If your vehicle has been involved in a sizeable collision, you may be holding your head in your hands. The damage looks severe and there is barely a straight panel, while it looks as if there may have been some mechanical damage as well. Many different thoughts may be going through your mind, and you may wonder whether the vehicle will be classified as a total loss or a "write off," but it's amazing what technicians can do in this day and age — and you may not need to worry just yet. Before a truly accurate assessment can be made in a situation like this, your car may need to be assessed on a frame machine, colloquially known as a "jig." What is this, and what is involved?
First Things First
Often, much of the damage that you can see following a collision can be classified as superficial, and many of the panels may be replaced or beaten back into shape without too much drama. If most of the mechanical components have survived unscathed, then the big question involves the frame of the car itself. As you may know, the passenger compartment, major mechanicals and body panels are all bolted on to a basic frame chassis, and this has to be in its original alignment if the vehicle is to perform correctly.
Determine the Damage
In order to determine the extent of the damage, the car may be driven onto a frame machine and secured in place. Lasers or sonic equipment will then gather accurate measurements, which will be fed into a software program to determine the amount of frame damage. Original information will have been provided by the car manufacturer for this purpose, and the technician will use this data to determine the next course of action.
Straighten the Frame
If the car does need to be straightened, then heavy chains are attached to strategic points and linked to the towers that are situated around the edge of the jig machine. The software will dictate the fastening points and the amount of pressure that will need to be exerted by the electronic equipment in order to pull that section of the frame into its proper shape.
This will be done very carefully and with a very high degree of accuracy. Once it has all been finished, the chassis will be straight once again, and the vehicle can be sent into the body shop for more detailed repair.
Get in touch with a body repair shop so that you can determine just how much work needs to be done, to get your vehicle back onto the road. Look for a company that works on the brand of car you own. For example, if you have an Aston Martin, look for a business that specifically offers Aston Martin smash repair.