Scroll Top

Does Frame Damage Mean My Car is Totaled?

In the United States, over 6.4 million auto accidents occur yearly. That’s one crash every five seconds! Together, they cost the U.S. an estimated $230 billion annually.

In Florida alone, over 400,000 motor vehicle crashes occurred in 2021. If you’ve been in a car crash in Florida, your ride may have suffered from frame damage. Depending on how severe the collision was, your vehicle might now be declared as a total loss and become junked.

What exactly is frame damage, and how can it render a vehicle totaled? What does a totaled car even mean? Below, we created this guide as an introduction to frame damage to hopefully clear up some of these questions for you.

What is a Car Frame?

Think of a car frame as a vehicle’s skeleton. It’s your ride’s main supporting structure. All other automotive components attach to this frame and rely on it for support.

Another role a vehicle frame plays is to deal with static and dynamic loads, but not end up distorted. These loads include the car’s and passengers’ weight, torque, and impact of a collision, just to name a few.

What is Car Frame Damage?

Frame damage can affect any part of a car designed to support its structural integrity. It often results from collisions but can also be due to third-party modification. Sometimes, vandalism can also cause extensive vehicle damage. 

Depending on the extent of the frame damage, it can massively impact a car’s appearance. It can even impair a vehicle’s performance or, even worse, turn it into a road hazard.

Types of Car Frame Damage Explained

A sagging or twisted car frame can cause gaps between a vehicle’s body panels. It can result from vehicle overloading, overheating, or a collision. Left unfixed, it can cause premature wearing of tire and suspension components.

Another common type of frame damage is a mashed frame, usually caused by a collision. In this case, the frame crumples, resulting in distortion or wrinkling on the impact site.

Your ride may also sustain sway damage, a type of frame damage that occurs if one of a vehicle’s corners gets hit. It can make your car unable to drive in a straight line and cause transmission issues. A vehicle that doesn’t go straight is dangerous to you, your passengers, and other road users.

When is Frame Damage Considered Total Loss?

The term total loss or “totaled” means that a car that’s been in an accident is no longer repairable. It may also refer to a damaged vehicle that costs more to fix than what it’s worth.

The State of Florida follows the Total Loss Threshold (TLT) to determine whether a car is a total loss after a crash. The TLT in the Sunshine State is 80% or greater.

Suppose your car’s actual cash value (ACV) was $8,000 before you got into an accident. Unfortunately, the crash resulted in frame damage that cost $6,500 to repair. Since that’s over 80% of your vehicle’s ACV, it might already be a total loss.

Does Frame Damage Always Cost That Much?

Not always. Some types of damage, such as minor dents in the frame’s quarter panel, are even fixable with DIY methods.

Alternatively, you can have a professional auto body shop fix tiny dings. Depending on their size, repairs can cost as low as $50 to a few hundred dollars.

However, severe frame damage can indeed cost thousands of dollars.

One example is if the damage causes the radiator support to smash up on the engine. It can lead to engine damage severe enough to require an engine rebuild. That process, in turn, can cost several thousands of dollars.

Is Repairing Frame Damage Worth It?

It is worth fixing if the frame damage is minor and doesn’t affect the car’s structural support. That includes tiny dents and dings affecting your vehicle’s outer panels.

Damage like bent beams, compromised alignment, and crumpled panels are different. These are usually severe and can affect a vehicle’s drivability and safety. While they might be repairable, fixing them doesn’t always restore their integrity completely.

So, even if you fix your car’s frame, it may no longer be able to provide the same level of protection in future crashes.

Your Alternative: Sell Your Frame-Damaged Car

Suppose the frame damage is so bad your car is now a total loss or fixing it is too much for your budget. If so, one of your best options is to sell it to an automotive recycling center, such as All Car Buys. You can get a free quote to determine your banged-up ride’s value, and if you like the offer, schedule its pick-up.

On the pick-up day, you receive cold hard cash in exchange for your frame-damaged or totaled car. After that, your vehicle gets towed away for free, freeing up precious space in your garage.

Aside from the immediate payment, another perk to working with All Car Buys is you can sell your car as is. That means you don’t have to repair your vehicle beforehand.

Besides, the longer you own a car, the more its value depreciates. There’s also a risk of the damaged or junk car creating hazards, such as fluid leaks and attracting pests.

So, instead of holding on to that wrecked car, why not sell it to an automotive recycling center ASAP? The sooner you do, the sooner you can turn that frame-damaged or totaled vehicle into cash.

Sell Your Frame-Damaged Car Now

As you’ve learned in this guide, frame damage doesn’t always render a car totaled. However, even if the problem is fixable, it can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. There’s also the reduced collision protection of a previously damaged frame.

So, if your car’s frame sustained severe damage, it might be best to sell it to an automotive recycling center.

If you’re ready to part ways with your frame-damaged car, All Car Buys is happy to help. Please call us today for a free quote or schedule your ride’s pick-up to get cash in return.