your engine, and a restriction or break in the system may have a serious impact on your ride.
Exhaust system issues can reduce engine performance, cause higher fuel consumption, or lead to increased noise levels. Fortunately, a complete vehicle inspection at Firestone Complete Auto Care includes a visual inspection of your vehicle's exhaust system.
Electrical System Damage
A fender bender could potentially damage parts of your vehicle's electrical wiring harness or important sensors and connectors. This can cause a wide variety of concerns, from issues with your ABS or ADAS systems to problems with your ambient air temperature sensor and HVAC system. If you notice any of your car's electrical features or systems acting funny or not working at all, you will need to have these components inspected.
If you notice that your ride isn't quite as smooth as it used to be pre-fender bender, there may be something wrong with your suspension system. The biggest indicators of this include a bumpier or noisier ride, car pull, or you may have difficulty steering. Either way, this issue warrants an examination from the professionals — sooner rather than later. Get a steering and suspension check by the pros at Firestone Complete Auto Care as soon as you notice these potential problems.
Damage to your vehicle's frame might not be immediately evident, but that doesn't mean it's not a major problem to address. Your car's frame is a structural support system for your ride, and a bent frame or subframe caused by a fender bender can compromise that entire support system. A damaged frame can put you at increased risk in the event of another accident by affecting how well your vehicle absorbs impact, or it could impede the proper functioning and deployment of your airbags in a crash.
What to Do After a Fender Bender
It feels like a stroke of good luck to drive away from a fender bender without colossal damage, but that good luck can be short-lived. Don't let a fender bender cause unnecessary issues down the road! Catch any fender bender car repair problems early by scheduling a complete vehicle inspection at your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care.