By on December 11, 2013

Matt writes:

Hi Sajeev, Long-time listener, first-time caller. I have a 2011 Volvo C30 that was recently rear-ended pretty good. As a result of the collision, the car has just had $8k+ of work done in a body shop. Included in the list of work done (among the obvious paint, bumper cover, tailgate, etc) is 4 hours of labor for a “unibody pull”. Like everyone else, I know people who have horror stories about cars that have never been the same again after accidents. I’ve only had the car back for a couple of days and everything feels ok so far, but I do fear lingering issues.

What are your thoughts on a repair like this making the car 100% again? Would you dump it immediately to avoid any potential issues or hold on to it and see?

Sajeev answers:
Oh boy. As Reverend Lovejoy from The Simpsons would say, “Short answer yes with an if, long answer no with a but.”

Short Answer: Too many variables to consider, so you must hope the collision center and the insurance company are both honest in their damage assessment and intelligent in their repair procedures.  Those with frame repair issues probably had a problem with human error.

Long Answer: We have the technology to repair just about any car, but doing so requires a cost/benefit analysis.  For many cars, if the roof shows signs of structural damage, your insurance company will happily scrap it for you.  And if you are a wannabe Gas Monkey with an absolutely hammered Ferrari F40, you buy that heap at auction, make it into a rolling death trap and sell it again. But that’s not the point…

An honest assessment from a collision center with proper frame straightening tools easily measures and tweaks the frame until every part is back to factory specifications.  All the doors close perfectly.  The wheels sit just where they should.  Everything bolted up back as designed. And back to the short answer, it boils down to the quality of decisions made by the people involved.

I remain optimistic that your repair was sound, that you’ll enjoy this Volvo for years to come with zero problems.

UPDATE: The B&B brought up a great point, making a diminished value claim.  Definitely consider this, you won’t regret it.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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70 Comments on “Piston Slap: To What End Unibody Repair?...”


  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    I’m sitting here trying to remember the episode from which that screenshot was taken…

    There are times when I swear I must be the only person on earth who watched Knight Rider and Airwolf as a kid with stars in my eyes, not realizing that I WASN’T supposed to be impressed or inspired by them.

    • 0 avatar

      You just found your kindred spirit. Getting Knight Rider on DVD a few years back was a huge disappointment for “grown-up” me.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        I know what you mean. Richard Hammond said don’t drive your heroes. I say, don’t rewatch the shows you loved when you were nine.

        But even so, Knight Rider is the reason that TO THIS DAY, I still think that the world’s coolest car engine is a jet turbine – just for the sound alone.

        And that a jet-powered Trans Am pretty much defines the 80s.

        • 0 avatar

          Not true: The Testarossa and Miami Vice still rocks, Film Noir FTW.

          • 0 avatar
            OneAlpha

            Touche. And quite right.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Film Noir: now-a you’re a talkin’ my language.

            Touch of Evil all the way.

          • 0 avatar
            jco

            to be fair, that’s Michael Mann.. on a different level than those two TV shows.

            i think airwolf is solely responsible for my fascination with helicopters. interestingly, wikipedia says Airwolf came about as a sort of Magnum P.I. spinoff. out of those three shows, Magnum remains my favorite and i think is still watchable..

          • 0 avatar
            slance66

            Ack no. The Testarossa was tacky. The (fake) Daytona in the first season (or two) was truly inspired.

            As for watching shows you loved as a kid…Hogan’s Heroes holds up just as well today (even if they were reruns when I watched as a kid).

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I loved all those shows back in the day… Knight Rider, Airwolf, Dukes of Hazzard. Remember Hardcastle and McCormick, with the car thief who stole that “prototype Coyote” kit car and then got to keep it and live with the rich judge and help him fight crime?? How about the Fall Guy? Or Hunter? Street Hawk? the A-Team of course, Rip Tide, Simon and Simon, Spenser for Hire (which made me love Mustangs), and of course Miami Vice. So many cool shows with cool cars…

    • 0 avatar
      patman

      I spent most of the 6th grade squinting like Stringfellow Hawk because he was so cool. I didn’t realize at the time that the squinting was from coke and alcohol (Jan Micheal Vincent, not me) and probably because I needed glasses.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      You’re not the only one. And dear God, those shows don’t hold up.

