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Major (ugh) car accident. Will my car be safe to drive after repair?
April 29, 2014 5:14 PM   Subscribe

My 2012 Prius's driver-side front corner hit the passenger-side rear corner of the car in front of me. Thankfully, everyone was fine, sans my bruises and bumps. The insurance adjuster says the car can be fixed. The repairs are over $10,000, and most are unsurprising. But the estimate says they also need to replace the suspension crossmember and the left axle assembly. I don't see anything else on the estimate about frame damage. I drive a lot. Will my car be safe after repair?

Just a little over a week ago, I got in an accident coming off the highway. My driver's side front corner to the passenger side rear corner of the car in front of me.

No airbags deployed, but the damage was ugly at the scene, and uglier now, to me, looking at the pictures my insurance adjuster took.

The major parts being replaced, it looks like, are the left side headlight assembly, the left side fender, and front suspension crossmember, and the left axle assembly.

When I first heard the car could be repaired, I was relieved, because I'm not really in a position to buy a new car. But the last two items scare me. I'm afraid about the safety of the vehicle going forward. I drive a lot and though I've never been in an accident like this before. What should I do? What can I do?
posted by Meifa to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
 
Your insurance company has deemed it worthwhile to pay for the damage to get your car fixed. If your damaged car goes to a good auto repair shop that does its job, you should be good to go. If it was totaled and worthless, your insurance company would have written it off and gone on to whatever steps your coverage is for getting reimbursed for what your car was worth.

If it makes you feel better, I had a car that was basically t-boned. The insurance company had it repaired and it was fine for the rest of the time that I had it before my lease was up. When I turned the car in, they didn't make a peep about the condition of the car.
posted by HeyAllie at 6:34 PM on April 29


If it was unsafe, the insurance company wouldn't let it be done. They have actuaries who have postgraduate degrees in exactly the sort of data analysis necessary to answer your question, and they also have an absolutely stupendous dataset to work with. They care deeply about the safety of you and your property -- paying out in the event of an accident costs them a lot of money, after all -- and it is in their best interests to make sure they keep your risk level as low as possible.

Take the car to the people your insurance wants you to take it to, let them do the job and bill the insurance company. It will be fine.
posted by Scientist at 6:48 PM on April 29


Man, if only those four things are getting replaced, that's not bad at all. The crossmember is usually a bolt-on piece that ties the lower control arms (right/left) together. It's sacrificial. The axle is really NBD. They're tough parts, but hit 'em just right and they're fucked. Safer to just replace it.
posted by notsnot at 7:59 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


If you bought the car at a reputable Toyota dealership you can see who they use for repairs and take it to them. This is good especially if it's a Lexus/Toyota dealer which means the body shop is regularly working on high end cars also and should be a better shop.

Of course find out how long they have been using that body shop then make a decision.
posted by eatcake at 6:10 AM on April 30


Insurance adjusters are very knowledgeable and will replace any and all parts that need replacement. If you are using a reputable body shop, they will continue to look for any unseen damage the adjuster may have missed. The adjuster are very good assessing damage but they do not take the car apart. The body shop will take the car apart to repair it. Sometimes frame damage can be so minor that it may not be noticed until they are trying to bolt the new parts on. If the body shop finds damage that the adjuster may have initially missed, they will contact the insurance company for approval and carry on. If your car is properly repaired, you will not notice any difference in the way the car drives after the accident. Today's body shops are very thorough.
posted by BostonCannuck at 7:14 AM on April 30


If you are in California you can get a FREE inspection of the repair at your home or place of business by the Bureau of Automotive Repair! They check the quality of the repair as well as if all the parts used were new, etc. If you are in another state, you might check and see if your state offers a similar service.
posted by jcworth at 7:48 AM on April 30


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