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Q: Bent front axle/tire

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I got hit on the side of my car and my front tire on the driver's side is somewhat bent. It's not very dramatic, but definitely noticeable, along with a pretty decent dent on the body, almost right by the door. The driver's side door opens, but not all the way. I can still drive it, but there's obviously a problem when I turn left, I can hear metal squeaking. My questions are, around how much would this cost to repair, how long could I drive my car like this, and how dangerous is it to do so?

Thanks in advance!
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hey there. You might be able to drive the c...

Hey there. You might be able to drive the car indefinitely at low speeds, say 35 MPH or below. However, if you are truly seeing that the tire/wheel assembly is out of position, the tire will be quickly destroyed, regardless of speed, because the wheel alignment is undoubtedly way off.

Based on what you are describing, it would be unsafe to drive the car at highway speeds or above 45 MPH. The cost to repair depends on whether the sub-frame or unibody was damaged.

If there is no frame damage at all, the costs you would incur are limited to chiefly "bolt on parts" (suspension components) and labor to install which should make it affordable to repair. Of course, you may need a new wheel, too.

A repair of this sort, if there is no frame damage, can be done in the field by YourMechanic. If you want to know if the frame is damaged, often a body shop will give you a free estimate and inspection but in terms of the actual repair, you may save money by doing a bit of research. You can get an estimate for an axle replacement by entering your vehicle's information on our estimator page.

Frame damage requires substantial equipment and very precise and careful measurements and so can only be done in a specialized shops. In some cases, (probably not your case) this repair cannot be done at all if there is a huge amount of damage. Look up with the insurance concept of a "totaled car"; a car that has lots of frame damage and is not worth repairing. I am guessing your car is probably repairable and so you should look at all of your options.

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