Automobiles are like buildings, in a sense. Every building has a structure or frame that preserves its shape and form and ensures that its structural integrity is not compromised. Like our shelters, automobiles also have a roof to shield you from elements, pillars to support and hold the roof, and the floor supporting everything above it. These structures are termed car pillars, and without them, your car would be unsafe to drive.
Now, your car may still be drivable, even though these structures have been compromised. However, it’s not a guarantee that it will shield you from harm in the event of a collision. As such, it’s crucial to know what to do if your car pillar ever gets compromised.
Knowing more about car pillar damage will help you make an educated decision if you’re faced with such a problem. In the sections that follow, we’re going to examine and answer some of the questions you may have about car pillars.
Let’s get started!
What are the Different Pillars in a Car?
Car pillars are a vehicle’s vertical support, although they’re not always entirely vertical. Some may be inclined at an angle for streamlining and aerodynamics purposes.
There are four types of pillars found on both sides of the car from the front to the rear; they are named A, B, C, and D pillars. These pillars are named according to the alphabets because of their appearance when viewed from the sides. The A-pillar looks like the letter A, the B pillar like the letter B, and so on and so forth.
Even longer vehicles, like the limousine, have these four pillar types. The difference is that the B pillar is duplicated multiple times for as many doors that the car has, excluding the driver’s door. So that you have pillars B1, B2, B3, depending on the total number of extra passenger compartments the limo has.
A Closer Look at the Pillars
Let’s consider those pillar types in more detail, shall we?
1. A Pillar
The A pillars are on both sides of the vehicle; they border the windshield to the left and right. These pillars are made of steel alloys to help protect against collisions and crashes. A-pillars are known to be characteristically thick.
Consequently, they sometimes obstruct drivers by creating blind spots in some circumstances. For instance, when navigating a bend, you might be unable to see some pedestrians and road users. Think about all the accidents that could occur from the obstruction. Thankfully, we can see that more manufacturers are coming up with slimmer A-pillars improve the driver’s vision and ensure road safety.
2. B Pillar
B pillars have the driver’s door closing on it, the rear door hinged to it, and are welded to the roof and floor pan of the car. Because of this, it is regarded as the most complex structure of a vehicle’s body. Certain vehicle types do not have B pillars. The roof of such vehicles is modified into hardtops.
These varieties of cars do not possess the same structural integrity as cars with B pillars. Thus, the passengers are more exposed should there be a collision. Car manufacturers like General Motors now make hardtops with B pillars to combat this "flaw."
3. C Pillar
The C pillar is the last type of pillar found in sedans, and it's located right after the rearmost door. The design of the vehicle makes its position vary from car model to car model. The position of the C pillars in an SUV is different from that of a sedan.
4. D Pillar
The last pillar you’ll find in a vehicle is the D pillar. They are primarily seen in wagons and sport utility vehicles.
Is It Expensive to Repair or Replace a Car Pillar?
The cost of a car pillar repair or replacement depends on the extent of damage and the vehicle type. If a small dent is impressed on the rear wing, it will cost about 700 – 1,300 AUD without painting. Suppose the damage is quite extensive and you want the paint job done, then it could cost as much as 12,900 AUD.
Repairing car pillar damage is costly because of the extensive adjustments that would have to be done on the vehicle's structure. It may be tempting to do minimal repairs or just enough to get your vehicle on the road, but you'd be risking your life because the framework of the car won’t be sturdy enough to protect you when there's a collision.
For more accurate estimates, get a quote from a panel shop near you.
Will Pillar Damage Total a Car?
A car is totalled when the cost of repairing a car exceeds the car's worth. Damages of any or multiple pillars can cause as much as 30-70% of a car’s market value. It's not wise to go on with repairs at this point because you'll run at a loss. In fact, once the repair cost nears 70% of the car's value, insurance companies would rather pay the owner the vehicle's pre-wreck value than repair it. About 70-75% of the car's value is the general cut off by insurance companies to refer to a vehicle as a "total loss." If your car gets totalled and isn't insured, you’re better off selling it as scraps to wreckers.
What Should You Do when There’s Car Pillar Damage?
The primary deciding factor in the route to take is your vehicle insurance. The insurance company will foot your repairs bills if the car isn’t totalled. But if it is totalled, they'll pay you the pre-wreck value of your vehicle, and you can then choose to get a new car with it. On the other hand, if the vehicle is uninsured and the cost of repairs is greater than the car’s value, it is sensible to get it appraised and sold off as scrap.
Selling the vehicle off without mentioning the faults is not the best of practices. It's unethical if you ask me. But morality aside, VIN checkers track the significant repairs that have been made on a vehicle. So it's highly probable that the prospect buyer will find out.
If you need to replace or repair a car pillar, then consult with your insurance company (if you insured your vehicle) and your mechanic so that you can make an educated decision. I trust you will.
A Final Word
Our blog at Carpart.com.au is updated weekly with several articles like this one. We educate car owners on the best automobile practices and decisions. Carpart also provides tools like Request-a-part and Directories to help you find reputable car part sellers, wreckers, and specialists near you. We can’t wait to help you—get a quote now!
By Damilare Olasinde