What Is The Difference Between Chassis And Frame?

Last Updated on January 23, 2023 by Leepu Da Maxim

Both chassis and frame support the mechanical components of a vehicle but they have some differences. For example, the chassis refers to the complete underlying structure of a vehicle while the frame refers to the main structural component of a vehicle.

Key Takeaways

  • A chassis supports the body and mechanical components while a frame supports the weight and load1
  • Chassis are more flexible and absorb shocks, while frames are rigid and support the weight of the vehicle
  • Chassis are made from a combination of materials such as steel, aluminum, and composites, while frames are made from steel or aluminum
  • A chassis includes suspension, wheels, brakes, and a steering system while the frame only includes the structural components of the vehicle

Main Differences Between The Chassis And The Frame

DesignMinimum requirements for the movement of an automobileDesigned as the main body of the car
MeaningIt is the skeletal frame used to install the mechanical parts of a carThe chassis is made up of the various components installed in it to obtain the main structure
PiecesThis includes tires, axles, brakes, engine parts, and other vehicle components.The chassis is mounted next to the frame
ResistanceProvides cohesion for the different mechanical parts of the carProvides resistance to engine power and various forces external to the vehicle

What Is The Chassis Of A Car?

All vehicles require an overall part which is the chassis. It is a large component that allows it to provide cohesion to:

1. The axles

2. The steering

3. The engine

4. The tires

5. The brakes

6. Exhaust

7. The gearbox

8. The radiator

9. The fuel tank

10. Suspension system

11. The wheels

The Transmission System, Including The Rear Axle, The Clutch, The Propeller Shaft, And The Gearbox.

The chassis is completed as a chassis when all these components are joined together. Also, it is one of the most important components of the vehicle and provides universal compatibility with each of the components that are installed in the car. In this sense, there is a great variety of functions that the chassis of a car must fulfill. 

All these functions are of course related to providing stability and union between each of these parts. The car chassis can also have different designs. Some of the most commonly used types of car chassis are:

1. Monocoque type chassis

2. Ladder-type chassis

3. Backbone-type chassis

4. Tubular chassis or space chassis

5. Combined chassis

What Is The Frame Of A Car?

In this case, it is a fundamental part of the vehicle that complements the frame. So, in one way or another, each of the most important engine components needs to be attached to the frame. In turn, both the frame and the chassis are joined together to provide cohesion and strength to each of the parts of the vehicle that require stability.

In this sense, the vast majority of vehicles require a frame to keep their parts properly assembled. So, we can find buses to medium or small cars that have a frame in their design. However, some vehicles, such as those units with a unique design, may have a different construction.

It is a set of vehicles that requires a smaller amount of parts to manufacture both the chassis and the frame. To better understand the functions of a vehicle frame, we need to mention what each of them is. In this way, it will be much easier to understand the difference between the frame and the chassis.

1. Body Support: One of the main functions of the frame is that it provides support to the body and the different components that make up all the mechanics of the vehicle. In this sense, the frame of a car functions similarly to the skeleton of an organism.

2. Handling Of Static And Dynamic Loads: Of course a vehicle needs to deal with certain static and dynamic loads during operation. The aim is to avoid deflection or distortion of the different parts that make up the car’s mechanics. This is why the frame must be manufactured with highly resistant materials.

3. Supporting Weight Load: Supporting a high-weight load is one of the fundamental tasks of a car frame. It is only necessary to support the weight load of the individual components of the car’s mechanics. The frame must also support the weight of the body of the passengers and the carrying load of the passengers themselves.

4. Vertical Torsion And Twisting: When a vehicle traverses some difficult terrain or uneven surfaces vertical torsion or twisting could be a problem. To prevent this from damaging the vehicle structure then the frame also takes care to offer resistance in this regard. That is why an even surface does not damage the entire structure of a car.

5. Lateral Forces: The frame of a car must also take care of supporting some transverse lateral forces during a trip. Of course, the most common cause in this sense is the side wind that can come from different directions toward the vehicle. Thus the car.

6. Engine Power: A car not only needs to deal with all the specific conditions outside. It is also necessary that the frame of a car can deal with the transmission and with the torque power

of the engine. Too much power could damage the integrity of a car’s frame.

7. Impact Resistance: Finally, the car frame needs to offer a certain resistance when it comes to sudden collisions. In this case, the impacts produced by traffic accidents generate less damage. It is even necessary to present a certain resistance to the compression of braking, acceleration, or starting.

All these longitudinal traction forces could damage the structure of the car’s frame. However, a car is not damaged at all by these different forces. Of course, this is because high-strength car frames have been manufactured today for a long time. Finally, we can mention the different vehicle frames that are manufactured today for different cars.

1. Perimeter frame

2. Ladder-type frame

3. Offset frame

4. X-type frame

5. Offset with cross-member frame 

In short, both the chassis and the frame are responsible for providing the stability and strength needed to cope with vehicle and external forces. Thus we can also find different types of frames and chassis depending on the design of each vehicle.

Without these main structures, a vehicle simply could not function. It is here where we can notice that the strength of the frame, as well as the chassis, is important to maintain the balance of a vehicle.