Humans have a skeleton, and cars have a chassis for shape and strength. A broken chassis can cause major issues if it goes undetected. Fixing it is paramount, and you should know how much it costs.
Fixing or reshaping your car’s chassis costs between $500 to $5,000, whereas totally replacing it can go far above $10,000. It is up to you to consider the extent of the damage and decide whether it is worth fixing.
This article describes what the chassis of a car is and its components. I also provide information on replacing a chassis and how much one costs, whether you are repairing or replacing it.
What Does the Chassis of a Car Include?
The chassis of a car refers to its framework. It is the part of the car that provides support and structure for the body. There can be no normal-looking or functional car without a chassis. Although a frame used to be called a chassis, there are differences between them.
The frame is a major part of the chassis that bears the parts of the chassis. It is a rigid object that holds these parts together. Your car’s engine, petrol tank, rear axle, and parts of its steering system are attached to the frame.
Alternatively, the chassis includes the frame and all other parts the frame holds. All the primary components that move the car, direct it and cause it to run with ease on uneven surfaces rest on the chassis.
Carbon fiber, aluminum, and carbon steel are the materials used to make a chassis. You can call it the carrying unit of the car. Four types of chassis exist, and they are:
- Monocoque chassis – you see it in many modern cars, and it has the body and chassis fused together as a single structure.
- Ladder chassis – shaped like a ladder, all car chassis were made in this style. These days, only off-road and commercial cars use it.
- Space-frame chassis – it is shaped like a tube and is very sturdy. You can find it in race cars.
- Backbone chassis – you see it in many classic cars, and it comprises a backbone that connects the front and back ends of the suspension.
Your car will fall apart without a compact chassis. Keep an eye out for any signs of damage and get it repaired as quickly as possible.
Can a Chassis Be Replaced?
What you do with a damaged chassis depends on the make of your car and the extent of damage it has sustained. While you may be able to replace a chassis, it is more likely that you cannot.
A monocoque chassis is impossible to fix or replace, whereas the ladder chassis can have its parts repaired, or you can replace it completely. Such an endeavor will require a full disassembly of your car, and it will be expensive.
Signs of a Damaged Chassis
Because the chassis is not as visible as the body of a car, damage to it might not be obvious. A light collision can have your car functioning at almost normal capacity and cause you to relax your guard. But, it is crucial to check your chassis for issues in order to drive smoothly.
The chassis bears the load of the car, and any slight malfunction can lead to dire consequences. Although collisions are a primary cause of chassis damage, normal wear and tear over time and play a role. Here are some signs that show damage to your car’s chassis:
1. Unfamiliar noises,
Unfortunately, a damaged chassis is one of the thousand reasons your car is making weird noises. The good thing is, the noise is not the only sign of damage. With other signs, it is easy to figure out the problem.
2. Fast tire wears
The suspension system of a car rests on the chassis, and it handles wheel alignment and balance. Any issue with the chassis affects the suspension and causes tires to wear out faster than they should
If you have to change your tires frequently because of wear or there is an uneven wearing out of them, look out for the chassis.
3. Decreased fuel efficiency
There are many reasons for your car to use up more fuel than usual. A bad chassis is one of them. If you have ruled out other causes like an increased vehicle load, check the chassis for damage. It is a good practice to monitor your fuel consumption regularly.
4. Rough handling
When a chassis is in order, the steering turns like a dream, and your car drives in a straight line. The steering system depends on a functioning suspension, and, as mentioned earlier, the suspension rests on the chassis.
If you constantly turn your steering to keep your car in a straight line, then there is likely trouble with the chassis
How Much Does a Car Chassis Cost?
Prices differ depending on the extent of the damage. After a mechanic has assessed the damage, you will know the extent of repairs it needs. The total cost includes parts and labor.
The cost of a minor repair starts at about $1,000, and it can get to $6,000. A new frame alone is between $600 to $700; labor costs $50 to $70 per hour, and it takes roughly 40 hours to fix it. This does not include other parts of the chassis that may be damaged.
Total replacement of a chassis costs anywhere from $10,000 and above! Sometimes, repairing or replacing a broken chassis costs more than the current value of your car. If this is the case, it is better to sell your car than to repair the chassis.
The chassis may be an unseen part of your car, but it is probably the most important component. You should not try to “manage” any faults that could originate from a damaged chassis. Only further wear and tear will result.
Consult one or more mechanics to get an even better quote for whatever work needs to be done and decide to fix or sell your car.