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How Much Does It Cost To Weld A Cracked Car Frame?

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welding car frame

A car frame keeps the car aligned, making it a principal part of your car. You may find yourself in an accident with the car damaged to a point the radiator is pushed to the engine, and the fenders are all bent up. It will be a blessing to come out of it unscratched, but sadly the car frame would be damaged. Apart from taking a chunk of cash to repair, it will also need a professional welder with the proper experience to effectively correct the problem.

You may see costs of up to $10,000 to repair a cracked car frame depending on the extent of the damage. This may need some evaluation on the necessity of repair versus getting a new car. In this article, we give a complete breakdown of the cost of welding a cracked car frame and other related questions.

Keep reading to learn more!


Why Weld a Cracked Car Frame?

One of the main reasons you should weld a cracked car frame is to ensure the car is in proper alignment and that it does not seem to be out of place. You may have seen a small truck where the chassis and the cabin do not seem to be in alignment or a car where the front part seems to be out of alignment with the back parts.

Once the frame is properly aligned, everything within the car will be held in its proper position, and this mitigates further damage from unintended pressure on other parts of the car due to improper frame alignment.

Welding a cracked frame will also go a long way in preventing any future problems with the car’s main structural parts. A cracked frame will result in a weaker car which will be in danger of sustaining heavy damage if you are ever in an accident.

While at the mechanic for alignment, you may also diagnose other problems with the structure of the car. You may be looking to weld a cracked frame only to find another problem created by the prolonged impact of rust on the structure of the car.

welder welding car frame

Image Credit: Dizfoto, Shutterstock

The Cost of Welding a Cracked Car Frame

As previously mentioned, it will cost you up to $10,000 to repair a cracked car frame depending on the size of the crack or damage to the car. It may cost you anywhere from between $600–$1,000 for smaller frame damages.

You may still have to part with more money to paint the car frame after welding. The average working time for a professional welder will be $18 per hour.

Ensure whoever you choose to work on the car is a seasoned professional with a track record for working with car frames, as most of the time, the car will end up being weaker on the joints and areas it was welded.

Below is a breakdown of the cost.

Cracked Frame Cost
Smaller damages $600–$1,000
Extensive damage $10,000

How to Tell That Your Car Frame Is Cracked

Before you can conclude that your car frame is cracked, here are signs to look out for. Not that these are just the initial signs, and you should go to a professional for the final diagnosis.

  • Poor wheel tracking
  • Uneven tire wear
  • Uneven wear on suspension and shocks
  • Poor car alignment
  • Visible damage
  • Unusual noises
professional welding car frame

Image Credit: Vershinin89, Shutterstock

Different Kinds of Car Frames

All cars have unique frames as per the manufacturers’ intent; the mainframes mostly used are either the unibody frame or the ladder frame.

Let’s take a look at these frames.

Ladder Frame

This is an older way of making airframes that were renowned for their strength and resistance. Currently, the ladder frame is reserved mostly for trucks, given its high durability.

The core of the frame has two symmetrical rails of the same length as the car and can be connected to several cross members. The drive train and power are placed on the frame at the same time the body of the car is also placed on this ladder to finish the car’s assembly.

Unibody Frames

A unibody frame means that the car’s body and the frame are one thing. You can break down the frame depending on the area and purpose. Being unitary will make the whole car seem to be bent to one side and will not drive straight.

Let’s check out some of the parts of a unibody frame:

Core Support

This can also be called the radiator support and is placed on the front part of the car. This part can be replaced in most cars.

Unirails

These are one of the strongest parts of the frame and will form the foundation of all other components that will be welded on to make the whole car frame. They appear as symmetrical metal beams at the front and back end of the car.

Strut Tower

These are the parts of the frame that are required to hold the suspension of the vehicle in place. Every car has a strut tower on the four corners and also forms part of the rear quarter panel and the front apron.

person grinding car frame

Image Credit: Dmitry Kalinovsky, Shutterstock

Apron

On the inside area of the fender of the car is the apron. The rear parts of the apron will extend to the firewall, while the front part comes from the front support to the strut tower.

Firewall

This is the part between the driver and passenger compartment and the engine. This part is effectively reinforced to ensure maximum safety for the occupants of the cars. You will have the strut tower, apron, front rails, and cores to reinforce both the engine and front unibody.

Floor Pan

This is the base of the car that supports the bottom part, running across the whole length. It has a couple of holes to move some cable through it, especially in electric cars.

Rear Support

This is the hind part of the car frame. It comes with two uni-rails; the floorboard where the spare tires go and the rear bumper support.

Quarter Panel

These are the metal sheets that form the left and right rear panels of the vehicle that form the car wheels; they also come with the gas cap. For most cars, this part is made of metal, but in cars such as the corvette, they can also be carbon fiber and fiberglass.

Rocker Panel

Rocker panels maintain the doors in place and align them when they are closed.

A-B-C Pillars

These are the main supports for the car that maintains its vertical structure. They are labeled alphabetically to know which pillar belongs where. Certain cars—which may be a bit longer compared to the normal cars—will have an extra pillar, the D-Pillar. It adds extra support.


How are Cracked Car Frames Welded?

There are several ways to weld together car frames. However, most of them add more metal to the frame, resulting in a heavier frame which affects vehicle efficiency. Some of these include:

However, there are two ways in which professional welders can weld a frame without affecting the efficiency, and these include:

1. Medium Frequency Welding

This welding style uses AC current coming through an inverter, which converts the current frequency to a higher medium frequency which will go through a transformer using a welding gun.

This type of welding is more efficient and faster with more materials to choose from. Besides, it produces a cleaner weld. It is ideal for lighter welds that have stronger holds, and it will not affect the fuel efficiency of the vehicle afterward.

2. Magnetic Pulse Welding

This welding process uses lighter materials, mainly aluminum to achieve more fuel efficiency.

close up welder welding car frame

Image Credit: evgeny varlamov, Shutterstock

Does a Cracked Failure Devalue the Car?

Frame damage is one of the most devaluing factors on the car. It can cost up from 30% to 70% of the car value. You are also required by law to disclose if your frame has been welded.

However, some people may not disclose whether the car has undergone some frame damage. Thus, when buying a secondhand car, consult a collision expert to get the proper value of the car in case of a welded frame.

Note that when it comes to legalities, there are some instances where it will be illegal to drive with a welded car frame. The restrictions may prevent you from driving on certain roads, including public roadways.

In the event of another accident with a welded frame, which can be traced to an aftermarket modification, the welder may have some liability in law.

Some insurance companies will also not cover vehicles with welded frames, meaning you may suffer more financial damage from another accident.


Conclusion

A cracked frame may not be as bad as a fully damaged frame and may be worth welding back together to protect the integrity and value of the car. However, get proper advice in regard to the amount of money you have to spend on it and the impact on the value it will have. If it’s worth it, get a proper welder who will ensure the car is properly aligned to provide efficiency while driving.


Featured Image Credit: evgeny varlamov, Shutterstock

Cameron Dekker
 

Cameron grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, a once-proud steel town on the Lehigh River, where he got a taste of TIG welding in his high school shop class. He holds certificates for Certified WeldingEducator (CWE) and Certified Resistance Welding Technician (CRWT) from the American Welding Institute. His interests include scuba diving, sculpture, and kayaking.