Top Reasons Why Your Car is Pulling to the Side

If you’ve noticed that your car is pulling to the side while driving, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible. Not only can this be a major safety concern, but it can also lead to further damage and expenses, like car frame repair. In this guide, we’ll discuss the top reasons why your car may be pulling to the side and what you can do to fix it.

Top Issues to Take Note Of

When your car pulls to one side, it can indicate a problem with its alignment, tire pressure, or suspension system. Identifying the root cause can help you address the issue and get your car back on track.

Take note of the following:

  • Which direction does your car pull towards?
  • Does it occur when you’re driving on a straight road or turning?
  • Does it occur as you’re braking?
  • Is the pulling constant or intermittent?
  • How long has this been happening?

These details can help pinpoint the cause of the problem and assist your mechanic in providing an accurate diagnosis. If the issue has to do with your frame, then these notes will ensure you receive car frame repair as soon as possible.

Common Causes for Pulling

There are several reasons why your car may be pulling to one side. Here are some of the most common causes:

1. Uneven Tire Pressure

Uneven tire pressure can cause your car to pull in the direction of the underinflated tire. This issue is easily remedied by adjusting the pressure in all four tires to the manufacturer’s recommended levels.

2. Misaligned Wheels

When your wheels are not properly aligned, it can cause your car to pull towards one side. This misalignment can be a result of hitting a pothole or curb, and it can lead to uneven wear on your tires if left unaddressed.

3. Suspension Issues

Problems with your suspension system, such as worn shocks or struts, can also cause your car to pull.

4. Brake Problems

If one of your brake calipers is sticking or not applying enough pressure, it can cause your car to pull in the direction of that wheel when braking. This issue should be addressed immediately for safety reasons.

5. Bent Car Frame

In some cases, your car may be pulling to one side due to a bent frame. This can occur from a previous accident or collision and requires professional car frame repair.

When Should I Seek Expert Advice?

If your car is pulling to one side, it’s always best to get it checked by a professional mechanic immediately. They have the tools and expertise to accurately diagnose and fix any issues with your vehicle. It’s especially crucial to seek expert advice if:

  • You notice unusual wear on your tires.
  • Your car is pulling consistently and becoming more severe over time.
  • The steering wheel is vibrating or shaking while driving.
  • You hear strange noises, such as squeaking or grinding, coming from your car.

Valley Collision Has Professional Car Frame Repairs and More

It’s best to leave this type of repair to professionals who have the necessary tools and expertise. At Valley Collision, we have years of experience in car frame repair. After an accident, we understand the importance of swift and reliable service. We accurately diagnose and fix any issues with your vehicle, ensuring your safety on the road. 

Contact us today for a free quote.


Understanding How Auto Body Shops Differ from Auto Mechanic Shops

Whether it’s a dent or an engine problem, knowing where to go saves time and stress. But with so many options, how do you make a decision? Two common choices are auto body repair shops and auto mechanic shops. While they may sound similar, these two types have distinct differences.

Auto Body Repair Shops 101

Auto body shops specialize in exterior and cosmetic repairs to your vehicle. These repairs are often necessary for maintaining the appearance, value, and safety of your car—they frequently restore cars to their brand-new appearance after accidents. Some common services offered by auto body shops include the following:

Collision Repairs

Collision repairs are the bread and butter of an auto body shop. These repairs can range from minor cosmetic fixes to major structural work, such as replacing or repairing damaged bumpers.

Paint and Finish

If your car needs a fresh coat of paint, auto body shops have the expertise and tools to make it look as good as new. Some shops even have computerized paint-matching systems to ensure the new paint matches the original color perfectly.

Dent and Scratch Removal

Small dents and scratches are inevitable in everyday driving. Auto body shops have specialized tools and techniques to remove these imperfections without replacing expensive parts.

Frame Straightening

If your car has been in a major accident, the frame might be damaged. Auto body repair shops can straighten out frames and restore them to their original shape, ensuring your car is safe and drivable.

What Are Auto Mechanic Shops?

