Why New Cars are Safer than Old Cars

Why New Cars are Safer than Old Cars

Rev up your engines,
today I’m going to explain why almost no modern cars have solid frames that their built upon,
now originally, cars had solid steel frames that were either bolted or welded together,
then the body of the car bolted onto the frame, this way of making cars was called body on
frame, there way a seperate frame that the body was bolted to,
but almost all cars today have what’s called unibody construction,
where the body and the frame is all one part there is no seperate frame,
now this isn’t a new design, in 1915 the ruler motor company of Illinois made a unibody car,
it was called the ruler famous, but most cars back then they had solid frames and the bodies
were bolted on the frames, there were two main reasons for that, first
if you have a solid steel frame, the vehicle is much more resistant to bending forces when
it either has heavy loads or is taking hard turns,
the frames would keep things from twisting, today big trucks like f150s they still have
solid steel frames, actual frames, and the second reason is this, even back in
the day, people wanted different styles of cars, they were always changing the styles
and they found that if they made a solid frame they can bolt any body style on top of it,
so if they change the model, they can keep the same frame and just change the body work
and just bolt the body work on, even in modern times I was reading about the
hydrogen cars, and people were saying, oh well people aren’t going to buy hydrogen cars
because they cost too much money to make and people don’t want to spend that much money
on a car, they’ll get bored with how it looks, well one of the ideas with the hydrogen car
is, build them on solid frames, then they can change the body work anytime they want
so, hey if you’re paying $100,000 for a car, you could drive it for 30 years just whenever
you wanted, you could put different body panels on it to make it look differently,
so a vehicle with actual frames, body on frame construction have some big advantages, but
they also have disadvantages, it costs more money to make if you’ve look
at any full size pickups you’ll see what I’m talking about some of those things are over
$50,000, and the steel frame with the body bolted on,
the weigh more, so their going to get worse gas mileage and gas mileage is a big thing
these days, so being cheaper to make and weighing less,
unibody construction has taken over the vast majority of vehicles these days other than
large trucks, hey in 1984 the jeep was the first suv type
vehicle made that didn’t have a big frame on it anymore, it was unibody too, even back
in 1984, and in 1994 the toyota rav4 was the first
real mass produced suv or crossover vehicle that didn’t have a frame on it that was all
unibody construction, now almost all of them are unibody construction,
now unibody construction does have it’s benefits, it’s cheaper to make, lighter weight so it
gets better gas mileage, and here’s a strange fact, unibody construction
is actually safer for you although it’s less safe for the vehicle itself,
since it’s a lighter construction method it crumple zones are everywhere, you get in a
wreck all that energy has to go somewhere, if that energy goes to crumple all the pieces
of the car in, it can get rid of more of the energy so you don’t get smashed around as
much, on a solid frame vehicle, that frame is tough
it’s going to resist being crumpled so that power has to go somewhere and it will go to
pushing you around inside the car, or making you hit the windshield,
so unibody cars are safer, they do much better in those crash tests, when you see those crash
test dummy tests that they have, hey you’ll see the car all crumpled up with
the unibody the frame ones won’t do that, I’ve seen that personally when my kids were
on a school bus one time that got in a wreck, so I went to get them and there’s the school
bus you could barely tell anything had happened to the school bus but it had run into a suv
and the suv was totally crumpled in it was destroyed,
so the school bus hey it was saved and the kids were ok too because they weren’t going
all that fast and being that high up in the air and since the school bus has the vast
amount of energy it’s putting it’s energy going to the suv and the suv energy didn’t
do much to the bus, but the passenger in the suv they were all
ok, even though their car was destroyed and was totaled,
and as I said the frames are more resistant to any type of twisting effects when you’re
carrying loads or cornering hard, but engineers have figured ways to make the
unibody constructions handle good, as you can see on this lexus, it’s got a bar
the whole way across the front that keeps it from getting body twisting when you corner
hard, there’s ways to make them ride good,
of course they can’t handle big weight like a big f150 truck which still has a solid steel
frame around, but hey your not carrying rocks around in your lexus,
a lot of old timers they say, hey I want a car with a solid frame and this and that,
but really with the comfort and drive of the unibody construction plus the ability to save
people in crashes and get better gas mileage, their not going to come back with body on
frames anytime soon, and if you really think about it, if you get
in a big wreck, what would you rather have survive, yourself or your car, and since this
is the thursday segment where I answer a viewers question, place your own question on the YouTube
comments below and I’ll pick the best ones to make a single video to answer your questions,
and where else can you find a guy with 50 years of experience of fixing cars to answer
your own question with a video, so if you never want to miss another one of
my new car repair videos, remember to ring that bell!

