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What’s the Difference Between Body on Frame and Unibody Construction?

By Product Expert | Posted in For Fun, Tips & Tricks on Wednesday, May 19th, 2021 at 8:10 pm
frames of cars in automotive production factory

When shopping for a used vehicle, you might see that some of them are described as body on frame or unibody. Unless you’re an automotive expert or a big fan of everything related to vehicles, you most likely don’t know what this means. Body on frame and unibody are the different types of body construction. What is the difference between body on frame and unibody construction? Keep reading this blog to find out!

[ Read more: What’s the difference between a sunroof and a moonroof? ]

How are these constructions different?

Body on frame is when the body of the car is mounted on a chassis that carries the powertrain. Unibody construction is when the frame and the body of the car are manufactured as one piece. While unibody is the most common body construction that we see today, body on frame used to be the go-to construction choice.

What are the pros and cons of each?

Now that you know the difference between body on frame and unibody, you need to know what the pros and cons are for each construction method. Here are the pros and cons of each:

Body on Frame Pros:

  • Better off-road vehicles
  • Higher hauling and towing capacity
  • Cheaper to build and repair
  • Produce less road noise
  • Better protected from moisture from the road

Body on Frame Cons:

  • Heavier than unibody
  • Lower fuel economy rating
  • Lack crumple zones
  • Rougher rides on normal roads
  • More severe accidents  
frame of a car
unibody frame of suv

Unibody Pros:

  • Easier to design
  • Better fuel economy
  • More common/easier to find one to buy
  • Rollovers less likely
  • Smoother ride quality

Unibody Cons:

  • Hauling and towing capacity not as high
  • Off-roading more difficult
  • Expensive to repair
  • More expensive design and manufacturing costs

[ Related post: What is the Difference Between Front-Wheel Drive and Rear-Wheel Drive? ]

Learn more about the automotive world  

If you want to learn more about the automotive world and all of its terms, keep reading the Stop 23 Auto Sales blog! We like to help our customers know as much as they can about their vehicles!