Oh, that helpless feeling! Sliding, sliding closer and closer until WHACK! Or maybe it's a sad crunching noise. Or both. Whether you bounced off a curb or managed to go up and over, the next few moments are likely to be filled with dread.
How much damage? Will the car be okay to drive? How much will it cost to fix?
One thing is certain - your car should be inspected if you have any doubts about damage. Many reputable shops will check your car for damage at no charge, so there’s no reason not to have a professional give your vehicle a clean bill of health or let you know what may be needed to keep you safely moving down the road.
Haglin Automotive is one of those reputable shops - we will be happy to give your vehicle a complimentary, proper inspection for your peace of mind and safety.
What is most likely to be damaged in a curb hit / slide off?
Wheels can be bent, which may or may not be visible while still on the car. This can cause them to be out of balance or not hold air. Tires are also frequently damaged - a technician should examine the tread and sidewall to ensure all is well. Internal tire damage sometimes won’t cause a failure for some period of time.
Beyond the wheels and tires, the hub, axle, steering arms, shocks, struts, and other suspension components can be bent or broken by a curb hit.
Most of the time when a suspension repair is needed, an alignment will be needed, too.
If you have any doubt about whether the vehicle is safe to drive, it’s best to arrange for a tow, both for safety and to avoid further damage.
Assuming your car seems safe to drive, what symptoms should you watch for?
The steering wheel may no longer be straight, or it may vibrate or shake. Sometimes the shaking won’t happen until you hit a certain speed, so be extra cautious as you drive away from even the most minor curb hits.
The car may pull to one side or another - a highly unsafe condition that will also make tires wear unevenly and much faster than expected.
There is no “usual” amount of damage for this kind of repair, as there are so many variables involved. Sometimes all that’s needed is an alignment. At the other extreme, we have seen broken axles.
Our best advice? Be safe. Have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic at a trustworthy shop as soon as possible. One important benefit of having your car checked is you won’t have the added burden of worrying about what might be damaged. Better to know for sure so you can make informed decisions.