6 PRACTICAL REASONS WHY YOU NEED A BODY-ON-FRAME CAR
I have one and I am glad.
Frame-based cars. They are bigger, heavier and get worse fuel economy than unibodies. But even as producers are phasing out this now-obsolete design, there are some real-life reasons why you should consider buying a body-on-frame vehicle. Let's check them out.
You don’t need to drive off-road to find difficult terrain. If you live in a city, chances are you’ll come across speedbumps, potholes, kerbs etc. They might seem harmless at first glance, but they damage your car in the long run. Body-on-frame cars are much sturdier and therefore hold up to this kind of abuse much better than unibody cars. They also make the ride much more comfortable, because the frame absorbs some of the vibrations that would otherwise be absorbed by the body.
When your wheel arches and floor rust badly, the car’s ability to perform as a medium of transport may greatly deteriorate. Unibody cars depend on the relatively thin body to carry the weight of the car, so once it starts rusting away, the whole car is at a risk of, quite literally, falling apart. But when you have a frame to hold everything together, you can continue using your car even if its body is rusting away. On top of that, if you decide to replace the rusty body parts, having a frame to hold the car together makes it much easier.
3. Off-road capabilities
It is a general truth that body-on-frame vehicles have higher off-road capabilities. The frame can help reinforce the car when sturdiness is needed, and it helps flex the body when you're crossing axles. Modern off roaders like the new Defender are able to substitute for a frame with advanced alloys, but for the ordinary working man who cannot afford one of those, a body-on-frame car is probably a far better choice.
4. Towing capacity
This one is pretty obvious: whether you're towing a camper, a horse trailer or a flatbed, it puts the entire structure of a unibody car under intense stress. The results can be damaged axles or even bent body. That is why vehicles with a ladder frame are recommended for towing. The same goes for hauling capacity.
5. After-market mods
If you’re the kind of person who likes to swap giant V8s into your project car or perhaps create custom body panels, you will appreciate the ease with which this can be done on body-on-frame vehicles. Unlike unibody cars, those with a frame have more structural integrity, so they allow for a variety of bigger and heavier engines. The same goes for winches, axles and other accessories. Plus, having a car kept together by the frame means you can cut out pieces of the engine bay which stand in the way without risking that the car is going to fall apart.
Let me tell you a true story that happened in my country last year.
The Secretary of the Culture Ministry was driving his Dacia Logan on a trip with his wife and 2-year son. He got into a head-on collision with a first-generation KIA Sorento. The impact was so powerful that both cars ended up in the ditch next to the road. The secretary was pronounced dead on scene, his wife was airlifted to the hospital where she succumbed to her injuries. Their son is now an orphan. It was a national tragedy. Both cars were totalled, but the crew of the Sorento made it out without life-threatening injuries.
While body-on-frame vehicles generally score fewer stars in crash tests, real-life situations tend to be far from the simulated conditions. Real-life accidents are rarely car at full speed vs. concrete wall. It’s usually a car-on-car collision. Those who drive body-on-frame vehicles have an unprecedented advantage over those with unibody cars, especially if it’s a body-on-frame SUV or pickup truck.
After seeing that horrific accident on the news, I decided I needed a first-gen Sorento for myself.
That was a list of my reasons for driving a car with a frame. If you have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment below. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and drive safely, you never know what might happen.