A Hidden Problem With Fender Benders

Posted on: 2 June 2018

It happens to most drivers at least once—that sudden surprise of colliding with another car just enough to dent a fender or nearby panel. While these accidents are often minor and don't result in a lot of visual damage, there's a hidden issue that you should address should you have one of these accidents. It's not an urgent problem in the sense of making your car unsafe, but it is urgent in the sense that, if left alone, it could result in more damage depending on the weather.

Trunk and Hood Alignment

If something around the trunk or hood is now dented, the trunk or hood might now be slightly out of alignment. It might not be visible to you, but there could be enough of a difference to create a small opening where the seal should be. That would allow rain and dust to enter the trunk or engine space.

Luckily, the seals for both are normally rather wide. This gives you some breathing room; in other words, a minor fender bender might create more of a gap, but not one that's big enough to render the seal ineffective. However, it can be nearly impossible to tell what's happened until one of two things happens. Either you take the car in to a collision center to have it inspected, or it rains and you find out whether the water has made it into the trunk or hood.

First Step

When you've been in a fender bender and have determined that your car hasn't sustained any major operational damage (i.e., you can safely drive away), step back and look at the hood or trunk dead on. Try to compare the gaps between the trunk/hood lid and the sides of the car; if you don't see a difference, that's a good sign.

If you're not taking the car into a shop immediately after the accident, go home and try opening the trunk or hood and closing it again to ensure the latches still work. When the lid is up, step back again and try to compare the seals along the sides of the compartment. Again, no difference is good.

If you do see a difference, even a small one, get the car into a collision repair shop immediately. You do not want a surprise storm — or even a heavy layer of dew in the morning — to drip water into your trunk or engine.

Damage can be subtle. If you don't see a visual difference after those two inspections, you should still bring the car in just for a professional opinion. It's just not as urgent.

For more information about collision repair, reach out to local companies like Exoticar Paintworks Inc