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The Dangers Of Ignoring Auto Body Problems

Not all auto body damage is so severe that you can't continue driving. Some drivers may not have problems with the seemingly cosmetic-only issues, but there are some issues with ignoring the problem that could cost you more in the long run. Before you get back on the road, consider a few drawbacks of ignoring auto body damage that go beyond opinions of ugliness and style.

Gas Mileage Takes A Hit Due To Resistance

Vehicles are designed to move forward as efficiently as possible by reducing their drag. Drag is a situation where air resists an object in motion, which can become more apparent at higher speeds. If you've ever held your hand outside of the window while driving and felt the air push back on you while moving, that's the effect of air resistance in motion.

If your palm is facing forward, you can feel the air being 'caught' by your hand, pushing it back with a strong force. If you turn your hand sideways so that your thumb or pinkie finger is facing forward, you'll notice that the air resistance is lesser. You may also notice that your hand may go slightly up and down depending on your hand's angle, which is explained by a force called lift.

Although many vehicles have different designs, they all strive to reach an efficient shape similar to a wedge. The front of your car is meant to 'cut' through the wind and displace air through the back, although there are many other unique designs that use other effects to negate drag.

If your vehicle has body damage, you may have a lot of crumpled or dented areas that create the same effect as your palm facing forward. Your vehicle's engine has to work harder because of the increased drag, and consumes more gas to maintain the same speeds.

If you think that auto body work may be too expensive, think about the potential gas dollars wasted over a few months or years of driving.

Unsafe Driving Patterns

Earlier, the force called 'lift' was discussed. Lift has many advantages, such as allowing planes to take off with the assistance of propellers and engines. Your vehicle may be too heavy to fly, but it can lift off the ground slightly or move from side to side due to damage that cuases lift.

The most common lift issue caused by auto body damage is listing from side to side without your hand turning the wheel. This could be attributed to dents in the vehicle allowing wind to push and/or lift with enough force in a specific direction to slightly move your vehicle, or your tires and attached parts may be damaged. If you were involved in an accident, it could be a combination of both or more.

Spoilers also exist on sports cars to keep your vehicle well-grounded and with reduced drag. The front of your car isn't the only thing that reduces drag; as air passes across the vehicle and near the end, different spirals and twists of the air can cause the tail end of your vehicle to move in bizarre patterns.

If your spoiler is damaged or removed, you'll have a car that wasn't designed to be driven at higher speeds without being affected severely. You can see the effect of different spoiler types in a video designed to explain automobile aerodynamics. 

A lack of a spoiler on a spoiler-designed vehicle can result in dragging from side to side or even leaving the ground slightly, which can reduce speed. Instead of dealing with the issue, contact an auto body repair shop to have the issue taken care of before it gets worse. To learn more, speak with a business like Westside Fender/Body & Refinishing.