Auto mechanic shops specialize in the inner workings of your vehicle. This includes diagnosing and repairing mechanical issues, such as engine problems, transmission issues, or faulty brakes. Some common services offered by auto mechanic shops include:

Engine Repairs and Maintenance

The engine is the heart of your car, and auto mechanic shops have the expertise to repair or maintain it. This may include replacing worn-out parts, performing routine maintenance, or diagnosing and fixing issues causing a check engine light.

Transmission and Brakes

Auto mechanic shops have the knowledge and tools to tackle transmission repairs. They can also fix or replace faulty brakes to ensure your car stops safely and efficiently.

Suspension and Steering Repairs

If your car is pulling to one side, it may be due to issues with the suspension or steering. Auto mechanic shops can diagnose and fix these problems to ensure your car drives smoothly and safely.

Oil and Other Fluids

Regular oil changes are crucial to keeping your car running smoothly, and mechanic shops can handle this task for you. They can also check and top off other essential fluids, such as brake fluid and coolant.

Which Service Is Right for Me?

Choosing between an auto body shop and an auto mechanic shop ultimately depends on your vehicle’s needs. If you’ve been in an accident or need cosmetic repairs, an auto body shop is the way to go. However, if your car is experiencing mechanical issues, you’ll want to take it to an auto mechanic shop.

Common Auto Shop Misconceptions

There are many misconceptions about auto shops, including the belief that auto body repair shops and auto mechanic shops are the same.

Myth #1: A Car Dealership is the Best Place to Go

While dealerships aren’t necessarily the best or most affordable repair option. Auto shops can often provide similar repairs at a lower cost.

Myth #2: Auto Body Shops Are Only for Cosmetics

While auto body shops do specialize in exterior repairs, they also handle structural and safety-related fixes.

Myth #3:  All Auto Shops Are the Same

Some auto body shops may specialize in certain repairs. Research carefully to choose a reputable shop.

Valley Collision Is the Auto Body Repair Shop for You

Valley Collision is a leading auto body shop, offering the highest quality collision repairs and paint services. Our experienced technicians use state-of-the-art equipment and techniques to ensure your car looks as good as new. Contact us today for all your auto body repair needs.


Your Guide to Auto Body Services: Bringing Your Car Back to Life After a Crash

Experiencing a car crash is traumatic—not just for you, but for your vehicle as well. No matter how big or small the damage is, it can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. But don’t worry! With the right auto body services, your car will return to life and look as good as new.

Why Timely and Quality Repairs are Essential Post-Crash

Getting your car repaired after a crash is vital. Initially, the accident may have compromised your vehicle’s structural integrity, making driving unsafe without proper repairs. Plus, delaying repairs can lead to bigger issues that cost more money. 

Timely and quality repairs are essential for your car’s longevity and your well-being on the road.

Auto Body Services Explained

Now that you understand the importance of timely and quality repairs, let’s dive into the types of auto body services available to restore your car after a crash.

1. Initial Assessment

The first step in the repair process is an initial assessment by a professional technician. They will thoroughly inspect your entire vehicle, including:

  • Exterior: Body, paint, and windshield
  • Interior: All components inside the car, such as lights, airbags, and seatbelts
  • Undercarriage: Essential parts like the exhaust system or suspension

After determining the extent of the damage, an expert will provide you with an estimate for repairs.

2. Panel Repair and Replacement

An auto body technician will use specialized tools and techniques to smooth out dents, weld new panels in place, or use a special filler material to seamlessly blend the repaired area with the rest of your car.

3. Frame Straightening

In more severe accidents, the frame of your car may become bent or twisted. In this case, a frame straightening machine is used to restore the frame to its original shape. This is crucial for the structural integrity of your vehicle and ensures that it will be safe to drive again.

4. Dent and Scratch Removal

Auto body technicians use different methods such as sanding, filling, or Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) to restore your car’s exterior to its original state. PDR is a popular method for removing minor dents without affecting the paint, making it a cost-effective option. It’s done by gently massaging the dent back into place from behind the panel.

5. Paint and Finish Restoration

After the repairs, your car will need a fresh coat of paint and finish to return it to its pre-crash condition. Auto body technicians typically use specialized techniques or computerized paint matching to get the color right and provide a seamless finish.

