If you’ve been involved in a fender bender, it’s important to assess the damage thoroughly. There may only be a few dents on the outside, but often there can be extensive internal damage that you may not notice at first.
We’ve put together a little list of essential checks to conduct after any seemingly minor car accidents you may experience. If you want to continue driving a safe vehicle, be ready to do a little automobile detective work!
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1. Check your battery
Often a minor incident can cause a jarring of your car battery. If your car battery shifts it can severely decrease its lifespan. Everything might seem ok immediately after the accident, but can quickly turn a few days on, when you go to hop in your car, and the battery is dead. If you’re unsure what you’re looking for, it’s best to take your car to the mechanic after an accident. A professional will be able to assess the state of your battery and advise you on repairs or alterations. This will save you from the grief of being unexpectedly late to work or without a working car more than a week.
2. Check for leaks
Make sure to thoroughly check all tubes and containers for leaks or cracks. This means looking under the hood as well as under the body of your car. Often you won’t notice leaks until they’re pooled on the garage floor. It’s essential to look for cracks so that potential leaks can be identified before they become unsafe.
3. Double check the frame
The damage to the car shell is often the first thing noticed after an accident. But even if there only seems to be a few minor dents, the collision impact can bend the frame of your car. This will only get worse over time and cause increasingly costly repairs down the track. Identify a bent frame by measuring the distance between each of the tyres and your wheel well. If the distance is not the same, this is a key indicator that your frame is bent and will need professional attention.
4. Listen and smell
Don’t underestimate your ears or your nose. Look out for any strange sounds such as rattling or ticking. If anything smells unusual (other than those burger wrappers that have been hanging in your back seat for a few weeks) or the smell of petrol is more pungent than usual, this may also be an indicator that you have a leak somewhere.
5. Look under the flooring of your boot
In many cars, the spare tyre is stored under the flooring of the boot. Make sure you lift this up and have a good look at your frame underneath. Often, while there’s only scratches or small dents on your bumper or the rear of your car, the frame can be bent or warped in hidden places.
6. Run your hands along your tyre
Get down on your hands and knees and really suss out the traction on your tyres. If you’ve had to brake really hard, your tyres may be balding. This will increase the likelihood of skidding next time you need to brake, especially in wet weather.
7. Never ignore your engine light
Many people don’t realise that it can take a few days for your car’s computer to check everything and reset itself. If the engine light starts flickering, take it to a mechanic ASAP for evaluation.
Remember that it’s better to be safe than sorry after a minor accident! Components of your car may shift, buckle or leak, and while these may seem like non-urgent repairs, they can severely decrease the lifespan of your car. Not to mention increase the repairs bills down the track!