If you were recently rear-ended or you rear-ended someone else at a low speed, the damages to your bumper may seem superficial. Unfortunately, even a small impact can cause major problems with your bumper. For the sake of both safety and the value of your car, have a body shop professional inspect the vehicle following any type of collision.
1. Hidden Damages
Not every rear-end bump results in visible damage, but you could still have hidden problems from the collision. The type of damage depends on the speed, intensity, and angle of the impact.
The most concerning hidden damage is to the frame of your vehicle. An impact at the right point on the bumper can cause the single-piece frame, called a unibody, to warp. This can affect everything from gas mileage to ease of handling. Your repair service should be able to pull it back into shape as long as the bend is not too severe.
It does not take a hard hit to mess up your car’s alignment, especially if the bumper is struck at an angle. Alignment issues can cause pulling to one side and a shaking steering wheel. Left unaddressed, the poor alignment wears down tires and other components prematurely. Fortunately, re-aligning the wheels is a simple repair task.
2. Cosmetic Issues
Damage to the paint and bumper cover may not affect how well the car drives, but it is a cosmetic issue that can compromise the value of your vehicle. Cosmetic issues can also lead to other problems if you do not fix them.
Many modern cars have a decorative plastic bumper cover over the actual utilitarian bumper. A minor collision can break some of the clips that hold the bumper in place. An improperly secured bumper can come loose as you drive, posing a hazard to you or to other drivers — especially in the event it falls off completely while you are in motion.
Rust and Corrosion
Any damage that reveals bare metal increases the chances of moisture exposure that leads to corrosion and rust formation, which will slowly eat away at the metal. For cars with metal bumpers, rust becomes a concern if the chrome or coating on the metal has scratches or dents. Plastic bumper covers can also push into trunks or fenders, causing paint damage that allows moisture penetration into the metal.
3. Safety Concerns
Chances are you want your car to be safe, especially when transporting friends and family. Minor rear-end collisions can compromise some of the safety features of your vehicle.
Bumpers can contain a variety of sensors. Rear bumpers may contain proximity sensors to aid with things like backing up, while front bumpers have airbag sensors. Damage to these sensors can cause them to malfunction in unsafe ways. For example, your airbags may fail to go off when you need them, or they may go off when they should not because they no longer align properly.
A visit to the mechanic following a collision to have them check the sensors is always a good idea.
Sometimes, failure to repair what appears to be minor cosmetic damage could have catastrophic effects in the event of another accident. Sometimes, damage occurs that you can’t see to the mounts or bolts that hold the functional bumper in place beneath the bumper cover, for example. Cracks or bends in these mounts mean the bumper can’t withstand as hard of an impact in the future, thus rendering it less safe.
Contact Best Collision today if you have just been in a minor accident.