What To Look Out For Following A Rear-End Collision

Rear-end collisions account for 28% of all car crashes, making them the most frequently occurring type of automobile collision in the US.

As such, knowing specific signs of damage to watch out for after an accident can help you prepare and handle the aftermath of the collision more effectively.

What is a Rear-End Collision?

In the simplest terms, a rear-end collision occurs when a vehicle crashes into the rear end of the vehicle directly in front of it.

Rear-end collisions frequently occur under routine circumstances, such as during heavy traffic or a busy intersection, and are often brushed off as mere fender benders. But that’s not always the case.

Statistics show that rear-end crashes are responsible for approximately 500,000 injuries and 2,000 deaths in the U.S. annually.

Assessing Vehicle Damage After A Rear-End Collision

Finding yourself in a car accident can be extremely stressful and overwhelming. In such situations, prioritizing your well-being should always come first. So it’s best to look for signs of physical injuries and seek immediate medical assistance if necessary.

Once you’ve ensured you’re okay, the next step is to assess your vehicle for damage and take the necessary actions. If possible, always move to an area free from traffic to avoid any further damage to you or your vehicle.

At first glance, you might notice minor scratches or dents on the rear end of your vehicle. You may even feel relieved since your car is seemingly unharmed. However, it is crucial to note that the true extent of the damage can often go unnoticed.

Also, continuing to drive a compromised vehicle can be dangerous. Hence, it’s best to consider a proper evaluation and look for signs of vehicle damage.

Different Types of Rear-End Collision Damage

Let's take a look at some of the most common types of damage caused by rear-end collisions:

Assessment of Exterior Damage

Damage to the car's exterior is the first thing you will likely notice after a rear-end collision. Some of the main types of exterior damage include:

Dents, Scratches, or Cracks

Dents and scratches are often regarded as mere cosmetic concerns. Unfortunately, they are capable of causing serious damage to your car in the long run.

For example, a dent or crack can lead to corrosion and cause damage to other important components of the vehicle. Moreover, a dent in the bumper may even affect your car’s structural integrity.

Therefore, getting a professional to check any dents and scratches on the vehicle is best.

Misalignment in the Rear Bumper

The force from a rear-end collision can cause a shift in the rear bumper, resulting in visible gaps between the bumper and adjacent body panels. Even the smallest gap can allow water to seep into the vehicle’s rear, causing mold, rust, or electrical issues.

A bumper misalignment can also stress the car’s other components and affect its overall functionality. Depending on the extent of damage, minor adjustments or replacement of the entire bumper may be required.

Loose Wiring or Malfunctioning Lights

Even a trivial collision can result in the loosening of the wires, posing a risk to the car’s electrical system.

For instance, the vehicle becomes a safety hazard for yourself and other drivers sharing the road with you when your brake and tail lights malfunction. Therefore, getting any blown bulbs, corroded sockets, or malfunctioning sensors inspected by a professional technician is crucial.

Deformation or Uneven Gaps in the Rear Quarter Panel

After a rear-end collision, the metal panels in the rear end of your vehicle may become distorted or warped. Furthermore, the severity of these deformations can vary from minor dent to serious structural damage.

Besides aesthetic concerns, the collision can lead to irregular gaps in the rear panel, potentially affecting your vehicle’s rigidity, shape, and safety.

Leaks or Damage in the Exhaust Panel

Damages in the exhaust panel often exist as holes or cracks. Also, a hissing sound or strong exhaust odor from the exhaust system typically indicates an exhaust leak.

Ignoring such a leak can have potentially fatal consequences, so it’s advisable to get it checked by an expert technician.

Assessment of the Structural Integrity

A damaged structural frame can negatively affect your vehicle’s stability and safety. Here are some of the most common issues:

Frame Misalignment

If your vehicle consistently inclines to one side, makes unusual vibrations, or the steering feels wobbly, these are clear indicators of misalignment. Body panel realignment may be needed in case of uneven gaps and misalignment.

Visible Damage to Suspension Components

The suspension system maximizes the vehicle’s overall efficiency and ensures a safe and smooth ride.

Any damage to this system can lead to problems with steering responsiveness and wheel alignment. You should also look for poor shock absorbers, broken springs, and wheel damage.

It’s vital to get your vehicle professionally examined in this situation.

Assessment of the Rear-End Systems

Several systems crucial for your car's functioning may also be damaged. Some of the most important ones are:

Fuel System

When checking for a damaged fuel system, consider looking for the following signs:

  • Leak in the fuel tank
  • Disconnect in the fuel lines
  • Broken fuel filter
  • Malfunctioning fuel pump

Fuel leakage can have dangerous consequences. So it is essential to promptly address any failure in the system to avoid future problems.

Cooling System

Consider checking your vehicle’s cooling system for any damage, even after a low-impact collision.

A cracked radiator may result in overheating or a coolant leak. If the fluid appears brown, it is another sign of a blocked radiator. Inadequate coolant levels may result in an overheated engine. So it’s best to resolve any cooling issues before your car unexpectedly shuts down.

Electrical Components

Even minor accidents can result in electrical issues, as the impact can cause wires to become dislodged or disconnected. Expectedly, such loose wiring could damage your brake lights, tail lights, and even your car’s battery.

That’s why you should seek immediate professional help at the slightest suspicion of electrical damage. Again, driving a vehicle in this condition can pose a considerable safety risk.

Assessment of the Interior Components

It is also essential to check all the components found in the vehicle’s interior. These include:

Wheel Alignment and Tire Condition

Even a minor shift in your vehicle's alignment will put additional stress on the tires, brakes, and suspension system.

Examine the tires for signs of damage such as punctures, cuts, or tears, damaged wheel rims, and tire pressure. Also, look for uneven tire wear, as it usually indicates misalignment.

Brake Responsiveness

Malfunctioning brakes are a serious risk to everyone on the road. So it is vital to check for changes in brake responsiveness after a rear-end collision.

Look for signs of brake fluid leakage or damage to the brake pedal feet, brake pads, or motor. If you suspect something is wrong with your vehicle’s ABS, you should immediately get it inspected by a qualified automotive technician.

Unusual Sounds and Vibrations

Be attentive to any unusual sounds or vibrations from your vehicle, as they indicate potential issues, and a professional should inspect them.

Difficulty In Shifting Gears

Difficulty shifting gears may stem from various factors. These include a damaged clutch and/or transmission system, faulty gear synchronizers, or misalignment in the shifter linkage.

Transmission fluid leakage can also lead to gear-shifting problems. It is advised to address these issues as early as possible.

Choose Caliber Collision

After experiencing a rear-end collision, it is crucial to have your vehicle thoroughly examined at a reputable auto body shop.

At Caliber Collision, our vehicle collision pros will inspect your car, efficiently repair any damage, and restore it to its original condition as quickly as possible.