What Factors Affect Repair Costs?

Auto body service costs can vary depending on several factors: the extent of the damage, the make and model of your car, and the location. More serious accidents will require more extensive repairs, thus increasing the cost. Similarly, luxury or rare cars may have higher repair costs due to the availability and expense of replacement parts.

How to Choose the Right Auto Body Shop for You

When it comes to your car, choose a reputable auto body shop with experienced technicians familiar with your car type and repairs. Here’s a checklist to help you find the right shop:

  • Ensure technicians are certified by esteemed organizations
  • Check shop reviews or ask friends for recommendations
  • Ask about warranties and guarantees for repairs
  • Inquire about repair timelines and loaner car options

Take Your Car to Valley Collision for Exceptional Service

At Valley Collision, we understand how important your car is to you and are committed to providing top-quality auto body services. Our team of certified technicians has years of experience and uses the latest technology and techniques to bring your vehicle back to life after a crash. Get your free estimate today.


A Guide to Car Frame Straightening Costs

If you’ve brought your car to the mechanic and realized you need your car frame repaired, you may be wondering how much it’s going to cost you. This repair is pretty complex and time-consuming, so your frame straightening cost might be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. But hold on—what exactly are you paying for? Let’s explore what affects the final cost.

Car Frame Straightening 101

Car frame straightening, or frame repair, is a process using specialized tools and techniques to realign damage to the metal structure of a car frame. Your car frame can get bent after accidents or collisions.

When a car frame is bent, it causes serious issues with the overall stability and safety of your vehicle. That’s why it’s important to have it repaired as soon as possible by a professional. Fixing the frame will ensure your safety and prevent further damage to other parts of your car.

A Breakdown of Your Frame Straightening Cost

A variety of factors influence the cost of straightening your car frame. Let’s take a closer look at what these are.

Severity of Damage

The biggest factor in your frame straightening cost is the level of damage to your car frame. If a small section is bent or damaged, it may be a quick and relatively inexpensive repair. However, if the damage is severe and requires much more labor and resources to fix, the cost will increase accordingly.

Type of Vehicle

The type of vehicle you own will also play a significant role. Different makes and models have varying structures and frames, each leading to a different complexity of repair. For example, luxury or exotic cars typically require specialized techniques or tools, resulting in a higher cost.

Repair Techniques

There are various techniques and methods used to straighten a car frame, such as heat straightening, cold straightening, or using a hydraulic press. Some techniques may be more time-consuming or require specialized equipment, which impacts the cost.

Parts and Materials

In some cases, a damaged car frame may require replacement parts or additional materials to be properly repaired. This will also add to the overall cost of the repair.

Skill Level and Experience of Technicians

The skill and experience level of the technicians performing the frame straightening will also affect the cost. More experienced technicians may charge a higher rate, but they also have the expertise to ensure a successful repair.

Any Additional Services

Depending on the extent of damage to your car, additional services may be required such as realigning or replacing suspension components. These additional services will also add to the total cost.

Ready for a Repair? Valley Collision Has You Covered

If you need your car frame straightened, look no further than Valley Collision. Our team of highly skilled technicians has years of experience in providing top-notch repairs. Plus, we offer a free estimate for repairs so you can have a clear understanding of the expected frame straightening cost before any work is done!

Trust us to get your car back on the road safely and efficiently. Get a free estimate online.


Car Frame Straightening: Can You Drive With Frame Damage

Realizing your car has frame damage may feel like a devastating blow. The thought of taking your vehicle to the shop for car frame straightening, waiting for the repair to be finished, and dealing with the potential cost can be overwhelming. Can’t you just keep driving the car normally?

Unfortunately, the answer is not a simple yes or no. Let’s take a closer look at the details before you start driving with a damaged frame.

