Is this car safe to drive?
August 19, 2011 2:14 PM   Subscribe

I was planning on driving Mrs. Primate and Messrs Primates Jr to JFK tomorrow (45 minutes one way, no traffic), but we had a little accident yesterday. Details inside.

My wife drove our 2005 Honda Odyssey into the back of a church bus; both cars were stopped at a light, she thought the light had changed to green and took off and hit the back of the bus with the front of the Odyssey starting from a dead stop from about yard back.

I noticed only superficial damage to the front bumper and license plate holder yesterday. However, when I actually drove the car today, the check airbag light was on, the driver's side seatbelt would not move nor could I stretch it far enough to slot it in the holder (and the column holding the seatbelt is somewhat detached from the internal frame of the car by the door), and the alignment definitely felt off, especially on the right front tire (from the driver's perspective.)

If it were only the seatbelt not engaging, I would risk it (it still looks like you're wearing it, so I wouldn't get stopped). But that check airbag warning and the alignment thing worry me, especially in NYC traffic, especially with the family in tow and lots of suitcases weighing the car down.

I know you are not a mechanic, nor are you my mechanic, but any advice would be appreciated. I do not have time, at this point in the day, to find a mechanic to look at it (5:00 pm on a Friday), but I'm not going to see my family again for six weeks, so I'd rather avoid calling a car service if I can.
posted by digitalprimate to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
I am not a mechanic, but I do have an ex-wife who has done similar stunts including with an Odyssey. If it were me, I would call a friend with a car to borrow it for the triph, check the cost of renting a car for the day, and if both of those failed, I would drive it.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:34 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'd rent a car or failing that, maybe SuperShuttle? You might exacerbate the damage, eventually costing you more $$$.
posted by cyndigo at 2:42 PM on August 19, 2011

If they have a plane to catch, why risk it? Go with them in a taxi and see them off; if money is an issue, make your return trip by train or bus instead of taking the taxi back. If there are kids and luggage and six week trips involved, there is probably already a fair amount of anxiety. Don't add to it by risking missing the flight and getting stranded with kids in NYC.
posted by desjardins at 3:15 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah car service there, then shuttle back to GCT and my monthly back on the Metro North. Why I didn't think of that, I don't know. I'm stupid like that sometimes (often). Thanks all.
posted by digitalprimate at 3:31 PM on August 19, 2011

It's absolutely not safe to drive. Cars can be damaged in all kinds of non-obvious ways that can turn into spectacularly dangerous situations.

The seatbelt isn't engaging? The column has detached from the frame? You shouldn't be driving this at all, not alone, not to the mechanic's garage, not at all. Your life is so much more valuable than the cost of a rental or a tow.
posted by corey flood at 3:33 PM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

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