      Cannell pretty much owned network TV back then, didn’t he? Kinda like Spelling in the 70′s or Orci and crew today.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Its from “Give me Liberty, or Give me Death”, one of the better Knight Rider episodes.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Agreed it’ll prolly never have any future problems however the nature of the design in unibody cars is : they crumple to absorb the impact energy save you .

    So , once bent they;ll never , ever be 100 % again in a similar collision .

    Me ? ‘d keep it because the chances of another collision are remote .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      That’s the crux of it, isn’t it? It can be made to drive like new, but once the crumple zone has been crumpled and been uncrumpled, you can never be sure it will crumple correctly again.

      I have to agree with Nate, it’s a late model car, and because it’ll never have the resale value after the crumple/uncrumple incident is on the record, get some use out of it. Of course Nate is also right that you’re playing the odds that that crumpled/uncrumpled zone will never have to crumple again. When gambling, always consider the stakes and the possibility of losing the bet.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        In the collision industry, when a crumple zone has been crumpled, it is replaced. They are typically sections which can be ordered, and welded or bolted in. If the OP’s car was straightened, it was likely a non crumpled part of the unibody structure to get the new panels to line up properly. I wouldn’t worry about it, if the car looks, feels and drives like new, it probably is as good as new.

  • avatar
    npbheights

    If it drives well, use it up and enjoy it. My suggestion, however would be to pursue a “diminished value” claim against the person who hit you. I had a car that was in a very minor accident – a Ranger clipped my sideview mirror and scratched my left front fender. When I went to trade it in, the dealer wanted to give me thousands less than it was worth due to the accident – even though they did the repair work. I decided to sell it private party – people would call and ask for the vin and then never call back. When I would disclose the damage and show pictures of the damage, people acted like I was trying to sell them a salvaged vehicle. I eventually sold it to a reasonable person, but for about $2000 less than I wanted to. I knew about diminished value, but did not go for it – and I regretted it. If the carfax/autocheck mentions “frame damage” you should prepare to donate the car.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Yep. The only way I can figure out how to prove diminished value is to go out and try to trade it in. Compare that with books and demand compensation.

      Perhaps someone from an insurance company would like to comment why this isn’t fair? Why it won’t work? Why the insurance companies shouldn’t offer to buy every wrecked vehicle if there is so little wrong with a repaired wreck?

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Diminished value is such a sketchy figure. If the car was repaired to factory specs, is its value truly diminished? The only thing that diminishes the value of a car with accident history is the uncertainty of the quality of the repairs.

        I’ve repaired salvage vehicles and resold them at or even above some comparable retail vehicles because I kept extensive logs of the vehicle and the repair process to show buyers that the vehicle is literally better than new. New corrosion free panels, new suspension parts, new shiny paint. Everything done to spec.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          The value is what someone will pay for it in a normal transaction. Diminished value is average market value versus actual market value. It’s not sketchy once you decide on a process to determine it.

          I can guarantee that keeping extensive records and going over those with potential buyers until you find one who doesn’t have a problem with it is not a reasonable part of the process. Normal people trade in a vehicle to a dealer who will reduce his offer for damage history, Period.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            I agree it’s definitely calculable, and therefore some insurance companies compensate for it.

            My argument is that if the car is repaired correctly, it’s not based on anything real. It’s just psychological and not necessarily something people should immediately run away from.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Ideally, it wouldn’t be an issue, but it is. If the stock market had much relationship to true value just think of all the problems that would solve.