How to Identify Frame Damage

The frame of a car is the skeleton that holds all its components together, providing structural strength and stability. Any damage to this structure can weaken the overall integrity of the car and compromise its safety. Some signs of frame damage include:

  • Visible bends or dents in the frame
  • Misaligned doors, hood, or trunk
  • Uneven gaps between panels
  • Difficulty opening or closing doors, hood, or trunk
  • Unusual noises while driving, such as rattling or creaking
  • Handling issues such as pulling to one side or uneven tire wear

If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to have a professional inspect your car and determine if you need car frame straightening. Not all frame damage is immediately visible—it may require specialized equipment to detect.

The Biggest Risks of Driving With Frame Damage

A damaged frame means the car’s structure is not as strong or stable as it should be and may not provide proper protection in case of a collision or other accidents. Here’s a peek at the biggest risks:

Short-Term Risks

  • Reduced handling and control
  • Potential for increased damage in case of an accident
  • Compromised safety in case of a collision

Long-Term Risks

  • Decreased fuel efficiency due to added weight or drag caused by the damaged frame
  • Uneven wear and tear on other car components, which can lead to costly repairs in the future

Can You Drive Your Damaged Car or Not?

While it may be tempting to continue driving with a damaged frame, you should prioritize your safety. Seek a professional assessment as soon as possible to determine the exact extent of the damage and schedule car frame straightening. In the meantime, use these tips to determine whether it’s safe to drive your car:

Visible Damage: Do Not Drive

If the damage to your car’s frame is visible, such as a bent or dented structure, it’s best not to drive. Continued use can worsen the damage and put you at an increased risk of a potentially severe accident.

Handling and Control: Drive Short Distances

If your car is pulling to one side or is difficult to steer, have the car inspected immediately. Any issues with handling and control can significantly impact your ability to drive safely and increase the risk of an accident.

You should be able to drive your car to the shop for inspection, but avoid long distances or high speeds until the issue is resolved.

Unusual Noises: Drive Short Distances

Unusual noises such as rattling or creaking occur when components of the car’s structure rub against each other due to misalignment. Have the car inspected as soon as possible to make the necessary repairs. You can risk driving short distances, but the more you drive, the more damage you may cause.

Extensive Damage: Do Not Drive

If the frame damage is extensive, do not attempt to drive the vehicle. Extensive frame damage significantly undermines the car’s structural integrity. Driving the car will lead to further deterioration, increased repair costs, and a deadly high chance of an accident.

To avoid driving a vehicle with frame damage, have it towed to an auto repair shop for some car frame straightening.

Car Frame Repair Options

If your vehicle has frame damage, it will need repairs to be driven safely.

Repairing a damaged frame typically involves car frame straightening, which uses specialized equipment to restore the frame to its original shape. The cost of frame repairs varies by damage extent and vehicle type, and replacement parts may also be needed based on the damage.

Ensure your car is repaired by a professional collision repair shop experienced with damaged frames. They will ensure all necessary repairs are done correctly and safely.

Get Driving Quickly With Car Frame Straightening From Valley Collision

At Valley Collision, our experienced team uses industry-leading equipment and techniques to repair damaged frames quickly and efficiently. We understand the importance of safety on the road and take pride in providing top-notch frame straightening to get you back on the road safely. Skip the hassle by scheduling a repair appointment with us today.


Car Door Panel Repair: What You Need to Know

Engine malfunctions and frame damage are big topics in automotive care, but car door panel repair often flies under the radar. Since it’s not frequently discussed, many car owners are left in the dark about what to expect or how the repair process unfolds. But don’t worry—we’ve put together a guide of what to expect from car door repair.

An Overview of Car Door Panel Damage

The first thing to understand is what causes damage to your car door panels. The most common culprits are dings, dents, and scratches from minor accidents. These may seem like small issues, but they can greatly impact the overall appearance and functionality of your car. Weather conditions, exposure to extreme temperatures—even exposure to intense sunlight can cause fading or warping.

Without proper car door repair, these issues can lead to more severe problems down the road, including rust and corrosion. If you notice any damage to your car door panels, it’s important to address it sooner rather than later.

Types of Panel Damage

Various types of damage can occur to your car door panels, each requiring different repair techniques.

