What to Do If Your Heavy Vehicle Frame Is Misaligned

Posted on: 16 May 2022

If you are a heavy vehicle operator, you will need to be very lucky indeed to get away without any damage following an accident. As these vehicles weigh so much, they may take a lot of force to stop, and it is not unusual for the frame or chassis to be bent in even a relatively minor collision. If you find yourself in this situation and suspect damage to the frame, how can you be sure, and, crucially, what can you do about it?

Addressing the Frame

The frame is the term given to the underbody of the vehicle, also called the chassis/cab or, in other words, the part of the vehicle that supports the load carrying area. While the frame is made from heavy-duty components and should resist a certain amount of pressure, it may still deform, which can result in performance issues.

Signs of an Issue

Should the vehicle be repaired without looking at potential frame damage, the driver may notice that it pulls to one side when they take their hands off the steering wheel momentarily. Or, it may veer out of line when the brakes are applied, given that the braking system is in good condition. It would be virtually impossible to align the wheels correctly, leading to increased tyre wear and, inevitably, additional work elsewhere.

Metal Deterioration

When a frame is bent out of shape, certain parts of the metal may be less able to cope with expected forces, while other parts may actually be enforced or harder. This means that weight distribution is "off", and further, those weaker spots are likely to become ever more vulnerable as time goes by. In time, this could lead to a complete failure.

Sophisticated Equipment

It is possible to straighten the frame using a hydraulic ram, which can apply an enormous amount of force to a specific area. This machine is computer operated, and a technician will simply look at the original equipment specification to come up with a plan. The sophisticated software will tell the technician where to apply the chains and grab hooks and gently apply the right amount of force in a specific direction. This will then restore the frame to its original dimensions, although additional work may need to be performed to strengthen certain areas.

Back to Normal

Other parts can be reattached without issue once the frame is back to its original position. It will be possible to align the wheels, and the vehicle should handle as intended without any unwanted tracking.

What to Do Next

If you suspect that you have issues with your vehicle's frame following an accident, talk to autobody specialists as soon as possible. They can inspect your vehicle and perform truck repairs.