            I believe that the solution to diminished value can’t be found until the insurance companies actually start dealing with it fairly. They will then end up educating the market or changing the game in such a way that it becomes a non issue of an accepted small percent of value.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          a few years ago my former 07 GT Mustang was rear ended by a kid paying to much to his girlfriend and I wondered about the loss of value that might occur due to the accident.

          The right rear bumper area and quarter panel were damaged. The quarter panel was smashed in to the wheel well and bent downward right up to the middle of the glass panel that resides there.

          The body shop had to cut half way across the trunk and half way up the side of the car. They welded in a new panel and reinforcing piece where they joined the panel at the middle of the door.

          When I asked I was told as long as the repair was done properly with the recommended procedure and there was no real discernible difference between the repair and the original body then the car shouldn’t be devalued.

          The caveat being limited production vehicles or special models where such repairs would diminish the value of the car. However I was also told in this case you can seek compensation for the lowered value of the car either through the insurance company or from the person responsible for the damage.

          Anyways, I checked the value of my car at trade in time and received a fair deal on it.

        • 0 avatar
          pragmatist

          Value is subjective. You can argue about the quality of the repairs, but MOST buyers will either move on to an undamaged one or expect a price reduction. That is the reality.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Yes, that is the general perception and the reality of people’s behavior. I’m not arguing that, I’m keenly aware of it. I have to be.

            However, I’ve seen many claims of diminished value go right out the window because there was no evidence of the value being diminished.

            There was one adjuster who told the insurance company to throw it out based on before and after results where the vehicle’s value was actually improved by the repairs. It was a hooptie before and looked good after, so it’s really a case by case analysis. Everyone thinks they have a case for diminished value, but in reality they don’t by default.

    • 0 avatar
      dswilly

      You can claim “diminished value” from the insurance company and get reimbursed for it. Usually you have to press for it and they never tell you its available. Google it.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      The problem with Carfax and the ‘frame damage’notation is that, one, it is based on a collision that MIGHT have hurt the frame alignment, not a sure thing. And two, there is no separate notation to the effect that the frame straighening was successfully done. I noticed a like notation when I put my car (S2000) up for sale, and one of the would-buyers told me they found a frame notation when they ran their own Carfax report. So, I went to the expense ($125)of having a large bodyshop do a frame inspection, as they would do when starting to perform bodywork. Their computer/frame alignment machine checks six parallel points from rear bumper mounting to front bumper mounting. Their report indicated that the five rearmost reference points were factory spot-on, only the front bumper reinforcement mounting point was ONE millimeter off. They also did a visual check, and reported that everything appeared factory original, only the front bumper mounting looked newer. So, when the next would-be buyer looked at the car, I told him about the Carfax notation, gave him a copy of the frame report, and we then went for a 20 mile test drive. His only question when we returned to my house was,
      “how soon can I buy this car”. I didn’t have to adjust the asking price at all. As soon as he had the the check, he took delivery.

      The lesson for me as a seller, do your own Carfax report beforehand, check out any abnormalities reported, and volunteer all information you have, good and bad.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        So you lost $125 even after going to the trouble and finding the right buyer.

        Love this in real estate. House in an expensive neighborhood with “issues” is being sold as if it were average. Seller lucks out, gets the right buyer, and is convinced the house was just fine. Buyer has to resell a year later and can’t find a buyer at all even after making many repairs.

        The reality is that damage history reduces the market value and anecdotes are worthless, though often entertaining.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “Truth in advertising” and genuine honesty proved its value with you.

  • avatar
    993cc

    Metal that has been bent, then heated, stretched, and repainted will be less resistant to rust, if that is an issue where you live.

    • 0 avatar
      sitting@home

      Back in the 80′s, my mom’s car was shunted and had both front and rear damage. Previously the car was in relatively good condition, and it looked even better when it came back from the repair shop. But within a year virtually every body panel had started to rust, and within two years the floorpan had rusted around the seat mounts so much you could see the road. It was sold for scrap.