  • Dents and Dings: Often caused by minor accidents or incidents in parking lots, dents can be easily repaired by filling and sanding the affected area.
  • Scratches and Scuffs: Debris on the road or minor scrapes against other objects can rip the paint off your car. Depending on the severity, scratches, and scuffs can be buffed out or require touch-up paint.
  • Cracks and Breaks: More severe damage, such as cracks or breaks in the panel, may require the replacement of the entire panel.
  • Rust and Corrosion: If left untreated, rust and corrosion can spread and cause irreparable damage to your car door panel.

What Does the Car Door Repair Process Look Like?

If you’ve never had to get your car door panels repaired before, it can be overwhelming to imagine the process. However, most repairs follow a similar format:

1. Assessment

The first step is for a technician to assess the damage to your car door panel thoroughly. They will determine the extent of the damage and what repair techniques are necessary.

2. Diagnosis

Once the damage has been assessed, the technician will diagnose what caused it and if any underlying issues need to be addressed.

3. Repair

The repair process will vary depending on the type and severity of the damage. Common car door repair techniques include:

  • Paintless Dent Repair (PDR)
  • Dent Pulling and Straightening
  • Rust Treatment and Prevention
  • Replacement of Panel Parts
  • Car Paint Repair

4. Finishing

Finally, the technician will finish off the repair by buffing or sanding out any imperfections and ensuring a smooth, seamless look.

How Much Does Car Door Repair Cost?

The cost of car door panel repair will depend on the type and severity of damage, as well as the materials needed and the make and model of your car. In general, repairs range from $125 to $500+.

Don’t Wait to Bring Your Car In for Repair

When it comes to car door panel repair, time is of the essence. The longer you wait, the more severe and costly the damage can become. Plus, if your car is an older model, the replacement parts you need may no longer be available, making the repair process even more difficult and expensive.

Choose Valley Collision for a Seamless Repair

At Valley Collision, we understand the importance of high-quality car door repair. Our local and experienced technicians use state-of-the-art techniques to ensure your car looks as good as new. Plus, we use computerized paint-matching technology to ensure a seamless finish. Don’t wait—schedule your repair with us today!


Understanding The Car Paint Process In Auto Body Repair

Need to repair your car paint? Get it done the right way. Whether it’s a minor scratch or major collision damage, understanding the car paint process will help you make informed decisions, ensure quality repairs, and maintain the aesthetic and value of your vehicle.

1. Determine the Paint and Color Match

Before any paint can be applied, your technician will determine your car’s paint type and color match. Color names and codes can vary from shop to shop, so find a professional shop that uses high-tech paint-matching techniques to ensure an accurate match. This will save you time and money in the long run.

2. Mask Surfaces That Aren’t Being Painted

To protect and prevent overspray on areas that don’t need to be painted, your technician will mask them. This includes:

  • Covering windows, mirrors, and other glass surfaces
  • Taping off edges and trim pieces
  • Placing plastic sheeting to protect the engine and other internal areas

3. Clean and Sand the Surface

The repair area for car paint must be clean and smooth to ensure proper paint adhesion. Your technician will thoroughly clean the damaged area to remove contaminants, then sand it with fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out any rust, old paint, or imperfections. Sometimes it’s even sanded down to the bare metal to ensure a smooth surface.

After sanding, the area will be cleaned again to remove any remaining residue and ensure the best surface for paint adhesion.

4. Apply Primer to Create a Smooth Base

Once the car is completely dry, one to three coats of primer will be applied to create a smooth base for the paint. This is an essential step—it provides adhesion for the paint, prevents rust and corrosion, and helps the paint color to appear true. Without primer, the paint may not stick properly and flake away.

5. Repair Your Car Paint

To repair your car paint, your technician will use multiple layers of paint. This will depend on the type of paint and color match, as well as the extent of the damage. A base coat, mid-coat, and clear coat may be used to achieve the desired color and finish. The paint is applied in thin, even layers with a spray gun or airbrush for a seamless look.


The first coat, or basecoat, provides the color of your car. It’s applied in multiple layers until the desired shade is reached.


If your car has a metallic or pearl finish, a mid-coat will be applied after the base coat to give it depth and shine. This layer may also help to achieve a more accurate color match. However, not all paint jobs require a mid-coat.


