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April 25, 2024

How to Check for Car Damage from Hitting the Curb

Accidentally hitting a curb is a terrible feeling, leaving you wondering if you just caused a minor scrape to the paint or caused something a lot worse. So many parts under your car and near your wheels can collide with the curb during a mishap, making it difficult to be sure what damage may have occurred.

We’ve created this article to help you assess whether your car has sustained car damage from hitting a curb. We’ll discuss the nature of possible damage and explore some damage signs.

Types of Damage from Hitting a Curb

The following are some of the most common types of damage your car might sustain from hitting a curb.

Tire Damage

When your tires are damaged from hitting a curb, it may have only caused slight cosmetic damage by pinching the rubber or scraping the outer surface of the tire, called the sidewall.

More serious tire damage could involve tears or punctures to your tires, in which case you may need to patch or replace them. When a puncture occurs, it’s essential to monitor tire pressure to prevent driving on a low or flat tire.

Rim or Wheel Damage

Damaging your wheels can affect your car’s handling and even its fuel efficiency. If the wheel rims are bent from hitting a curb, they can misalign your vehicle, leading to imprecise steering and pulling to one side. You may also notice vibrations at higher speeds and have difficulty keeping the steering wheel straight.

If you notice any of these signs, you must have your car checked out immediately.

Suspension Damage

Your car’s suspension system can be damaged from hitting a curb in multiple ways, and diagnosing what damage has occurred can be challenging. The following suspension system components could be damaged.

Control Arms

The control arms are connected directly to your wheels, making them particularly vulnerable to an impact. Damage can cause misalignment, loose steering, and uneven tire wear.

Tie Rods

Tie rods can get bent if you hit a curb, causing your car to misalign and create uneven tire wear. As a result, you may feel the car pull to one side.

Wheel Bearings

If you damage the wheel bearings, you may hear a grinding noise and notice your steering feels wobbly and difficult to control.


Struts and shocks are less likely to get damaged by hitting a curb, but it does happen. Damage can affect your ride by causing a bouncy feeling, especially over bumps or potholes.

Sway Bar

Issues with a bent sway bar are more noticeable around corners and turns, as the bar helps stabilize your car’s handling into turns.

You may experience any combination of steering issues, pulling to the side, vibrations, bouncing, or less balanced driving around corners. If so, your suspension may have sustained damage and must be looked at right away.

Transmission Damage

Striking your transmission can cause a wide range of issues. The impact could separate cables from the transmission’s case housing or disconnect the gear shifter from the transmission, making it impossible to shift gears. Additionally, you can damage the transmission fluid line, causing a leak that leads to further issues.

A more severe hit can crack or break your transmission case, requiring a major repair. Cars with front-wheel drive (FWD) are even more prone to damage because the engine and transmission are closer to the front wheels, where curb impacts are more likely to occur. 

Issues with shifting, unusual noises like grinding or clunking sounds, and a burning smell are all signs you may have hit your transmission.

Exhaust System Damage

Hitting a curb can damage your car’s exhaust system, including the muffler, hangers, brackets, and, in severe instances, even the catalytic converter. The muffler is the most likely part to be damaged.

An exhaust system impact can dent or crack the muffler and disconnect brackets and hardware.

Listen for excessively loud exhaust sounds or rattling as a sign of damage. In the rare case of catalytic converter damage, your check engine light may also come on.

Can Hitting a Curb Cause Frame Damage?

Your car’s frame, or chassis, is designed to withstand impacts and is unlikely to get damaged from a minor curb impact. More severe impacts will most likely harm your wheels, suspension system, or transmission if your car is FWD.

What to Do Next

This article provides information on the potential problems you must check out if you hit a curb. Even the lightest impact could cause a leak or puncture a tire, but heavier impacts can do severe damage.

Don’t risk letting repairable problems become too expensive to fix. CARSTAR handles all auto body repairs using state-of-the-art equipment, and our certified technicians are trained to fix the damage on any make or model.

Don’t hesitate. If you think you’ve sustained tire damage from hitting a curb, contact CARSTAR at one of our convenient locations immediately!

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