  • avatar
    jaydez

    When I was a kid my grandfather fixed the unibody on a K-car that my grandmother plowed into a Jersey Barrier. He put a really heavy chain on the car and tied it around a really big tree, thew the car in reverse and floored it.

    The car ran fine and drove straight for years after that.

    My grandfather is also the cheapest man alive and doesn’t spend money on anything ha absolutely doesn’t need to.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      I had a 1987 Yugo that was rear-ended by a pickup. Mushed down the whole rear and popped the rear wing windows out. A friend of a friend performed a similar repair with a chain and a tree. I can’t say that it turned out quite as well as the K-car, but it went from undrivable to somewhat driveable after the fact. There was still a big ass crease up the rear quarter and the wing windows were forever sealed shut with RTV, but when you’re 16, wheels is wheels.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    That Gas Monkey episode featuring the totaled, basket-case Ferrari was an exercise in bad judgment from start to finish. It was an ill-conceived notion when they bought it in the first place; it was a parts donor at that point. Now somebody’s driving a 180 mph sports car which should’ve never been repaired and put back on the road in the first place. Shudder.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    The insurance company should have totaled it if it required a procedure like that. Quite literally, it’s the same kind of procedure as a “frame pull”–straightening structural members that give the body its strength. This is not a vehicle I would trust to protect me in a second collision.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Unfortunately insurance companies do not total the car out usually unless the damage exceeds 80% of the value. With cars being so expensive these days, that means 80% is a LOT of repairs. I barely squeaked by that limit when my daughter crashed our 2001 Celica and it was already 7 yrs old at that point.

      But I have a friend who fixed wrecked cars and he says they can really do wonders these days with straightening the cars. I constantly regret not keeping that totaled Celica and getting it fixed, I could have gotten it from the insurance company for $1000, he told me (too late) that he could get it fixed for about $4k, not the $8k the insurance company quoted me.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    jaydez– I could be your grandfather, probably even old enough. Years ago I straightened the frame on a new pickup between two trees and it stayed in the family for about 20 years. The three cars I have now are all rebuilt totals that I have repaired myself at home even though I am far from an expert body repairman. I would agree that there is a greater chance for rust in a repaired section. I worry about rust proofing the inside of a boxed in rocker panel for instance. You cant see inside to be sure it gets coated. Trade in value is a big thing, but not for me as I drive them forever.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    If you normally change your vehicles every 2-3 years, dump it now. You will probably have better luck getting satisfaction if the repair is current. If you drive them till the wheels fall off, keep it till that happens.Have to give a +1 to mfgreen40. I plan to have nothing left for trade in value for my car when it’s done. The wifes ride is always starts new with me and gets traded wen the warranty is done.

    Interestingly, my cars also stay in the family.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Hmmmmmmmmm my Dad bought two cars that had been “totaled out” and repaired. One was a 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme sedan, fully loaded. 50,000 miles on it when the little old lady who owned it pulled out in front of someone at in town speeds and got hit in the drivers side fender. Insurance company totaled out and a local shop bought it to flip it. Went to 150,000+ miles before it was stolen in 2001.

    Other car was an Oldsmobile Achieva (unibody) V6 sedan purchased for my sister as her college car. Repaired by my dad’s cousin who owned a body shop, dad and him went to the insurance auction and picked the car out themselves. It went long and hard before being dumped but not due to any issues caused by the crash. I got to drive it once, thought it was 100%.

    The B&B’s points are valid. Depends on the quality of the repair.

  • avatar

    I’m so glad you brought up diminished value. I’m still fighting both insurance companies for it on this wreck from August: http://oppositelock.jalopnik.com/yesterday-sucked-1119429555

    The frame got bent over 25mm, so I’m hosed on trade-in/resale value. I mentioned this to one of the saleswomen at the Mitsu dealership while they were doing some maintenance work and I might as well have said “I’ve got a nice case of the plague, m’dear.”

