Do car mechanics make house calls for insurance purposes?
September 28, 2018 9:30 AM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend: A very old cheap car had all the wheels stolen, plus body damage and possible engine damage. Insurance wants a mechanic to look at it, but it can't be towed without wheels or more damage will result. What's the best way through here?

A friend has a 1999 Chrysler that was sitting in her driveway and not driveable due to needing a new battery. 2 days ago all 4 wheels were stolen, the engine was "messed around with" but it's not clear if anything was taken or broken, and the lock on the trunk was broken with a screwdriver. There is apparently something damaged about the axels as well. It seems pretty obvious that it's totaled, but to get it towed to a mechanic's shop would apparently require 4 wheels or a LOT more damage will occur. My friend is currently trying to put 4 donuts on it and use that to get it towed, but I'm wondering if there's an easier way. I told her to try to call the mechanic's shops on her insurance's list to see if one will come out and declare it totaled. Any other ideas on how to handle this?
posted by permiechickie to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Towing companies will know how to get this car to a mechanic without damaging it further. (it will probably involve a flat bed tow truck, but it could involve a regular tow truck and putting a dolly with wheels under the missing wheels).
posted by aubilenon at 9:39 AM on September 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

An insurance company can send an appraiser out to the house. Can they send a mechanic too?
posted by SLC Mom at 9:42 AM on September 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

Yes, it could be towed—just tell the towing company in advance what they'll be dealing with, and they'll send appropriate equipment. This isn't the first time something like this has happened, solutions do exist.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:44 AM on September 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Your friend writes a check every month to the insurance company. This is why she's been doing that. Your friend needs to tell the company that's been taking her money all these years to get of the stick and provide the service she's been paying for.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:09 AM on September 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

Thanks! I will tell her to get her insurance company more involved. She says they have been very difficult but I think she just needs to persist a bit more. Anything seemed easier than trying to put 4 donuts on a car.
posted by permiechickie at 10:15 AM on September 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

If towing doesn't turn out to be feasible for whatever reason, there are mechanics like that but they tend to be booked out for some time. Additionally, if there's a mechanic nearby, especially one she has a relationship with, there may be someone willing to stop by on the way to or from work for a tip.
posted by Candleman at 11:24 AM on September 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Search for “mobile mechanic”, if they are in a medium to large city in the USA, someone in the region is doing business in this mode, coming out to fix lawn mowers or tractors or cars on site, after providing an estimate.
If you make it clear you just need the estimate, they will do that too, but maybe not for free.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:00 PM on September 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Any decent towing company can "dolly" a car without wheels and without doing any additional damage. Usually there is an additional charge for this because it takes additional time but her insurance company should be footing the bill.
posted by Mitheral at 8:44 PM on September 28, 2018

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