Rear-end collisions account for around 1 in 4 road traffic accidents in the UK. Our faster and busier roads mean that drivers often don’t leave enough space between themselves and the vehicle in-front; people get distracted, and sometimes simple accidents just happen out of the blue. Often rear-end collisions seemingly cause little to no damage. Drivers assume they’ve got away with minor scrapes, scratches or bumps or that they’ve got away entirely scot-free. But could there be more going on?
Remember there’s a lot of components in a modern day vehicle, and a lot that can go wrong and be affected by a collision – it’s a bit like an iceberg, the majority is below the surface – where you can’t see it.
Looking beyond cosmetic damage
Damage to car frame
Most vehicles have plastic bumpers which don’t provide any significant protection in a collision. If the impact causes damage to the frame then this can throw out wheel alignment, doors, the suspension and more. Even if you don’t notice problems right away, damage to the car frame can still present issues further down the line.
Bends to the frame of the vehicle can be hard to distinguish without taking it to a car body shop; if you’ve been in a rear-end collision, it’s best to check as frame damage can cause all kinds of handling and stability issues.
Problems with alignment
Ever taken your car to a tire-shop and had them re-aligned? Vehicles come out of alignment from time to time, they’re not always perfect arrow-straight things. Misalignment from a collision – including the rear-end, is pretty common. This can leave you feeling as though your car is pulling to one side, or that you don’t quite have the same grip as you had before. None of this is good for the tires, suspension, your handling or confidence on the road. If you suspect you have alignment issues, or simply aren’t sure – it’s best to get it checked.
Damage to boot mechanism
Ahh, but the boot opens and closes fine you might say? Sure but rear-end collisions can cause all sorts of damage to the small components that allow the boot to open and close. It’s not uncommon for the hatch to open sporadically while driving along, and you can also have difficulty opening and closing it that starts to develop. If the collision has caused alignment issues then you might get gaps in the boot which allow water to seep – which obviously isn’t ideal.
Perhaps not the most obvious symptom of a collision, but electrical issues are not uncommon and can happen at any time after an incident. Impact to the rear-end can loosen electrical wires and connections, leading to problems with your lights, speakers, battery and more.
Damage to transmission
The transmission is one of the most integral systems of your car. It helps to control and direct the correct amount of power to the wheels and helps to prevent the engine from overworking.
If you have a rear-wheel or 4-wheel drive vehicle then you’re going to have parts of the transmission system at the rear-end. Even a minor bump at the back can cause damage to the transmission – which isn’t always noticeable straight away.
A collision that affects the transmission can cause fluids to leak, affect the shifting of gears and more.
It’s important to be aware that transmission problems following a collision can get worse if left untreated. More problematic transmissions also become more expensive to repair – so it’s best to get it checked as soon as possible.
Probably something you’re more likely to be concerned about when you have a rear-end collision, because you can actually see it. The exhaust can be pushed forwards in a collision, bringing the rest of the system forward and causing damage to the various components of the system.
Get peace of mind, get it checked
Whether you’ve had a minor knock from behind or a more serious collision; know that there is often damage below the surface that may not be clear, and that can start to manifest itself as time goes on. Be vigilant and if you are concerned take your car to a reliable accident repair/body shop such as APS Accident Repair Centre to get it checked.