Structural Damage to Avoid When Selecting Salvage Cars to Buy

Are you planning to buy a salvage car? Read on and discover some forms of structural damage that you should watch out for as you are comparing different salvage cars. If possible, avoid buying salvage cars with those forms of structural damage.

Front Bulkhead/Firewall

The front bulkhead is found just in front of the windshield close to the point where the hood pivots when you open it. You should avoid buying a salvage car in case you (or your mechanic) inspects that vehicle and finds that this structural component was damaged. This is because any damage to this bulkhead can cause a cascade of other issues. For example, the aerodynamics of the vehicle may be affected by the altered shape of the vehicle after this component was damaged in a crash.

The Chassis

It may also be advisable for you to refrain from buying a salvage vehicle whose chassis has been damaged. The damage can include cracks or bending. Such damage is often very costly to fix. Additionally, the vehicle may never return to the exact specifications of the manufacturer if the chassis sustained extensive damage. You are therefore better off considering other salvage vehicles that may not have this kind of damage.

The Front Header Rail

Another form of structural damage that you should watch out for is any damage to the front header rail. This is the component that spans the top width of the front of the car around the upper part of the windshield. This component plays an important role in giving a vehicle its shape. For example, it can be hard to fit a new windshield in case the front header rail has shifted from its position. This is because the windshield will not fit snugly into the irregularly shaped space left once the header rail is damaged. It can therefore be challenging to restore the body of the car to its original dimensions if the header rail was affected during an accident.

The Front Upper Wing Support

The front upper wing support is found just between the places where the front doors are anchored and where the engine bay begins. This component is critical in keeping the suspension components and the upper sections of the car separate. Many components of the vehicle within the engine bay are fastened onto this support system. The structurally integrity of the vehicle can therefore be seriously compromised if this part is damaged. You will face an uphill task fixing the damage so that the car is safe to drive.

The Side Cant Rail

The side cant rail refers to the component at the top of the car running from the front header rail to the back of the car. This component helps to give the vehicle its shape. The car doors and the nearby body panels derive their dimensions from this rail. Any damage to this component is therefore likely to affect several other parts of the car, such as the vertical posts onto which the rear doors are fixed. Be careful when buying a car with damage to the side cant rail.

You can still buy a salvage car even if it has the structural damage that has been included in the discussion above. However, you should only do so if you are fully aware of the challenges that you will face in restoring the structural integrity of that vehicle. Get expert help during the evaluation process in case you aren’t competent to assess such structural damage.


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