    I’m not too worried about the structural integrity of the parts that matter–after all, the car was able to be driven away carefully from afterwards because ain’t care, it’s a Lancer. These things are made to roll off the sides of mountains, man. The damage was almost all in the front of the car and the banana-ing of the rest of vehicle from that impact was fairly minimal. It’s just that anyone who runs a Carfax on it is going to see a big fat mark of shame.

    I’m in Texas, so the link posted above is relevant to my interests.

    BOTH my insurance (State Farm) and the other driver’s insurance (21st Century) deny that I have a diminished value claim to make with them. Ugh. I don’t care who pays me for my loss, but I’ve incurred a significant loss and it’s time for someone to finally cough up the dough.

    State Farm said at first that it’s 21st Century’s responsibility to pay for any losses, and then started saying that I don’t have a claim to make there if the repairs were done right. (We all know that’s BS.) 21st Century says it’s on State Farm since they’re the ones paying for all of the repair work.

    Repair costs incurred by State Farm have to be reimbursed later by 21st Century anyway–why on earth would State Farm fight *not* to pay me on anything when it’s not my fault? This makes no sense to me, and it’s certainly not making me a happy-add-on-to-parental-insurance.

    I spoke with a lawyer–he thinks I can fight this out on my own for now (assuming they don’t come back with unreasonably lowball offers to settle), but said it was on State Farm to pay out diminished value since they’re handling repairs of the car.

    Despite my front end being all smashed up, both insurance companies as well as the police report lay 100% of the blame for the accident on the other party.

    My biggest problem is time: I work during the day, I contribute pictures of Puffalumps sitting on things for another car blog, and I’m trying to get a basket case LeMons car ready for March. I still have a couple tiny things I need the body shop to tweak, but I haven’t had time to get the stupid thing over there since they close at 5 and I’m completely out of PTO and rental coverage.

    I’m tired of getting the back-and-forth BS from both companies. Can anyone with any experience with either tell me the exact procedure for making my diminished value claim and direct me to anyone I can talk to who won’t give me a bunch of finger-pointing and bovine excrement?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I unfortunately cannot help with your situation but I’m curious about the Lemons car, what is it?

    • 0 avatar
      Beelzebubba

      If the accident was the other party’s fault, why is State Harm (your insurance company, and that’s not a typo) paying for repairs instead of the other person’s (21st)? You mentioned that Snake Farm will be reimbursed later by 21st, but why is 21st not paying up front? Has 21st accepted/acknowledged that their insured was at fault?

      There are only two states, Georgia and Kansas, that allow you to file a DV claim against your own insurance company when you were at-fault (we call that a first-party claim). But most insurers in both states have written exclusions into their policies to avoid actually paying DV to their own customers if they caused the accident. A few, including Auto-Owners (my insurer) offer first-party DV coverage as an extra-cost endorsement. I purchased it for my 2012 Mazda CX-9 for only $14/year. But that’s another story…

      The exception to filing a DV claim against your own insurer is when your vehicle is being repaired by your Uninsured/Underinsured Property Damage coveage. But that doesn’t sound like it applies here.

      Even if you could legitimately pursue a DV claim against your own policy, State Farm is the WORST company about paying DV claims of any kind. They are the conpany that I had to fight tooth and nail and ultimately file suit in Small Claims Court to get them to pay up!

      Based on what you’ve shared so far, the DV claim needs to filed with 21st. Filing a DV claim against another (at-fault) driver’s insurer is known as a third-party DV claim. You are a third-party because you do not have a legal contract (policy) with 21st. Third party claims will usually get paid but it takes time and perseverence….it’s not easy or quick! They try to wear you so you’ll drop the claim or take a lowball offer rather than paying you what you really deserve!