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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  2. My wife gave her old Toyota Corolla 04 with 190k after sitting 1 year she gave to a mechanic friend he was supposed to change oil and other stuff to make the car safe to drive after 2 days on the road engine seized why is that!! Love the channel keep up the good show thanks

  3. I've got a question. We just purchased a 2001 Yukon xl 1500 4wd with 130k miles to tow our small 5k Lb travel trailer. Had it checked out by a trusted mechanic, other than a water pump and fluids, he said it was great and wished he found it before us.

    I still see a LOT, A LOT of this Era GMT-800 platforms on the road today. I barely see any 900's at all. My wife and I keep track of how many now and its ridiculous how many of these high teens year old vehicles are still on the road. What did they do right that they didn't with the newer versions? I plan on keeping mine until my wife can't stand it, but I see many for sale with 250k-300k miles still running and passing smog here in CA. What gives?

  4. Scotty, you seem to be a bit out of energy in this video……I wish you good health, I always enjoy your videos and appreciate the time you take to make them.

  5. Hey Scotty can you do a video talking about the the Taco Tick that seems to bug most Toyota Tacoma owners and also talk about why you think they went from the 4.0 by to the 3.5 by on the new 3rd gen Tacos? I think the taco tick isn't just a tacoma issue but definitely a Toyota/Lexus sound in there motors heard the same tick on a brand new 2018 Lexus GX. That is in advance.

  6. Yeah but it doesn't really cost more.. they make alot of money when they build a car.. they just found that people will pay more for the cars or trucks.. their profit margin is huge..that's why their stock is successful and worth so much a share

  7. You just said the school bus with a frame wasn't damaged but the SUV was… I'd bet on a big body frame any day.. the fact that the unibody are different they are worse they get soft and bendable..the Fame cars stay solid

  8. Look at a solid frame from 20 years of age and a unibody car that had 20 years of age… The unibody is rusted soft and bendable..the frame cars or trucks still have solid frames..and unibody cars will bend and shift the older they get.. I see it all the time.. but a good solid frame car with no accidents stay the same.. the worst thing you may have is a rusted floor pan or wheel well.. I know they claim they do better the fact of the matter is with age the unibody shows it's age and how cutting corners always results in a product that doesn't last

  9. How about a video on why a engine light may come on a per-scan car or truck like my 1993 F-150? I can't use a scanner to find the issues.

  10. 5:44

    So the way it is actually fits me.

    If i drove a modern car i would want to survive.
    If i drove a classic car i would want the car to survive.

  11. Why won't someone design a hybrid frame??? For instance a car with a solid frame but with connecting points that ARE softer that can break-away in a wreck?? That way it has the solid frame advantage – which you can use to detatch totalled sections of a divided frame that crumpled up like a unibody and then just buy a new section of frame that can bolt on to where the soft spots break off from in a wreck, then proceed to take advantage of the frame feature and replace body panels with all brand new and have a truly immaculate car again instead of dealing with a dangerous true frame OR a one and done Unibody frame??

  12. Scotty. My wife has been driving Toyota Sienna mini vans for twenty years, but we notice there are not many mini vans on the road thee days. They seem to be the perfect car for hauling people and.cargo. What gives? Pete Andres, Quitman, Texas.

  13. Hi Great Videos,I would like to know you opinion are cars that run on Gaz (lpg ) safe ? compare to Diesel and Benzin ? which sort of Gaz system is the best ? many thanks Z Mark

  14. hey scotty i have a 95 jeep yj i have a problem with my oil pressure runs good well driving but it drops down to about 10 psi but goes back up when rpms are up can this be fixed and what could it be

  15. Hey Scotty i have a 95 yj my heating system is completely messed up put on low yo blow high turn it of to turn it on put it an cold to blow hot what should i check and how do i fix it

  16. Scotty, my grandson has a 2010 Chevy Impala V6 with 180,000 miles. The engine doesn't use oil and the oil color is not dark. Mostly highway miles. The auto transmission has conked out. Should he get a mechanic to overhaul the transmission or buy a rebuilt one. The difference in price is almost $1,500. He can get the rebuilt installed from a reputable shop for $3,500. Should he fix it up or junk it. The body is in very nice condition.

