When you and your vehicle become involved in an accident, you might walk away from it, but your car may seem totaled. Talk to a technician who specializes in auto body repairs before you agree to let your insurance company ‘total’ your vehicle, an act that results in you receiving a new title that banishes your vehicle from the roadways.

Insurance companies typically want to total a vehicle that incurred frame damage. You can’t repair all the damage to the frame of an automobile. It depends on the type of frame and the areas of damage.

However, you can have a professional auto body technician reshape the frame in many cases. This process typically costs between $500 to $750 but can run higher.

Ladder-style frames are easier to repair than unibody frames. That’s because a unibody design integrates the frame and vehicle body in one unit. A ladder design uses rails attached to the undercarriage of the automobile.


The science of auto body repair can correct most frame issues, as long as the accident only bent the frame. The areas that your auto body technician can typically repair easily include the following:

  • A, B, and C pillars,
  • Apron,
  • Core support,
  • Floor pan,
  • Hoods,
  • Hood supports (sometimes),
  • Quarter panel,
  • Rear support (sometimes),
  • Rocker panels.

If a portion of the frame splits or severed in an accident, nothing can repair it so that you can legally drive it.


Three areas of ladder frame design don’t accept repairs well. They’re tough to re-shape, and even when they re-shape, the metal incurred irreversible weakening. These areas include the:

  • Firewall
  • Strut tower
  • Unirail


You can’t straighten your vehicle frame yourself as great as it might be. It differs from pulling out a dent or banging out your fender. Frame straightening requires professional equipment called a frame straightening machine that allows the auto body technician to elevate the vehicle, then apply lasers to measure the damage. The laser technology provides the required adjustments to re-shape the frame to its proper alignment again.

The technician positions upright moveable posts around the vehicle. Securing the car to the platform, they attach the vehicle to the posts using chains. The technicians then adjust the tension on the chains to move the frame and bend it back into the proper shape. The combination of torque and hydraulics these machines use goes far beyond the strength of a human being.


When an auto body says the vehicle can’t be repaired, it means that even if they could straighten the frame, the damage weakened it to the point that it could no longer provide the safety that an automobile’s frame gives the vehicle’s body.

While a technician might theoretically be able to weld two pieces of metal back together or straighten a piece of metal, the frame in this weakened state would not provide the same safety. In some cases, driving a vehicle with frame damage on the road negates your insurance coverage. Some states passed laws to make driving such a vehicle on the road illegal.


Contact Network Auto Body today to find out if the frame damage to your vehicle totaled it or if we can repair it. We can provide you with a second opinion if your insurance company wants to total your vehicle due to damage.

Located in southern California, we offer four locations to serve you. Stop by or call our North Hollywood, Beverly Blvd., Valencia, or downtown Los Angeles locations. You can also receive an estimate and repair consult online by using our online estimate form. You’ll need to take photos of all of the damage to your vehicle for this estimate. That includes photos of the undercarriage of the auto.

Contact Network Auto Body today. Let us help you salvage your vehicle from frame damage.

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