      You need to start by finding a reputable Dimished Value Appraiser in Texas to determine the loss in value your vehicle has suffered. They should provide you with documentation to support their valuation (such as recent auction sales or similar vehichles which have also had similar damage repaired). Without such supporting documentation, the insurance company will simply toss it aside and say it’s not a valid appraisal. They will probably say the same even with the supporting docs, BUT then you can counter by saying something like “I feel confident that a court would consider the method of calculation valid”!

      Take a look at http://www.ican2000.com (Insurance Consumer Advocate Network) and search for ‘Local DV Professionals’ then choose your state. There are two companies listed in Texas who handle DV appraisals. Part of their $300-$350 fee includes advising you on how to proceed with your DV claim, providing you with Demand Letters to send and helping you decide what to do next when you don’t get paid!

      The other recommendation I have for you and millions of others- find a new insurance company! STATE FARM is one of the most unethical, dishonest companies in the world. I am an Independent Insurance Agent in Georgia and I have seen so many shady, evil things they’ve done to their own customers just because they could get away with it! RUN!

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I tend to get a bad feeling about my cars after they’ve had a repair, even a small one. My I30 got smashed in the door by a Wrangler backing up out of my parent’s driveway. It got repaired and repainted, but while the color match was perfect, the door sounded a bit different when it closed. It bothered me til I sold it a couple months later, due to leaving the country for a job.

    My no-dents A8L got a bad parking lot ding from a shopping cart, while I was in the store for 10 minutes. The store’s insurance paid for it, and it got a new door skin and a repaint. The melange metallic beige paint didn’t exactly match to my eye (nobody noticed unless I mentioned it in a certain type of daylight), and I always knew it was there. I psyched myself out thinking it had impending issues, and sold it within 3 months.

    So if it were me I’d get rid of it, because I’d look at it and think “oh man that was smashed up once.”

    That being said, I bought a rebuilt title car recently. Because that was done and fixed BEFORE I ever owned it, doesn’t bother me.

    Maybe I’m a nutcase.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Sorry to hear about the C30… I’m a C30 owner as well (actually the wife’s car) and they aren’t very common.

    The funny thing about CarFax is sometimes things do NOT show up. My brother had a similar rear-end smashing of his B5 Passat. It required some pretty major work to get the rear all squared up again. Thus he figured the trade in value was shot, so he pulled a CarFax and it listed: no accidents! So I’d pull one and see what shows up, then show that to the insurance company along with CarFaxes of “clean” similar cars for comparison.

  • avatar
    andyinatl

    As someone who bought cars before from insurance auctions (and having had a friend who owned a collision repair shop), i can tell you that it depends on what you’re looking for. It is possible to get the car repaired to the point where you won’t be able to tell without very very close inspection, that it’s ever been in accident. However, no matter what the technology, if you had the unibody “frame” affected in the accident, even if it looks perfect, or if they cut that piece out of another car that was good and welded it to the car in question, the structure strength is not going to be the same.

    When they engineer the car, they take into attention everything, including how the unibody “folds” during the accident, etc. When you have introduced a weaker part or a weld where there was none before, that engineering goes out the window.

    It’s not enough to make any difference in a small/medium accident. But when it counts, in a big accident, that part of unibody may not behave as it was originally designed. That may be a difference between walking away from the accident and needing prosthetics….

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    As someone who is involved very directly with car repairs, I was wondering who on earth allowed a volvo to pulled back into shape?? The steel and body design used in todays cars WILL NOT ALLOW the pulling back into shape after a accident. The bodies are designed to bend progressivly. Once bent,that section is forever weakened. if the Volvo is ever in another accident,it is likely that the body will fold instantly at the point where it bent before,possibly cuasing injury to the cars occupants.
    The steel is not suitable for welding(note the use of adhesives etc in cars today) ,so doing the age old dodge of cutting and shutting is no longer allowed by law in many countries. In fact, a larger body shop next to me has sold off their three draw benches because insurance companies will not recognise work done to pull cars back into shape anymore. Seemingly small amounts of damage mean that cars are written off , and here in Australia,to prevent them being patched up and resold ,they are placed on a write off register. A death warrent for a car.
    I would sell off that volvo ,it is no longer safe and you dont want to be the crash test dummy who finds the body shell is unsafe and the crumple zone doesn’t work as designed.

