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Dangerous Road Conditions

he highway between Eureka and Redding can be very dangerous due to frequent rock slides. This is true of many highways in mountain areas. Severe weather, rain and snow often cause rock slides and large rocks and boulders end up on the roadway. It is recommended to be alert during severe weather. Often the authorities have not yet been advised of a hazard on the roadway and detours or caution signs have not been posted.

Vehicles hitting large rocks on the roadway often sustain under carriage damage and the vehicles must be towed from the accident scene. The area between Eureka and Redding is rather remote and the wait for a tow truck could take several hours.

Even though this is obvious information, there are still those drivers that love racing around curves, not able to see the roadway ahead. Every winter these types of drivers bring work to body shops because they did not respect the dangerous conditions.

Modern vehicles are designed to have a controlled collapse of the frame and underbody components, to protect the passengers in the event of a heavy impact; such as a large rock or boulder in the roadway. A controlled collapse of the body absorbs much of the energy generated by the impact before it is transferred to the occupants of the vehicle. A controlled impact often has damage far from the point of impact on the vehicle. Because of this, all undercar damage may not be obvious. We have seen many vehicles not completely repaired.

Case in point; the driver told me he had hit a football sized rock in the roadway, after dodging several boulders. Obvious damage was a bent wheel, a blown tire and a bent strut. The obvious damaged parts were replaced and the wheels were aligned – but now the vehicle pulled hard in curves.

The alignment sheet the repair shop gave him showed the vehicle to be within tolerance, but our underbody blueprint caused us to expect additional damage. Many suspension components have unusual shapes and angles that make it difficult to determine if they are damaged.

Undercarriage repair underway, Coachmasters, Don Stec, Myoutdoorbuddy.com
Example of a damaged part (right side) that was missed in the original repair. Mounted in the vehicle, with all the connecting parts attached, it was not too obvious. When removed and placed on a level surface and compared to a new part (left side) it was very obviously damaged.

A “within tolerance” wheel alignment is often a clue that the vehicle has not been returned to factory specifications. Other instruments and blueprints are often necessary to be able to determine damage to the frame or steering components that are not obvious.

In this case a steering component was discovered slightly bent. Once the part was removed and placed on a straight surface for a comparison against the new part, it was obvious we had solved the problem and the vehicle would take an “ideal alignment” and drive properly again.

Coachmaster Collision repair* -- founded in 1969 is the best equipped body and paint shop in the North Valley specializing in "Total Body Alignment". Contact Allan Gordon for an estimate on your car, truck or any type RV. Ask about the many other services we provide. Call 530-243-1310 or visit the business at 6851 Eastside Road, in Redding California. *Click here if you are using a smart phone or other mobile device.

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So many places to visit and so little time, but if you scan
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