  17. EVERYTHING that is done on modern vehicles is done because it us CHEAPER.
    Engineers are paid to CUT production costs every single year.
    This is why modern cars use plastic parts and wiring made with VEGETABLE based plastics that rodents love to eat.
    Cheap Chinese pot metal rims that blow apart on impact and cheap Chinese tires that cost three times as much for HALF the rubber of the 14 and 15 inch tires they SHOULD be using.
    13 inch tires can easily handle the weight of all sub compacts.
    14 inch tires can easily handle the weight of all mid sizes.
    15 inch tires can easily handle the weight of all large sedans
    and pickup trucks.
    Putting 17 inch tires on a car and 20 inch tires on a truck is merely making tire companies billions of dollars by selling
    tires that have less than half the amount of rubber at three times the price.

  18. Hi Scotty, I want my 2006 Ford five hundred limited to ride smoother, what can I do?
    It's a Aisin 6 speed auto, good tires, one owner, good tires, well maintained. I just want a better ride. Thank you, John

  19. Hey Scotty, the 60, 61 and up Ford Falcon was unibody, I like those cars, reliable, cheap to fix, good gas milage, fairly comfortable. 😆😆 thanks William

  20. You don’t have any videos on cargo vans like dodge promasters or ford transit reliable of them maintenance on them

  21. Another issue with unibody construction is they don't have the towing capacity that body on frame does. That's why we see trucks and SUVs towing most of the time.

    My question: Why do a lot of newer cars have plastic covers all over the engines now? It started out with luxury cars to make them look neater and I'd suspect hardly any luxury car owners worked on their own cars.

    However now, they're on cheaper cars like the Ford Escape. I saw a Lexus where hardly any engine parts could be seen with the hood up.

    Can they be removed and left off?

    I'd have a hard time buying a car with all of the plastic obscuring the engine. It screams "no user serviceable pars inside".

  22. I had a Mitsubishi Outlander 2010. It was a unibody. But they also put a small game on it. It was a very good suv.

  23. I had a 2011 Hyundai Elantra and I got t boned the car was destroyed and I was knocked unconscious but I lived through it. I was knocked out by the airbag. I miss the car but I’m glad it saved my life.


  25. Sorry Scotty Have you seen the curb weight of the unibodies they now weigh just as much if not more than some of the solid frame cars

  26. Great episode! An idea for another video: ‘Most user friendly fixable used truck(s) and or car(s) …of all time(and maybe under $10K)!!’ Thanks, Scotty!!✍🏽😺

  27. Personally scotty i would rather the car survive than me haha simply because cars are expensive anyways and my family does not have enough to afford new vehicles anyways. So if i died and the car survives the accident at least my family still has a car. That and my family would be mad at me if i wreaked a car n survived.

  28. well considering new cars are uni-body l d rather drive an old school body on frame car and use the new cars as my crumple zone 🙂

  29. Was looking at a safety video with a 60s Impala who was crashing into a tiny two doors modern car and the Impala was destroyed real bad but not that small car. Rather interesting for sure. ☺

  30. Scotty, I was thinking about about either a Volvo s80 2007 or a Volvo xc90 2005 for about $4000, because they are supposed to be safe. I notice these models and years are generally at this low price at dealerships. Is this because they are extra expensive to maintain?

  31. Hi Scotty after viewing dozens of your videos which were very helpful and my decision in buying a 2012 Scion TC with 74,000 miles according to the Carfax it looks like the vehicle has been well-maintained regular oil change were done.
    Did I make a good choice?

  32. Modern day constructions are technically a hybrid of solid frame and unibody since most now use subframes (the Austin Se7en and Morris Mini Minor being the first?)

    There was a time during the 80's and 90's when this was abandoned but manufacturers recognised the cost savings in pre-building bits of the car before 'marrying' them to the unibody. (Yes 'the marriage' is a technical automotive construction term)

    Previously, powertrain components were mounted directly to the unibody.

  33. Hi Scotty, love your videos. I love Toyota products and I’m in the market for a new car. I’m stuck between the new 2019 RAV4 and a newer Lexus RX. What should I get?

