Five Signs of Hidden Damage After a Collision

You’ve probably been there before — a minor vehicle collision happens, and you assess the car’s exterior, focusing on the visible scuffs and dents. You let out a sigh of resignation and carry on with your day, assuming that everything else is functioning normally.

However, the truth is that hidden damage often lies beneath the surface, silently impacting your vehicle’s performance.

These unnoticed issues can escalate into major problems down the line, catching you off guard and causing unexpected stress.

However, by staying vigilant and being aware of the signs of hidden damage, you can proactively address any issues and maintain the overall condition of your vehicle.

Signs of Hidden Damage

Getting your vehicle checked for hidden damage is an essential step in the [Using anchor text “auto repair process“, please insert internal link to soon-to-be-published Shop Talk article: Collision Repair - The Auto Body Repair Process and What You Need to Know] to ensure that all issues are identified and addressed.

Hidden car damage can manifest in various forms, affecting the vehicle's frame, components, or other vital functions. In fact, you may even be able to notice some of the signs yourself.

The five main signs of hidden damage include:

The Trunk, Doors, or Hood Won't Open or Close

In a rear-end collision, the impact typically targets your vehicle's trunk or rear bumper. The extent of damage can vary from minor to severe, depending on the angle and speed of the crash.

While some damage may be visible, you may be unaware of the real damage the impact has caused.

Some signs of hidden trunk or bumper damage include:

  • Difficulty in opening or closing the trunk
  • Change or resistance in the smoothness of the trunk’s operation
  • Difficulty securing or unlocking the trunk
  • Moisture accumulation
  • Unexpectedly opening lid

It’s best to consult a qualified repair shop with expertise in post-accident inspections to ensure accurate diagnosis and effective repairs.

Uneven Tire Wear

Uneven tire wear is a common sign of various vehicle issues. It typically points to vehicle misalignment that requires readjustment. However, it could also be a sign of underlying body damage that may result from a minor collision.

One indication of such damage is an off-center steering wheel, even when driving straight. This steering wheel misalignment suggests that the car’s structure has been affected, compromising its overall integrity.

Ignoring alignment problems is not a good idea and can lead to more complications in the future. It also wears down the brakes, tires, suspension, and other components faster than they should.

It is crucial to seek professional evaluation and address any body damage to prevent further issues.

Lights Flickering or Dead

Even a fender bender can disrupt the delicate wiring and connections within the electrical system. The impact can loosen the wires connecting your brake, headlights, tail lights, and other electrical components.

Malfunctioning or flickering lights are clear indicators of an electric system issue. These not only compromise your visibility while driving but can also impact other systems in your vehicle.

Furthermore, electric damage from a collision can also affect your vehicle’s sound system or lead to battery failure.

If you notice any of these signs, it is vital to have your vehicle’s electrical components professionally inspected to ensure optimal performance and safety.

Check Engine Light On

If you find your car’s engine light blinking at you, it's telling you something isn’t right and needs fixing.

Many vehicles have their transmission components located in the back of the car, away from the engine. Even a minor rear-end collision can damage your engine and its parts.

In such circumstances, it is recommended to promptly take your vehicle to a reputable auto repair shop for a complete external and internal inspection.

Leaking Fluids

A properly functioning car should not have excess fluid leaks. Even a tiny leak can indicate the presence of internal collision damage.

If you notice a transmission fluid leak, there may be damage within the transmission system, which enables smooth gear shifting and overall drivability. A coolant leak, on the other hand, suggests potential damage to the radiator or hoses, which are crucial for regulating engine temperature.

Leaking brake fluid is another concerning sign as it compromises your vehicle's braking capability, a critical safety component.

Fluid leaks should never be taken lightly, as they can impact the performance and safety of your vehicle.

If you find a puddle of fluid near your car, you should immediately get it assessed by a professional. The sooner you identify the source of the leak, the better chances you have of restoring your vehicle’s condition and protecting it from long-term damage.

The Importance of Post-Collision Inspection

Why wait for the signs of hidden damage to show up? When it comes to a precious investment like your car, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

After a collision, always ensure your vehicle is promptly checked for hidden damage.

At Caliber Collision Center, our qualified technicians have the expertise and knowledge to assess various components of your car, including the body structure, alignment, suspension, electrical systems, and more. To ensure there are no hidden damages, they will carefully examine all areas that may not be immediately visible.

By getting your vehicle checked and repaired on time, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are maintaining your car’s safety, reliability, and value. To start the repair process, fill out an online estimate