If you've been involved in an accident or nudged your car a little too firmly against a parking lot rail, the damage to your car can be ugly and troublesome to repair. For some people, auto body damage seems like a cosmetic problem that can wait until later. Unfortunately, there are some risks associated with driving around in a dented vehicle. The following can help you understand how body damage affects driving quality and gas mileage.
Drag Coefficient And Gas Mileage
Think of driving down the road with your hand outside the window. The familiar feeling of the wind dragging your hand back as you pick up speed, brushing against your palm with the occasional spec of dust or leaf. That feeling is killing your gas mileage in strange ways.
Air can still be a physical barrier, although it's more obvious in some situations than others. When a storm comes around or you drive at high speeds, it's easy to understand the force of the wind. Vehicles designers try to reduce that struggle by reducing their drag coefficient. The lower the drag coefficient, the less work your car's engine has to do to move forward.
With body damage, there may be extra areas of resistance. A flattened front captures more air just like an open palm hanging outside the window as you drive. A dented, crooked hood becomes a wider surface that battles against oncoming force and forces your vehicle to consume more fuel.
If parts of your vehicle are vibrating or shaking, that extra movement may slow down your vehicle as well. An auto repair shop can help you by inspecting the damage and explaining the unique problems plaguing your vehicle.
Wind Resistance Causes Poor Steering Control
With certain dents, the abnormal airflow may be able to change the way your vehicle drives. With more air pressure against certain dents or holes in the vehicle, your driving experience may turn into a wobbling mess.
A dent on the front of the car in a certain slant may cause you to drive in one specific direction. If you're not constantly correcting your direction by steering against the drift, you may end up veering into another lane or driving over roadside rumble strips.
For certain parts of the vehicle such as the hood or bumpers, constantly driving with damage can lead to rattling, which may cause the part to fall off completely when you'd least expect it. Before putting yourself into such dangerous situations for too long, contact an auto repair shop as soon as possible.