Yep, that 70mph hit on the broken/raised section of road on the interstate has done a real number, as in $$$$ on the car. Dealer service assessment is that the left front strut, strut mount and bearing need to be replaced and the front end aligned. About what I expected. They found no sign of problems with the wheel bearings. Referred me to a body shop to look at the undercarriage further due to contact evidence where the car bottomed out on the upraised sharp edge of the paving section.
Body shop found that the car appears to have bottomed out directly under the front seats, especially on the left side immediately under the driver's seat. The impact appears to be worst directly on the pinch weld with damage to the weld, noticable deformation upwards and scraped bare metal that will now be subject to rust.
My options, according to the body shop (and depending on what settlement I come to with the insurance company) are to:
a) ignore the damage but definitely end up with major rust and very likely some compromise of the unibody structural integrity;
b) just paint over the area to avoid rust but still have questions about the frame integrity;
c) let them remove the front seat (I have the split bench), roll up the carpet, and find just how badly the upward deformation damaged the inner layers of the metal.
They spoke of potentially needing to weld studs on to pull on to pull the area back down into proper shape and conformation depending on just how bad the damage is.
I will say that bottoming out at 70mph directly under the driver's seat was the hardest impact I've ever felt. Scared me greatly. I still can't believe I didn't blow a tire!
I am taking the car to the independent mechanic shop tomorrow to have them diagnose what they find wrong with the car. I want a second opinion/estimate. I'm looking for consistency in what is found and recommended. It seems worth the extra diagnostic labor costs.
I really like this car but my main priority is having a car that will be safe in the long term. If the structural integrity has significantly suffered, then I'll get it repaired with the insurance claim and then trade it in for a different car. I highly prefer to keep this one. It is, after all, paid for and one I like. But, too, it is only a machine that can be replaced.
The car did its job, it kept me safe. The road hazard is ending up dinging my car, dinging my bank account, but not my life and health. For that I am profoundly greatful. All else is merely an expensive, time consuming annoyance.
Oh yes, I'm approximately $200 out for about 3 hours total diagnostic time. The estimate from the dealer is $822 for the strut, strut mount and bearing repair. The body shop estimate to fully repair the unibody damage is $508. Once I get a second diagnosis and estimate, time to go back to the insurance agent and actually file a claim.
But hey, the trip this happened on was coming home from my best friend's daughter's wedding! More happy times to the trip than this one road hazard incident.