  • avatar
    Beelzebubba

    As a licensed insurance professional and as a driver whose car was severely rear-ended in 2010, I highly recommend filing a Diminished Value Claim! I highly recommened the website- ican2000.com – (Insurance Consumer Advocate Network) to learn more about the process and to locate a LEGITIMATE appraiser to determine how much your DV claim is worth!

    Do NOT allow anyone to tell you that you have not suffered DV because your car was repaired to pre-accident condition. If you try to sell or trade-in the car after $8k of repairs including potential frame damage, you’ll be amazed how much it will affect the value! My repairs were almost $10k and the car was barely worth $12k, so it should have been totaled. But their initial estimate was only $6800. I got $2800 in DV but it took almost a year and I had to be very persistent and very firm! But it was totally worth it!

    • 0 avatar

      Question: I have a retail $13Kish Lancer (pre-accident) that took a $9,000 punt to the front–including frame damage. Thanks for posting that site–it looks like a huge help.

      Who did you speak to about that claim with your insurance company? Also, how much of a slice does an appraiser take out to make this claim?

      • 0 avatar
        Beelzebubba

        I dealt with the Claims Adjuster from the at-fault driver’s insurance company initially. Ultimately, it was referred to their legal deparment and I had to actually file suit in Small Claims Court to force them to finally pay me. They also had to reimburse the Appraisal Fee ($125) and the fee to file in Small Claims Court ($175-ish).

        I suggest only working with an Appraiser who charges a set fee rather than any sort of percentage of your claim. I suggest looking for one who offers a money-back guarantee if you don’t succeed in getting paid for your claim AND that they’re willing to appear in court as an expert witness if it comes to that. Less than 5% of DV claims actually reach a courtroom.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Keep the C30 if it still works right, they’re neat cars and resale value can be a bit iffy, when you do get ready to sell it you can consider me interested if the price is right and if you have records from it.

  • avatar
    hawox

    i worked in a body repair. cars can be repaired to the original state if the welding required isn’t excessive.
    infact repair + re-crash was quite a common test performed by car manufacturer.
    usually the chassis is straighten in order to acces the damaged area, then they cut the bendt strut and replace with a new one bought from factory. the car is on a computerized bench so that the pice is in the exact position.
    some repairs are done cheap, simply heating the damaged strut and straightening it. that’s what causes many horrid stories.

    other big problem are restoration works performed on valuable vintage cars, they often need lot of welding, in that case the body strenght could be seriously compromized.

  • avatar
    ex-x-fire

    You were not a Knight Rider fan unless you mailed out for the Kitt blue prints.

  • avatar
    c71

    Hi all,

    This was my question – thanks for the responses. Not surprisingly, there’s no consensus on this one, but I guess that’s to be expected considering I don’t really know the quality of the repair.

    I’m still on the fence about whether to keep the C30 or not, partially because there are no other (affordable) cars out there I’m terribly excited about. (Ford, seriously, you lost a Fiesta ST sale by making MyTouch non-optional)

    The C30 still mostly seems fine. The only possibly worrying thing I’ve started to notice is a slight shimmy while braking lightly, which is probably just a brake rotor or alignment issue. I’m just a few hundred miles away from my 45k mile service so I’ll get that checked out soon.

    I did pursue a diminished value claim – I got a couple dealers to write up trade-in quotes with a current offer as well as a note stating how much they would have been willing to pay had the accident not occurred. These values were closer than I would have thought – the current trade-in offers were about $2000 less than the “clean” trade-in values. I settled with the insurance company for $1500 diminished value. I didn’t feel the need to press the issue beyond that because they’d also given me some “pain and suffering” money.

