How much to get car repaired after attempted theft?
April 15, 2006 6:27 PM   Subscribe

The used car that I had purchased on Thursday was broken into on Friday before I had registered it. They busted a window, got blood everywhere, stole the cd player, sirius radio, and then tried to hotwire it I guess because there are wires sticking out. I tried to start the car when I found it but the key got stuck in the ignition. It's an 88 Jeep Cherokee. Here's my problem...

It's not insured for vandalism or contents and the outside isn't damaged. Basically I have to pay for repairs out of my pocket. Can you give me an idea of what its going to cost to repair the starter or whatever its called? The whole steering panel is beat up. I only paid $1200 for it. It was in BEAUTIFUL condition and runs great so I don't mind paying like $1000 to get it fixed but I don't know about much more. Obviously I dont know much about cars so any advice is appreciated. Thanks
posted by camfys to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total)
Congratulations, welcome to car ownership.

Windows are $100-$300, depending on which one it was (bigger is more expensive), installed. Don't go to SafeLite, the big auto glass chain - they're much more expensive. Look for some dinky auto glass place in a bad area of town. You can call them for quotes.

The ignition lock - that's what it's called - is fairly expensive, because it's basically an OEM-only part and I think they're hard to find used because thieves destroy a lot of them. They probably jammed a screwdriver in there to try to start the car and that's why your key got stuck. It's going to be, uh, $200-$300 or so. You can actually probably hotwire the car yourself to drive it around, which is dangerous, but within the realm of possibility. You can also install the ignition lock yourself if you're even vaguely electrically handy (buy it at a Jeep dealership). The steering column cover will still be damaged, maybe you can find that in a junkyard or something.
posted by jellicle at 7:00 PM on April 15, 2006


You can clean the blood up yourself, you'll do a better job than anyone else. 409 works fine.

Call Sirius to report it stolen, at least they'll turn it off and not charge you. I don't know how they handle stolen units.

Did you call the police? Even though you won't be making an insurance claim, they might recover the radios. If the CD player was stock it may have had the VIN engraved on it.

I couldn't guess the glass cost, or the electrical work. I can't image it costing $1000, unless your mechanic wants to use factory parts.
posted by Marky at 7:01 PM on April 15, 2006

Just an added note, I know the police take car break-ins about as seriously as they take jaywalking, but when the thief left his blood at the scene, one would really hope that the police would make some sort of effort to collect evidence and pursue the case.
posted by jellicle at 7:02 PM on April 15, 2006

I know the police take car break-ins about as seriously as they take jaywalking

In L.A. they take jaywalking way seriously, to the point of absurdity at times: "82-year-old’s $114 jaywalking ticket under fire."
posted by ericb at 7:16 PM on April 15, 2006

Before you move/check/clean anything else, give the police a chance to take pictures and pickup a blood sample. You never know...

Then clean the blood right away. It's harder to get rid of bloodstains after they've dried. Any you can't get out right away, keep slightly damp, and try protect them from light/heat (which tend to set the stain permanently).
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 7:18 PM on April 15, 2006

88 Jeep Cherokee's don't have a driver's side airbag, do they? Because if it does, I wouldn't try fixing the ignition yourself.
posted by nathan_teske at 7:18 PM on April 15, 2006

If you just bought it 2 days ago isn't there a chance that the previous owner's insurance was still in effect and covering the vehicle? I would at least make the call and see if there is anything that could be done there.
posted by visual mechanic at 7:52 PM on April 15, 2006

Even if you don't have collision coverage, call your insurer. They consider broken windows a safety and liability issue, so they may agree to replace those. You're probably on the hook for the interior contents. BUT - also call your dealer. Did they transfer title before the break-in? If not, the dealer still owns it and their policy may cover the damage.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 7:54 PM on April 15, 2006

Advice: if you have tools and are somewhat handy, why not use this as a chance to learn to fix at least part of it yourself? A good wrecking yard will have a lot of the parts you'd need to fix the interior trim and windows. Replacing windows is a bit tricky but with a haynes manual (or the internets) you can probably find instructions on how to do it.

Cognitive Dissonance: even if you had insured it, your deductible would probably have been at least $500 right? So, you're probably not really out as much money as you think you are. Plus, heck, your premiums would have gone up if you filed a claim. So, maybe it's best that this is something you will just pay for yourself?
posted by drmarcj at 8:20 PM on April 15, 2006

Ask for a 'cash price' after your initial quote since you are seeming to be steered towards lower cost garages.
Be sure to toss a little tip just in case you have to return for a checkup.
posted by buzzman at 8:38 PM on April 15, 2006

Just to cover a couple of the previous suggestions:

Unless you have Comprehensive (Collision only applies if you're in, well, a collision) coverage on your vehicle, nix the insurance claim - even if repairing glass is a law in your state, it isn't covered unless you carry comp (and I believe you mentioned that you don't) - making a claim would just be a waste of your time (however, a comp claim wouldn't cause your premiums to increase).

Additionally, even if the previous owner hasn't removed the vehicle from his/her policy, it wouldn't be covered now that you own the it - the insurance company has no obligation to indemnify someone who a) isn't their policyholder (you) or the b) the owner (them).

I agree with the recommendation to fix/clean up what you can. Then invest some time in finding the lowest quotes that you can get - ask around for recommendations on trustworthy people to do the work for you (and ounce of prevention and all that). Get a few estimates and go with what feels the best to you.

If you worry about this happening in the future, see if you can add comp coverage to your policy after your repairs have been made. Go with a super low deductible (sometimes you can do zero or $50 without paying much more than you would with a $250 or $500 deductible). Even at its current year, if the Jeep is as nice as you say it is, and you tend to have pricey gadgets installed, it's a good idea.
posted by mewithoutyou at 9:08 PM on April 15, 2006

Car glass replacement is often negotiable. Ask if they can do better, or if they have any current deals or coupons, and they may.
posted by theora55 at 9:19 PM on April 15, 2006

Don't go to SafeLite, the big auto glass chain - they're much more expensive.

Uh...I drive a Mercedes and just had my windshield replaced by them two weeks ago for $200.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 10:02 PM on April 15, 2006

Hydrogen Peroxide is wonderful at taking out blood stains; it's unreal. Test first to make sure it doesn't bleach the fabric--I've never had this happen, though.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 11:13 PM on April 15, 2006

yeah safelite did me right on my '04 pilot after some jackasses broke the passenger door window and rear window just to look for an ipod and steal $100 worth of toys. f'n crackheads.

anyway, it cost $500, and the rear window is a big piece of glass which required about an hour's worth of labor. i think it broke down as $150 for the passenger window and $350 for the rear window.
posted by joeblough at 10:01 AM on April 16, 2006

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