  34. At a low speed accident or collision unibody actually have more advantage. Think this way. 1980 Lincoln vs Honda civic

  35. Scotty, I haven't heard you talk much on Acura vehicles. Any insight on the Acura brand / Honda luxury vehicles engines, performance, and reliability? Oh Yeah! Thanks for another great video. Appreciate all the knowledge your passing along.

  36. I would rather be in a 1970s to 1980s GMC Suburban or a Lincoln Towncar instead of a unibody car like a Nissan Versa during a side impact crash. Any day, any road, any angle.

  37. Hi Scotty, I bought a 2014 corvette from New Mexico and I live in CA. At first when I would press on the start button it took a while to start, but now a couple months in she seems to start up very quickly. What was the problem, should i look out for anything?

  38. Question. Which is better, unibody or frame car? Answer. The frame car guy is no longer around to talk about it.

  39. A great example of how important crumple zones are is when a Tesla rear ended a fire truck at 60 mph and the driver got away with only a broken ankle.

  40. I understand this fully. When I was kid my parents took us to a creek to play in the water,. When we finished a car full of teenagers came around the corner and were going too fast for the curve and they went down into the creek and it killed everyone in the car but, the car looked to have very little damage but, there was blood all over the inside of the car. This was before cellphones so my dad had to drive back to our house call the police. My brother and I were horrified.

  41. There has to be a certain speed of collision where the crumple zones do not protect any more and where a solid frame has its advantages.

  42. Scotty, can I switch a car from remote door key entry to a manual one by changing out the key cylinder.

  43. Hey Scotty. Can you make a video that shows what will happen if you don´t change the oil, or what happens when the engine overheats and how to best prevent it, or if the cooling fluids spils out, please go into details and explain it.

    Thanks again:)

  44. Hey Scotty, I drive a 2009 Nissan Versa sedan with a manual transmission. It has about 130,000 miles on it. Should I think about replacing it with something newer, or just keep driving it until it has a major problem? I bought it used in 2014 for about $6,000.

  45. This thanks to one Ralph Nader. He started this ongoing nightmare about safety and on top of that, we now have the EPA ruling the roost. Why would you need something called a knock sensor when every gasoline sold in the United States meets the same standards? Please do try to explain.

  46. I hate to correct you, Scotty, but it wasn't the Jeep in 1984 or the RAV4 in 1994. Lada NIva was first produced in 1976: unibody crossover with full-time all-wheel drive (locking center diff and low range for more serious off-road). Yes, they were not imported into the US for political reasons, but we can't change the facts 🙂

  47. Hi Scotty. From PORTUGAL one question I'd like to pose. I heard you talk about Mercedes in several occasions and opinions. I own a 1993(last series) 190D (w201) with ''only'' 340.540 km (roughly about 180 miles) that only needs oil/oil filter change each 5/6.000 miles ( roughly 10.000km). Doesn't ''smoke'' and only ''big'' repair was last year engine head gasket (I guess that's the name in English). So my question is …. what's your opinion about those ''less younger'' Mercedes?? Congrats on your channel.

  48. Scotty I honestly think that the old cars are a lot safer than the new cars made today because they're made better and made with stronger material.

  49. I appreciate the fact that we have a talented man like this explaining safety information for the average Joe. I’m thankful that we have Scotty Kilmer today

  50. It's so hard to make people understand how a modern unibody car is safer than a full frame car, they don't get the science behind it. A modern unibody car is designed so that the entire front end (including fenders and hood) are all integrated to absorb the impact. On a full frame car, the only structural members are the frame rails…the fenders and hood do virtually nothing. Once those frame rails collapse, that's it—you're screwed

  51. car companies can make body on frame cars more safer than unibody..

    but its becoming a marketing gimmic for unibody cars.. so people to think they made the right choice..

    look at the new g wagon body on frame car accident rating..compared to full unibody range rover vogue.. they both got 5 star safety rating..

    g wagon 2.5 ton
    vogue 2.3 ton

    almost equally priced cars.. and when you get a small accident in vogue.. it becomes a scrap metal because its frame is busted.. yep.. you just wasted your money..

  52. I thought the trucks and the SUVs so popular in the US are mostly body on frame because that is cheaper/easier to make. I guess I was wrong. At least the F150 is a body on frame …

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