Crumple zones are one of the most important car safety developments in history. Auto manufacturers have worked hard over the past several decades to reduce the number and severity of car accident injuries, and crumple zones (also known as crush zones) are a large part of their success. Most newer cars are designed to react in a safety-specific manner in case of a collision. Here are some interesting facts about these important automotive safety features.
What is a Crumple Zone?
Approximately 65 percent of auto collisions involve a direct impact to the front section of the vehicle. In the 1950s, European racecar designers began searching for a way to keep their drivers safer. Their engineering designs formed the basis for modern crush-resistant technology. A front-end collision results in an extremely high kinetic energy transfer. Hitting a solid object (such as a concrete barrier) at 60 mph is approximately the same amount of force the vehicle would encounter if it was dropped on its nose from 47 feet (about five stories) up. In older model vehicles, that energy was transferred through the car directly to its occupants. Modern automotive designs allow the car to retain most of that force, allowing the occupants to stay relatively unscathed.
Do Crumple Zones Really Help?
Upon impact, crush zones are designed to fold like an accordion at predetermined locations. Typically, the motor mounts disengage, allowing the engine to drop toward the ground. Previously, the engine may have been forced through the firewall into the driver and passengers. Other parts of the auto body are designed to remain rigid closest to occupants, but less so outside the safety zone, redistributing the force of impact. Since the advent of crush zones, deaths and injuries from high-impact collisions have dropped significantly. The degree of effectiveness varies depending on the quality of the vehicle and, not surprisingly, its size. Smaller cars obviously have less room to accordion.
How Crumple Zones Affect Auto Body Repairs
As a tradeoff for keeping you safe in the event of a crash, crumple zones sacrifice some parts of the vehicle intentionally. Some experts believe that crush zones can actually mask or hide frame damage, because they are designed to bounce back after impact. In addition, frames and other components can crumple far away from the point of impact. The bottom line is that, after a high-power impact, it may be difficult or impossible to visually detect serious body damage.
Dent Master, serving Salt Lake City and the surrounding communities, understands the importance of crumple zones for your safety, but also recognizes the danger of hidden damage to your car’s frame and other critical structures. Using state-of-the-art electronic damage-detection equipment, their experienced technicians will ensure that all damaged components of your vehicle are identified and repaired correctly and safety. If you’ve been in a collision that you suspect activated your car’s crumple zones, contact Dent Master today for a full evaluation.