Your Minor Fender Bender Can Result in Serious Vehicle Damage

Fender benders aren’t uncommon. Your bumper can get tapped in parking lots, red lights, and even driving on a busy street. 

Basically, this type of minor car accident can occur almost anywhere and at any time. Your vehicle can even get dinged sitting in the driveway when someone’s pulling in or out. Even though the damage appears minimal, your minor fender bender can result in significant vehicle damage.

What are some of the major issues that can develop from a minor accident? We’ll take a look at this, along with the steps you should take.

Fender Benders Can Cause Major Vehicle Problems

Your rear bumper or front fender has a small dent. This is normal after getting tapped by another vehicle. The damage appears so minor that it’s not worth the time and effort it takes to file a claim with your insurance company. If you like many drivers, you go on your way ignoring the small dent. After all, who cares if a fender or bumper is damaged, your vehicle still runs great.

Ignoring even minor dents can be an expensive mistake. Most vehicle issues aren’t immediately noticeable until there’s an issue. Fender benders can cause electrical problems, issues with the suspension, and frame damage. If it’s a rear-wheel or an all-wheel drive vehicle, you may also be dealing with transmission damage.

If you drive away from a minor accident with just an apology and a shake of the other driver’s hand, you may be on the hook for your vehicle’s repair bills. Yes, your insurance will cover the damage but this can also cause your rates to go up. If you only have auto liability insurance, then you’re stuck paying out of pocket.

To ensure you receive compensation for any damage resulting from a fender bender, treat the minor collision as a major car wreck. This includes exchanging insurance and contact information with the other driver. As for calling the police, you can probably wait and report the accident in person or over the phone. Why do you want to report the accident to the police? You’ll need a copy of the police report if you plan on seeking compensation.

Common Vehicle Damage After a Fender Bender

Along with dings, dents, and scrapes on the bumper or fender, your vehicle may sustain more significant damage after being involved in a fender bender.

Electrical Issues

The electrical wiring in your vehicle is susceptible to damage, and even a low-speed collision can loosen wiring, resulting in a faulty connection. The wires can ever tear when your vehicle is tapped by another car. Suddenly, your power windows and electronic door locks are malfunctioning. 

Your vehicle’s onboard security system can also fail, and problems can possibly develop with your heating and cooling system. You don’t want to drive around Chicago in the summer or winter without your vehicle’s A.C. or heater actually functioning. Temperatures can be brutal, and you don’t want the temperature inside your car to match the weather outside.

Damaged Suspension

Even though automakers design a vehicle’s suspension to handle going over rough roads and the occasional curb, it can still be damaged relatively easily. A large, deep pothole can knock your suspension off, and the same applies when your vehicle is bumped in the front or from behind.

Suddenly, your vehicle’s performance is off, and the car may now pull to the left or right. You may even experience some shaking when your vehicle is moving along at highway-posted speed limits. When your vehicle’s performance suffers, so does your safety. The car is more difficult to control, and this can increase your risk of causing an accident.

Frame Damage

Even a minor tap on your bumper can cause frame damage. Not only does frame damage weaken your vehicle’s structural integrity, but it also affects performance. 

Your airbags may not even deploy properly, further increasing your risk of injuries. The last thing you want is for a damaged frame to cause your airbags to deploy while you’re driving.

Transmission Problems

Transmission issues from fender benders are more common on rear and all-wheel drive vehicles, especially if your car is hit in the rear. 

The force of even a minor impact can push the drive shaft into the transmission. Suddenly, your car isn’t shifting easily into gear. You may even lose one or more of your gears.

What to Do After a Minor Fender Bender

When you’re vehicle is involved in a minor fender bender, your first reaction may be to simply drive away from the scene. Perhaps the damage, if any, is barely noticeable, and you haven’t sustained any injuries. Even if this is the case, make sure you have a quick word with the other driver and continue with your day.

However, ignoring the potential damage a fender bender can cause is a mistake you don’t want to make. While you can skip a few steps like seeking immediate medical attention, you still want to treat a fender bender as any other type of auto accident, which means alerting the police and filing out an accident report

Your insurance company and that of the other driver will want a copy of the accident report since the report is also the primary way you can prove the accident occurred. In most states, including Illinois, it takes about one week for the report to be ready for pickup. While you probably won’t need immediate medical attention, it’s still a good idea to make an appointment with your physician. Whiplash is often a concern, even if your vehicle is barely tapped. 

Make sure you keep copies of your medical records, including receipts from any payments you make, which also applies to the report you receive from the auto body repair shop. The next step you should take is to then have your vehicle thoroughly inspected by a certified auto technician.

You May Need an Attorney After a Minor Fender Bender

Even minor fender benders can lead to substantial damage to your vehicle, and there's a risk that your insurance may not fully cover the associated costs. It's crucial to consult with a car accident attorney before settling with an insurance provider. 

A skilled attorney will collaborate with you to meticulously assess the damages and negotiate with the insurance company. Their expertise ensures that you receive the appropriate compensation for your fender bender, safeguarding your financial interests and helping you navigate the complexities of insurance claims.