Accidents can be distressing, but once the immediate shock wears off, you’re left with the task of assessing the damage to your vehicle. Understanding the extent of auto body damage is crucial, not only for your safety but also for insurance claims and repairs. This article gives you a step-by-step process of assessing auto body damage after an accident, empowering you to make informed decisions.
Ensure Safety First
The safety of all individuals involved in the accident should be your top priority. Check for injuries and provide immediate assistance if needed. Ensure that the accident scene is safe by moving vehicles out of traffic if possible.
Call for Help
Contact the local authorities and report the accident. Having an official record of the incident is essential for insurance purposes. Exchange information with the other party involved in the accident.
Document the Scene
Use your smartphone or a camera to take clear pictures of the accident scene from various angles. Include shots of both vehicles, any road signs, and the surrounding area. This visual documentation can be invaluable later.
Examine for Visible Damage
Inspect your vehicle for visible damage. Look for dents, scratches, or broken parts. Pay attention to areas like the bumper, doors, fenders, and lights. Take note of any shattered glass.
Check for Fluid Leaks
Look under your vehicle for any signs of fluid leaks. Oil, coolant, or transmission fluid leaks can indicate serious damage. If you notice any, it’s crucial to turn off your vehicle and avoid driving it further.
Assess the Alignment
Test the alignment of your vehicle by driving it slowly in a straight line. If it veers to one side or feels unstable, there may be issues with the alignment or suspension. These problems should be addressed promptly.
Evaluate Airbags Deployment
If your vehicle is equipped with airbags, check if they deployed during the accident. Deployed airbags should be replaced, and their sensors need to be reset by a professional.
Open and Close Doors
Check if all doors open and close smoothly. Difficulty in opening or closing doors can indicate structural damage. Inspect the hinges for any signs of bending or misalignment.
Test Lights and Signals
Ensure that all lights and signals, including headlights, taillights, turn signals, and brake lights, are working correctly. Faulty lights can compromise your safety on the road.
Listen for Unusual Sounds
While driving or idling, listen for any unusual sounds such as rattling, grinding, or squeaking. These noises can point to hidden damage or mechanical issues.
Look for Frame Damage
Inspect the vehicle’s frame for signs of bending or twisting. If the frame is damaged, it can affect the structural integrity of the vehicle and may require extensive repairs.
Consider the Interior
Although it may not affect the safety or drivability of your vehicle, assess the interior for any damage. This is important for insurance claims if personal belongings are affected.
Consult a Professional
Finally, after your initial assessment, it’s advisable to consult with a professional auto body shop. They can provide a detailed inspection and estimate for repairs. Remember that some damage may not be visible to the untrained eye.
Assessing auto body damage after an accident is a crucial process that ensures your safety and helps streamline insurance claims. By following this step-by-step guide, you can confidently evaluate the condition of your vehicle and take appropriate action. If you recognize any of these issues with your vehicle, it is time to call M&G Body Shop. With over 20 years of experience, we can handle any issues your car has quickly and effectively, so call today!