    • 0 avatar
      Beelzebubba

      To give you some peace of mind, take it to a Volvo dealership and ask them to perform a complete and thorough inspection to make sure everything is in spec. If you have a local independent Volvo shop, that might be an even better idea.

      I still have my 2006 Mazda3 that should have been ‘totaled’ back in July 2010. I was rear-ended by a teenage girl going 45mph in a Camry and rammed into the BMW X5 stopped in front of me. The X5′s trailer hitch nailed my front airbag sensor dead-on and caused the driver’s side airbag to deploy in addition to the front & rear body damage! For at least 2yrs, I kept thinking I heard noises or that it was pulling to one side, vibrating or any number of other issues. But now it’s 3.5yrs and 32k miles later and it looks and drives normally for the most part. There are a few more squeaks and rattles in the winter and I’m fairly confident that the airbag & seatbelt pretensioner will work properly in another crash (fingers crossed)….but no one else can tell by looking at or driving it that it suffered so much damage….until they look at the Carfax or Autocheck Report! =)

    • 0 avatar
      Beelzebubba

      As for the light shimmy when braking, that definitely sounds like your front brake rotors are “warped”. If it’s just happening at 45k miles, your lug nuts could be torqued inconsistently. Having one out of five lug nuts too tight could is enough to do it.

      In addition to my 2006 Mazda3, I also have a 2012 Mazda CX-9. My brake pedal started pulsating when applied at higher speeds and/or if I had to brake quickly. It only had 16k miles on it at the time and the tires had been rotated by the dealer three times. I managed to get the front rotors and pads replaced under warranty. I also stop by my dad’s after tire rotations to use his air-wrench and re-torque my lug nuts identically.

      BTW, MyFordTouch- you dodged a bullet!

    • 0 avatar

      Question: which insurance company settled with you for DV? The other person’s or yours?

      • 0 avatar
        c71

        The insurance company of the person who rear-ended me provided the diminished value settlement. I didn’t go through my insurance at all.

        Getting dealerships to provide the trade-in offers along with a note of how much they would have paid for a “clean” car was kind of a pain. I think I visited 8 to 10 dealerships and only 2 agreed to do this. Since I was honest about what I was doing and they knew I wasn’t going to buy another car that very day, most places didn’t want to play ball. You may be better off getting a specialized appraiser to look at your car, as others have mentioned, but I don’t have any experience with that.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      My 2004 Mazda3 got T-boned a few years ago by a young girl on a cell phone who treated a red light as a four way stop and had absolutely no memory about anything directly preceding the collision. About $10k worth of damage. They replaced the rocker panel, both doors, the front fender, and the tie rod and tie rod ends. Considerably later, I noticed that I would get some vibrations in the steering and brake pedal under hard braking at highway speed. Not something I do often and enough time had passed that I didn’t think to attribute it to the collision. I just figured the rotors were a little out. A few years later, I notice fluid leaking from one of the control arm bushings. I wasn’t too upset, as I’d been wanting to put some stiffer bushings on anyway to reduce wheel hop. When I went to remove the front bushing on the damaged side, I was surprised to find the bolt was already loose but would not thread out more than a turn or two. I had to cut the bolt out with a sawzall – consuming many blades in the process – and found that the bolt had been bent, certainly by the collision. With new performance bushings and a new bolt, that part of the car is better than ever. But the driver’s door still doesn’t close as well or sound as good doing it.

      Suspension damage is probably not applicable to you after a rear-end collision, but I figured I’d tell the story anyway since you reminded me of it!

      I’m not concerned about any loss in resale value because I bought the car new with no intention to ever sell it. I’ve seen no evidence of shoddy workmanship or premature rust yet on the paint or bodywork.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    One oft quoted rule of thumb is that repaired vehicles with salvage titles sell on average at a discount of 25% compared other examples of the same mileage and apparent condition.


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