The final layer is the clearcoat, which adds well-needed protection to the paint. It’s responsible for giving your car that shiny, showroom finish. There are three types of clearcoat options:

  • Gloss Clearcoat: Gives a shiny, high-gloss finish.
  • Matte Clearcoat: Creates a flat, non-shiny appearance.
  • Tinted Clearcoat: Used to add a slight tint or color to the paint for a unique look.

6. Apply Lacquer or Sealant

To protect your car’s paint and give it a shiny finish, the technician will apply a layer of lacquer or sealant. This will also help the paint to last longer and resist scratches and environmental elements.

7. Wet Sanding and Buffing for a Smooth Finish

After the paint has dried, the repaired car paint will be wet sanded and buffed to create a smooth, flawless finish. This process removes any imperfections and gives the paint a glossy appearance. Your technician may also apply a final layer of wax for added protection and shine.

Rely on the Professionals at Valley Collision for a Flawless Paint Job

At Valley Collision, our expert technicians have years of experience in car paint repair and will ensure that your car receives the best care. We take extreme care of your vehicle and use computerized paint-matching technology to guarantee a perfect color match. 

Contact us today and give your car the attention it deserves by letting the professionals at Valley Collision repair your car paint.


Is It Okay to Drive Your Car After an Accident?

You’ve just been in a car accident, the police have been called, and you’ve exchanged insurance information with the other driver. Now what? Whether it’s a minor fender bender or a more serious collision, your first instinct may be to get back in your car and drive away. But is it really safe to do so? What if you need collision repairs?

In this guide, we’ll answer these questions and provide a post-crash checklist to help you navigate what to do next.

Stop Driving Until You Assess Your Vehicle

Before you get back behind the wheel, you need to assess the damage to your vehicle. If you were involved in a more serious accident, it may be clear that your car won’t be drivable until after collision repairs. However, even if the damage seems minimal, underlying issues could make driving extremely unsafe.

Your Step-By-Step Post-Crash Checklist

Use this checklist to ensure you take all the necessary steps after a car accident.

Safety First

Your first priority should be your safety and the safety of others involved in the accident. Make sure everyone involved in the accident is safe and unharmed. If there are any injuries, call for medical assistance immediately.

Assess Your Vehicle Damage

Take the time to examine your vehicle for any damage thoroughly.

  1. External Damage Inspection: Start by walking around your car and looking for any visible damage, such as dents, scratches, broken lights, signs of structural damage, or smoking parts.
  2. Check Your Engine for Leaks: Open your car’s hood and check the engine for any visible damage or leaks. If you see any leaks or fluids pooling under your car, do not attempt to drive it until it has been inspected by a professional and undergone collision repairs.
  3. Assess Airbag Deployment: If your airbags are deployed, your car is no longer safe to drive.
  4. Examine Tire and Wheel Damage: Check your tires for any punctures or damage and make sure your wheels are not bent or misaligned.

Evaluate Your Vehicle Functionality

Even if your car looks okay from the outside, there may be hidden damages that affect its functionality. If any of the following checks fail, do not drive your car until it has been inspected and undergone collision repairs.

  1. Test Lights and Signals: Make sure all of your lights and turn signals are functioning correctly.
  2. Check the Engine Response: Start your car and listen for any strange noises coming from the engine. Check to see if it accelerates smoothly.
  3. Test Brakes and Steering: Drive your car at a slow speed and test the brakes to make sure they are functioning correctly. Also, pay attention to any unusual vibrations in your steering wheel.
  4. Assess Air Conditioning and Heating Systems: Make sure your air conditioning and heating systems are still working correctly after the accident.

The Next Steps: Should You Call a Tow Truck or a Professional?

What happens next? The answer depends on the severity of the damage to your vehicle and your safety.

If Your Car is Drivable: If your car passed all the functionality tests and appears safe to drive, you may continue driving it. However, we recommend getting a professional inspection and any necessary collision repairs as soon as possible to ensure your safety.

If Your Car is Not Drivable: If your car fails any functionality tests, it’s unsafe to drive. Call a tow truck to take your car to a professional collision repair shop for inspection and repairs.

