A minor fender bender to the front end of your car may seem like nothing to worry about. It might appear to be little more than a simple dent or a few scratches. To the untrained eye, it seems like nothing could possibly be wrong that would greatly affect your car's performance.

Even a slight jolt to the front-end of your automobile can damage things you cannot see. Certain mechanical parts can be damaged that will compromise your car's performance, while others can make your vehicle unsafe to drive. Here are three important things to have inspected by a licensed auto technician if you've been involved in even a minor front-end collision.

1. Front-End Alignment

Possibly the most critical aspect of your car's performance that can be damaged as a result of a front-end collision is your front wheel alignment. Like many mechanical functions of your car that can be damaged in a front-end collision, you will not immediately notice that anything is wrong.

Over time, front wheels that have been knocked out of line will begin to show abnormal tread wear on the tires. This will end up causing you to have to replace your front tires before their useful lifespan, or even create potential steering problems that can make your car unsafe to drive.

You may not even know there is a problem until it is too late, when you need your car to steer through an emergency situation.

2. Radiator Damage

A good bump to the front of your car can jar your radiator enough to loosen hose connections. If the impact has enough force, it can damage the radiator itself.

While leaks in your engine's cooling system can start slow and be virtually undetectable, if you allow your car to run low on cooling fluid for long, costly repairs can be the end result. If you're involved in an accident where the impact occurs to the front of your automobile, have a technician completely inspect your radiator, including all the parts of your entire engine cooling system.

3. Headlights and Turn Signals

Accidents, even the slightest little fender thump in a parking lot, can knock connections loose in your headlamps. As with cooling system problems, these may not be immediately visible.

Often the bulbs will be loosened just enough to cause them to burn improperly, shortening their life. Headlights can also be knocked out of alignment as a result of the most modest of front-end impacts.

You may not even notice a problem when your headlights are out of alignment, but an oncoming driver can be blinded by improperly aimed headlamps. Be sure to have the alignment of your headlights checked closely after you have had any type of auto accident.

If you've had an accident involving the front end of your car, have a licensed auto technician give your automobile a complete safety check. Give them as many details about the accident as you can so they can inspect all areas that might have been affected by the collision. It's better to spend a few dollars on a complete inspection than to find out later you have done something that has caused additional problems that are now costly repairs. Take your car to a shop like California Auto Body North if you've been in a fender-bender.