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Unibody Frame Vs. Full Frame

Unibody and full-frame vehicles differ in terms of construction and repair techniques. So, what exactly is the difference between these two common types of vehicle construction? And what does it mean for the average driver? Let’s take a look.

What Is A Unibody Frame?

A vehicle with a unibody (or unitized frame) construction was designed to have the main cabin act as the vehicle structure. When vehicles with this design are constructed, metal is folded and welded onto the front and rear of the main cabin to form frame rails. These rails have specific “crush” zones in place that absorb energy in the vent of an accident. This design does a few things — first, it adds safety for the occupants, and it also minimizes structural damage to the vehicle during a collision. Almost all cars and most midsize and compact SUVs are unibody vehicles.

What Is A Full Frame?

Full frame (or body-on-frame) vehicles are constructed in an entirely different manner. Full frame vehicles are designed with a frame that is entirely separate from the main vehicle body. Both of these segments are constructed separately and then attached. This method is older and simpler. Many pickup trucks are still produced as full frame vehicles.

What It Means For You

This information is important to understand because it helps shed light on a common body shop repair cost that confuses many drivers. When you see “repairs to frame” on your damage appraisal, this doesn’t mean that you’re vehicle has a frame that is completely broken. In fact, this usually means that one of the “crush zones” of your unitized frame has taken some damage, as it is designed to do. In essence, know that this is a normal part of vehicle repair for cars with unibody constructions.


If you’d like to learn more about the differences between unibody frames or full frames, feel free to speak with our service staff here at J.B.A. Collision Center in Glen Burnie, MD.

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