Can Hitting a Curb Cause Frame Damage?

Hitting a curb is probably among the disturbing incidents you experience when you are driving. Some people fail the driving test because of hitting a curb, but we will not talk about that. We will talk about the effect of hitting a curb on your car’s frame.

Striking a curb can potentially bend your vehicle’s frame, resulting in wheel misalignment, loose components, suspension damage, and shock imbalance.

If you notice something different in your car’s performance after hitting a curb, that indicates something wrong that needs some fixing. It is dangerous to continue driving a vehicle with a bent frame because the wheels will never be aligned no matter how a mechanic tries to do it.

When your frame is bent, your vehicle becomes difficult to maneuver, which can cause accidents.

Should You Worry if Your Car’s Frame is Damaged?

I already mentioned how a bent car frame affects the vehicle’s maneuverability. Let’s talk more about it.

When your car is challenging to maneuver, it would be a real struggle. Your vehicle does not follow your command. Additionally, if you continue to drive a vehicle with a damaged frame, you add more damage to it.

You should be worried if you have a damaged frame. Why so? Because this could lead to unwanted accidents and will potentially cost your life. It doesn’t matter how big or small the problem is – you need to get it fixed.

When your frame is bent, your wheels may not be in their proper position. Now, this could give you another problem, particularly uneven tread wear on your tires. Perhaps you understand how costly it is to replace your set of tires.

Moreover, if your frame is bent, you will have an unresolvable alignment problem. You can never get your wheels aligned because your vehicle relies on the frame for stability and alignment. If it is compromised, then your alignment will never be correct.

With everything said, driving a vehicle with a bent frame is not safe. Therefore, it is a must that you give it some priority. Don’t settle with the obvious non-performance of your vehicle, and don’t fall into the idea of ignoring it and considering it a minor problem you can bear. Get a mechanic to look at it and 

If your car’s frame is damaged, will it total the vehicle? It may and may not, as it depends on the severity of the damage. Straightening a bent frame could be costly, depending on the severity of the damage. It can approximately cost $500 to $1000.

When your car’s frame is damaged, go to a mechanic and ask for a quote. This should give you an idea if your car is still worth repairing. If you were not running at full speed when you hit the curb, the damage should not be terrible.

Other Possible Damages After Hitting a Curb

When you hit a curb could result in many problems with your vehicle. It can damage the car’s tie rods, control arms, steering knuckle, rim, and tires.

Tie Rod Damage

Tie rods are integral parts of the car’s steering system. They play an essential role in providing you with a smooth ride in various road conditions. They allow the wheels to move up and down and side to side in a controlled action.

When the tie rod is damaged, it will give you steering wheel issues like shaking, vibrating, or excessively playing steering wheel. The vibration increases as you speed up or take turns.

Control Arm Damage

Hitting a curb could also potentially damage the vehicle’s control arms. A control arm is your suspension system’s component that connects the steering knuckle to the frame to stabilize the car. 

If your vehicle’s control arm is damaged, you will experience vibration, steering challenges, wobbly wheels, grinding noises, and some braking issues. 

Steering Knuckle Damage

As the pivot point of the steering system, damage to the steering knuckle can be very serious. The steering knuckles allow the wheels to turn. 

Some indications that you have damaged steering knuckles are uncomfortable handling, difficulty in steering, and poor performance of the vehicle on rough roads.         

Hitting a curb can damage this component and affect your car’s handling, steering, and comfort level on rougher roads.

Rim Damage

Your rims may suffer from curb rash after hitting a curb. Apart from it not being pleasant to your eyes, it may also result in structural damages to your wheels like bending, chunking, and cracking.

Curb rash can also cause dangerous structural damage to your wheels like bending, cracking, severe gouging, chunking, among other things. 

Tire Damage

Believe it or not, constantly hitting curbs will weaken your tires. The tire is composed of multiple materials. It is not pure rubber that is resilient enough to handle curbs. 

A curb hit would likely weaken the sidewall of your tires and compromise their total performance and strength. In worse cases, a tire may blow you when you hit a curb, depending on the force or impact.

Your tire may also lose some pressure. After a curb hit, you can check your tire pressure monitoring system to see if your tires lost some pressure. If it did, that should tell you to have your car checked further by a mechanic.

Also, read our review on summer tires from Falken Tires: Azenis FK510.

Can Hitting a Curb Total Your Car?

As you’ve read earlier, the answer is: It depends. It depends on the actual value of your car and the damage that it acquired. If you drive an older and highly depreciated car, it will be more likely the case if the curb hit has brought severe damage to your car’s essential components like the suspension system, the frame, the steering wheel.

If the damage is minimal, you may still be able to save your car and restore its performance. However, if the repair will cost you more or almost the same amount as the value of your vehicle, it will not make sense to get it repaired.

The suspension system of your vehicle is likely to get damaged when you hit a curb. Repairing this approximately costs between $1000 and $5000, sometimes even more.

You should avoid hitting curbs when you can as it would give you a financial headache to fix your vehicle when it is damaged. However, if you happen to bump into a curb, get your car checked by a mechanic and not wait until issues worsen.

You Hit a Curb with No Visible Damage

You hit a curb, and you did a self-check and did not see any apparent damage. Should you be complacent and consider yourself lucky?

When you hit a curb, it is ideal for you to have an expert mechanic check your vehicle to assess the damage your car may have suffered from the incident. It is the best thing to do to address any damage at an early stage.

If you did not get a chance to see a mechanic right away, try to observe your vehicle’s performance. There are noticeable symptoms that the curb hit damaged your car. These include grinding noise, vibrations, difficulty in steering, poor braking, and loss of tire pressure.

When you notice something is not right after hitting a curb, don’t waste time. Immediately see a mechanic not to worsen the issue. Don’t wait until repair becomes very costly or worse, until your car is totaled.

Is Hitting a Curb Illegal?

The best thing to do is avoid hitting a curb. But can we assure ourselves that we are not going to hit a curb? I should say, it isn’t easy. The winter season is a common reason for drivers to hit curbs because of the challenging roads.

You can lose control of the car and end up bumping on a curb. Ice and snow are the common culprits for you to lose control of your steering. The tires mounted on your vehicle also matters. 

Now going back to the question, is hitting a curb legal? 

Generally, you don’t have any legal issues so long as you do not cause damage to any properties. I could not find a reference where the driver was issued a ticket after hitting a curb.

However, there is still a little subjectivity to the legality of hitting a curb. When you happen to hit a curb in the presence of authorities, they can potentially stop you for a possible traffic violation.

When officers stop you after hitting a curb, they will probably ask you a few questions and perform their field sobriety test. If they find probable cause to arrest you, like driving while intoxicated, it will be a different legal scenario for you to deal with.

Conclusion

Hitting a curb sometimes happens as we go out on the road driving our vehicle. This incident can damage your car’s frame and will affect its total performance.

Hitting a curb can also potentially damage essential components of your car, like the steering and suspension system or their parts, including the tie rod and the control arm.

When you hit a curb, the best thing to do is to have your vehicle checked by a mechanic, even if there is no apparent damage. Doing this will ensure that you avoid worsening a problem that the car may have acquired.