What To Consider Before Driving Again

After the accident, it’s normal to feel a bit shaken and anxious about getting back behind the wheel. Here are some things to do before driving again:

  • Insurance Considerations: Contact your insurance company and inform them of the accident. They will guide you through the claims process.
  • Mechanical Concerns:  Even if your car appears to be functioning normally, it’s always a good idea to get it inspected by a professional after an accident.
  • Personal Health: Your physical health and emotional well-being should be a top priority.  If you feel any discomfort or pain, seek medical attention immediately.

Call Valley Collision for Collision Repairs

At Valley Collision, we understand the stress and uncertainty that comes with being in a car accident. Our team of experienced technicians is here to help you get back on the road safely and efficiently. From minor dents to major repairs, we have the expertise and equipment to restore your vehicle to its pre-accident condition. Contact us today for a free online estimate.


Top Types of Unseen Car Damage Caused By a Collision

Car collisions can cause immense amounts of damage, both seen and unseen. While visible damage is often easier to spot and address, it’s the unseen damage that can be cause for concern—especially if you’ve avoided taking your car in for some collision auto repair.

Why Should You Identify Unseen Car Damage?

It’s essential to identify and address any unseen damage as soon as possible to ensure the longevity, safety, and value of your vehicle.

Unseen damage can compromise the structural integrity of your vehicle, making it more susceptible to further damage in case of another collision. It can also affect the performance and safety of your car, leading to costly collision auto repairs or even accidents in the future. 

Plus, if you plan on selling or trading your car, any undisclosed damage will significantly decrease its value and make it harder to find a buyer.

Types of Invisible Car Damage After a Collision

Here are some of the most common types of unseen car damage caused by a collision:

Front-End Collision

Front-end collisions are one of the most common types of accidents, and they can require significant collision auto repairs.

  1. Frame Damage: Stress on the frame from the impact can cause structural issues that are not immediately visible.
  2. Alignment Issues: Any misalignment of the wheels or suspension components can lead to uneven tire wear and handling problems.
  3. Hidden Engine Damage: Damage to the radiator, engine mounts, or internal components may not be apparent without a thorough inspection.

Since front-end damage can impact critical safety features and engines, inspect this area for damage immediately after a collision.

Rear-End Collision

Rear-end collisions may seem minor, but they can still cause significant damage.

  1. Trunk and Rear Body Damage: Damage to the rear bumper, trunk, or frame can affect the vehicle’s structural integrity.
  2. Rear Axle Misalignment: The impact from a rear-end collision can cause misalignment of the rear axle, leading to handling issues.
  3. Electrical System Damage: The wiring harnesses and electrical components in the rear of the vehicle may be damaged and cause significant electrical problems.
  4. Transmission Damage: If the vehicle is rear-wheel drive, the transmission may have sustained damage from the impact and require repairs.

To properly inspect your rear-end damage, check the trunk and rear of the vehicle for any signs of misalignment or damage. You should always check for these damages before deciding whether to continue driving.

Side-Impact Collision

Side-impact collisions can result in severe damage to the vehicle’s doors, fender, and side panels.

  1. Door and Side Panel Damage: Dents or structural damage to the doors or side panels can compromise safety and structural integrity.
  2. Suspension Damage: The impact from a side collision can damage suspension components, leading to handling problems.
  3. Hidden Airbag Damage: Side-impact collisions can cause damage to airbag sensors or deployment systems, affecting your safety.
  4. Wheel Damage: The wheels or tires may sustain damage from a side-impact collision, affecting their balance and performance.
  5. Frame Damage: Similar to front-end collisions, side-impact collisions can also cause damage to the frame and structural components of the vehicle.

It’s easy to forget to assess all aspects of your car’s sides after a collision, but you should always thoroughly inspect the doors, panels, and suspension components for any signs of damage or misalignment.

