How Much Does Car Chassis Repair Cost?


The chassis of a car or truck is the internal framework that supports the body of a vehicle and is almost like the skeleton of the automobile.  Like the vehicle itself, the chassis is exposed to many road conditions that can damage it and leaving it like this can eventually lead to a broken chassis, which in turn, can affect the performance of the car.

If you feel your car is no longer as smooth as it used to be, then the problem could be the chassis.

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How much does a car chassis repair cost?

The price of repairing a car’s chassis will depend on the make and model of the vehicle, the extent of the damage, if it has to be replaced, the geographical location; and the mechanic fixing the car. On average, since there are so many factors, the cost can range anywhere from $1,000 for a minor repair to as much as $4,000+ depending on the factor mentioned above.  If the car was in a serious accident, for example, then the costs could be more than what the car is worth because of the damage done to the surrounding parts in the chassis.

On ih8mud.com one member chimed in and said the frame alone will cost about $500 to $600, but if you were planning on hiring a mechanic, then the hourly costs could be between $60 to $70 per hour.  With most jobs taking about 40 hours, you’re looking at $2,800 at a minimum.

According to one forum member on LotusElan.net, he was quoted $1,500 to repair and straighten his chassis.

Car chassis repair overview

The chassis, as defined by mechanics, will be characterized as the bottom frame, but it will include the transmission, differential, driveshaft, engine and suspension as these parts are critical to the operation.  Depending on the repair, sometimes a minor repair is all that’s needed, whereas other jobs may require more serious repairs.  Before an estimate is given, a mechanic will check the axles, the CV joints and driveshaft to make sure the chassis is the problem.  Even though the chassis can affect your steering, the power steering may be the area of concern, not the chassis itself.

For instance, the frame can be repaired while attached to the body of the car, but if the damage were too severe, then the body will have to be taken apart to allow the mechanic to inspect the entire frame to see which parts need the repair, increasing the costs quite a bit.

Depending on the extent of the damage, the engine and transmission will be pulled out to create a bare frame.  Once bare, it will be chemically stripped to remove any grime, dirt and/or rust present on the body.  This also offers a better surface to make repairs and/or weld.  The problem frame section, once stripped, will be cut away and a new frame rail will be welded into place using the exact measurements as the old frame.  The frame will then, most of the time, be powder coated, but this can depend on the professional fixing it, and the rest of car will be put back together.

The quotes mentioned above should include the labor and parts.

What are the extra costs?

Some mechanics may charge an additional fee if other parts or repairs are needed.  For example, on WranglerForum.com, one member said to be aware of other issues once the frame is exposed.  This could include the gas lines, gas tank straps, shocks, springs, etc; all of which can increase the costs quite a bit.

Tips to know:

If there is a slight damage on the chassis, have it checked early so the damage does not become worse in the future, leading to higher repair costs.

Even though fiberglass won’t rust,  it doesn’t mean the frames underneath won’t.  According to CorvetteSports.com, the end of the main frame rails are often where most frames see the damage.

How can I save money?

To save money, get quotes from at least three to five different mechanics. Some may want to visually inspect it, while others may be able to offer a ballpark estimate over the phone.

Sometimes, straightening the existing chassis may be more expensive than replacing it with a new one.  Talk with your mechanic to see if it makes sense to replace it with a newer body.  Most of the time, they will say yes if the part is older than 20 to 25 years.  Even if the existing chassis was strengthened, existing problems could loom in the future.


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