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If your car (let's just assume some unibody sedan) gets hit in the side door enough to deform the side door impact beam, does that pose a serious threat to the future safety of the car (like in another side impact)?

I'm looking at a car that has a fairly minor deformation to the driver's side door, but I'm pretty sure the side impact beam is under there and may be deformed a bit. Looks like someone backed into the door.

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Yes, it changes the structural rigidity of that component.

So, in a future accident the door will probably deform more rapidly / to a greater extent than one with no damage, but this depends on the angle of impact and other factors as well.

If you think that the side impact beam has been deformed "a bit" how can you class this as "minor"?

  • on the outside, the dent does not look very "bad" (eg, the edges of the door still line up, there is no deformation beyond the door, etc), but if i recall correctly the side impact beam nearly hugs the exterior sheet metal and so theres a chance it is also deformed with the door. i wouldnt know for sure unless i take off the interior panel for the door (which i would probably do if i were actually inspecting the car). – tau Sep 10 '17 at 22:07

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