Some car accidents that appear minor can cause hidden damage to vehicles. Car owners need to be keen and identify any warning signs that can alert them to this hidden damage before it causes safety and performance problems.
Reduced Battery Performance
Have you noticed any changes in the way your car battery works? Those changes may result from damage to the battery that went unnoticed. For example, the battery may drain quickly when you are using the car radio while the vehicle is stationary. This can be an indicator that the crash jarred the battery and caused some of the plates inside the battery to break. Alternatively, the sediment within the battery could have been dislodged and it coated the battery's plates. Consequently, the battery may be unable to provide ample electricity to the different vehicle systems due to the reduced surface area for chemical reactions.
Check Engine Light
Hidden damage can also be brought to light some days after a supposedly minor accident. The check engine light may begin flashing on the instrument panel in your car. That light may be drawing your attention to damage to the emissions control system or engine defects sustained during the impact.
Leaks can also signal that your vehicle sustained more damage than you had initially thought. For example, coolant may leak in case a tiny crack developed on the radiator or coolant hose during the accident. Engine oil, transmission fluid and air conditioning refrigerant can also leak in the aftermath of a car accident. You can identify these leaks by examining the engine bay and the ground beneath your car after parking it for several hours.
Uneven Tyre Wear
Uneven tyre wear can point to car alignment issues that may be traced to the accident that you were involved in. Alignment problems may be confirmed in case your vehicle is exhibiting other drivability problems, such as when the car pulls to one side as you brake. Such drivability problems need to be sorted quickly because they can trigger worse problems in the associated systems of the car, such as the suspension system components.
You should never regard any accident as minor until your vehicle has been inspected by a professional and no defects have been found. Even then, be observant and notice any changes that may occur in the normal behaviour of your car in the weeks after the accident. Some defects don't show up immediately, so your vigilance can identify them as soon as they reveal themselves. Talk to your insurance company about these repairs.