Hidden Damage Detection Tips

Not all unseen car damage is immediately apparent, but there are some signs you can look out for to identify potential issues and take your car in for collision auto repairs:

  • Unexplained Noises: If your vehicle starts making strange noises after a collision, it could be a sign of internal damage.
  • Vibrations or Shimmying: Any unusual vibrations or shaking while driving could indicate underlying suspension or wheel damage.
  • Uneven Tire Wear: Misalignment or damaged suspension components can cause uneven tire wear, so check your tires for any unusual patterns.
  • Fluid Leaks: Any leaks under your vehicle could be a sign of damage to the engine, transmission, or other critical systems.

It’s always best to err on the side of caution and have a professional inspect your vehicle for any potential damage after a collision.

Need Collision Auto Repair? Trust Valley Collision

If you’ve been in a collision and suspect your vehicle may have unseen damage, take it to Valley Collision for professional inspection and repair. Our certified technicians will thoroughly examine your car and provide any necessary collision auto repairs to ensure its safety, performance, and value.

Don’t let unseen damage go unnoticed—trust our team at Valley Collision to keep you safe on the road.


Creating The Perfect Paint Job, Step 6: Paint Prep & Masking

Hey all, welcome back to our “Creating The Perfect Paint Job” series. As promised, this month is all about the paint prep and masking. As all the hard work has been done, I always look at this step as a form of meditation. I usually take a few moments while I’m prepping to visualize the finished product.

Prepping Done Right

Before we get into prepping what do I mean by prepping exactly? Basically think of it as being admitted into the hospital: before they begin any of the treatment, they get you all cleaned up and ready to go. Same thing with your vehicle, you want the it so clean you can literally eat off the hood!

To that end, there are two major factors to look out for when prepping, the first is removing all dust and debris, and the second is oil. Oil causes fish eyes in the paint, and these imperfections in the paint/clear coat are going to require that you re-spray which you definitely don’t want.

Getting down to business, I start off by using an air gun to go over the car. Together with a clean cloth, I try blowing off as much of the dust/debris from the surface. Afterward, I wash the car with a mild dish soap, and use a leather chamois cloth to dry off the panels and the sections where the water tends to pool. I then come back with the air again to concentrate on the interior areas, nooks, and crannies – wiping with a clean cloth along the way.

Masking That Would Make The Lone Ranger Proud

Once the above phase has been completed, it’s time to play doctor by slipping on a pair of latex gloves. Most guys don’t like to use gloves with tape (for obvious reasons), but if you can get past the first few clumsy sections, you will save yourself a lot of aggravation later on. I’ll explain later, but for now you are ready to begin masking off the sections that you do not want to paint (glass, chrome, rubber, engine compartment, or elsewhere).

I use two widths of 3M automotive refinishing yellow tape: ¾ inch for the base, and 2 inch for the monster sections. I have two lengths of masking paper: 18 inch paper for side windows or smaller sections, and 36 inch paper for covering huge sections(i.e. trunk area, etc.)

When masking a car, I always begin from the bottom and move my way up. You can do whatever direction you like, or use the products you prefer; trust me there is one than one way to skin a rat! Yes I know it’s cat, but I like cats so I did a little substitution, ok? But back to the task at hand, you would want to lay down the base line.



This is the section that will divide your paint from the glass, rubber, chrome, and everything else. You want it to be straight, level, smooth, and on the money. Take your time, as the corners or rounded areas can be tricky. Keep your focus on the outer trim and let the inner gather like a ribbon.


Once the base line is laid down, it’s time to grab your masking paper.



The rear side window of a 47 Chevy coupe is 18 inches, so I tore off a sheet that is roughly the length of the window area.



I used two small pieces of tape to anchor the sheet, then I used my fingernail to run along the seam.



This is done to map out where I will lay down my tape on the masking paper. Now that I have the shape I’m looking for, I can use a razor blade to cut it out.



Alternatively, I can start in the corner and as I go along, I can fold the excess under and use my tape to tack it down.



Presto! The window is finished and now it’s time to move onto the next section. In no time you’ll have the car/truck masking completed. The last thing you do before you roll the vehicle into the paint booth is wiping the exposed areas down with a product called Prep All.



This will remove the remaining grease, wax, and debris so that the surface is ready to receive paint. With all of the above now complete, we move on to the next step, the paint process.