We buy new vehicles for many reasons:
- We want something newer, something we can rely on
- We want more features, upgrades that provide more convenience
- We want something larger for a growing family
When people shop for a new car, their reasons are varied. But one thing always tops every new car shopper’s list: Safety first.
We don’t plan on getting into an accident. Yet statistics show it happens all too frequently.
- 6 million cars are involved in an accident every year
- 3 million people are injured in car accidents every year
And when it happens to you, you scramble to solve the: What’s next?
Cars today are expensive. Depending on age and severity of the accident will determine the next step you take with your car.
Can you still drive it? Will it be totaled? Is it still safe to drive?
No matter how much damage your car sustains in an accident, it’s important to let a trained mechanic analyze every system. This ensures that a hidden problem won’t grow into a bigger hazard down the road. It catches major and minor issues that may have been jarred loose in the crash.
Here are a few things that need checking out.
Hidden body damage
After a collision, even if you can’t see any damage from a quick visual check, there might be critical parts and components affected by the accident. For example, plastic bumpers utilize multiple sensors essential for safely operating your vehicle.
Accidents can jar loose critical components as the various systems sway and move. Your vehicle may seem to operate without issue as you drive away from the altercation. Yet even minor issues can quickly escalate, and risk increasing repair bills as the damage grows in severity.
Schedule an inspection with an experienced, trained mechanic to thoroughly examine the entire vehicle, and find and correct these problems. It’s the best way to ensure your safety after recovering from the accident.
Just because your dashboard lights haven’t illuminated, doesn’t mean these diagnostic systems weren’t impacted in the crash. They might not light up the icons on your dashboard, but if the sensors are readjusted, they won’t alert you to potential problems while driving.
A reputable mechanic will run a thorough diagnostic scan to detect trouble codes that may have been triggered by the accident. Even hitting a pothole or curb can cause damage that might remain invisible to you, but can be picked up through diagnostics. They’ll hook a data link to the onboard system, run the engine, and preview live data as it tests the circuits.
Sensors and assistance programs
Today’s modern vehicles use sensors for many different operations. Sensors to help you while you’re driving. Sensors to help you navigate parking.
Cars use highly tuned computerized programs to ensure your safety at all times. Many of the systems work without you giving them much thought. These sophisticated systems include sensors, cameras, and radar that constantly monitors your car.
Yet a single jolt can be enough to knock any number of the sensors loose. A tap to your bumper could throw a camera angle out of alignment. A bump to the side can create a problem with airbag deployment. The trouble is, you’ll never know until you need them the most.
Suddenly, your car may start acting up. It pulls to the left when you’re driving down the highway. The brakes seem jumpy even though they were recently replaced.
It might not be a part at all. It might be a sensor out of alignment. A complete sensor check should occur even with minor damage from an accident. It might not be apparent just by looking at your car, but the only way to know for sure is for a trained professional to perform an inspection.
If you’ve ever hit a pothole and felt something isn’t quite right, you know how vulnerable your vehicle can be. Even small bumps in the road can shake loose parts and components, making your vehicle shake, rattle, and roll in ways it never did before.
The first rule after an accident is to listen to every noise your car makes. If you notice handling issues, smell a strange scent, or see a change in the performance, it’s time to schedule an inspection.
You can see damage to a wheel or tire. It’s visible. It’s apparent. Maybe the tire goes flat, or the wheel is dented.
You can’t see damage to the undercarriage or the suspension system. Some of the issues may occur deep within the components. Small fluctuations can have a significant impact on the way a car drives. You might not notice it until it puts your safety at risk.
You can see when a tire is flat or a wheel is dented, but you can’t see how it’s connected to the vehicle. At a minimum, a thorough wheel check will allow a mechanic to balance and align the wheels. Even everyday driving can impact alignment.
When a vehicle drives unevenly, the steering wheel feels a bit shaky, or you notice vibrations that impact comfort, it’s most likely the alignment that’s affected. Wheel alignment is a simple task that will allow a mechanic to give the entire suspension system a once-over, and ensure everything is working well.
Headlights and taillights
Headlights and taillights should all be inspected regularly, especially after an accident. It’s easy to notice if they’ve been crushed or broken. What’s more difficult is seeing if they’re misaligned. You should also check out the blinkers. Driving with misguided or failed headlights or taillights could lead to an even more serious accident if not properly addressed.
Have an accident? Car maintenance is essential to get back on the road
Your first step after any accident is to ensure the safety of you, your passengers, and anyone else involved. The second step should be to contact the authorities, including police and insurance agents.
If your car is still drivable and you drive it away, don’t assume everything is okay. The only way to be sure every system is still working well is to schedule an inspection with a trained mechanic. It’s the best way to ensure every system is working well, and keep everyone safe inside your car as you continue to drive.
How can we help you ensure your car is safe and secure?