Piston Slap: To What End Unibody Repair?
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?
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 email@example.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.
C71 on Dec 12, 2013
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.
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