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Bent hood conundrum

Hey all, looking for some advice on what to do about the bent hood on my 2003 Civic coupe. Had a low-speed fender bender in March where my front end hit the back bumper of an SUV which left my hood pushed up and back on its hinges and the grill bent in. I drove it home with some trepidation where my boyfriend popped the grille back out to its original shape (it’s plastic after all) and he and I adjusted the attachment hinges for the hood so that it sits closer to the way it did originally. We took a look under the hood and everything appears to be in its intended place - all visible bolts bolted, everything straight and firmly attached to its mounts. There’s still a noticeable gap around the front of the hood because the hood panel itself was curved back on itself in the collision and that we couldn’t fix ourselves (Specifically it’s the supporting structure welded to the underside of the hood that’s been creased. You can see if you look at the picture of the underside of the hood that there are bends in each of the long pieces running front to back about midspan). So it always looks like the hood’s unlatched but I’ve been driving it problem free for several weeks.

The question now is - should I fix the hood or not? If so, should I get the original hood fixed or get a new hood attached and repainted?

I originally chose not to notify my insurance company or file a claim because the cost of getting a new or used hood attached and painted was quoted at between $600-800 and up depending on who I asked while my collision deductible is $1000. Front-end damage makes that driver at-fault in Florida. Plus the other driver refused to exchange to insurance information.

New wrinkle to the story - I recently switched to a new insurance company and they require an inspection before providing collision insurance. I’m afraid that they will see the damage and refuse to insure me or that things will escalate from there.

Technical difficulties with the picture attachment

Its really hard to say without seeing it. I guess I would see what a private bodyman said about straightening it out. If it can’t be easily straightened, I would just opt for a junkyard hood and hinges and not mess with it (might be able to get it in the same color. The main thing with a hood is that it latches properly so there is no danger of it opening up while driving. If the latching part was not bent and works fine, then its cosmetic.

As far as the insurance goes, I believe they will want to note any pre-existing damage so that wouldn’t be covered. I don’t think they would fail to insure you for that, just won’t insure you for the existing damage. I had to have mine inspected after deer damage but it was no big thing. Maybe OldBodyman will chime in.

What Bing said…

Check out www.car-part.com for a same color hood (and probably hinges) near you.

If the area where the hood latches is not pushed back, all you’d need to do is put it on. Get your boyfriend to help. Doing easily it is a two person job. If the latch area is pushed back, and it won’t take much to not latch properly, then you will probably have to have a body shop pull it out for you.

From what you describe, I’m fairly concerned that your hood isn’t as securely latched as it ought to be. If it lets loose, injuries to you or the people driving behind you are very likely. Therefore, I strongly suggest fixing or replacing it. As others have said, stop at a good local body shop first to see if your current one can be straightened out.

In agreement. Purchase an lkq (like kind and quality) hood from a recycler. Matching color should be fairly simple considering all of the Civics on the road. Installation is straight forward. Replace because of safety issues. You don’t want the hood to open while driving at highway speed.

I agree. Not only are the hinges at risk but the poor fit may set aerodynamic forces in place that could eventually cause the hood to release at higher speeds. Another vote to replace. I think you already have that fear as you feel you are at risk to fail inspection. Inspections are for a reason…

Agree with all others, but may I ask why you still have collison on a 2003?? It may not be worth it if you are paying alot for it…

I agree with the “replace it” suggestion. Firstly, it may not be safely latched. Secondly, the hood is a critical path in the “crush zone” that will protect you should you have a serious accident, and yours has been compromised.

They made abzillions of these. I’m sure a boneyard can find a replacement, very likely in your original color.

I would give a paintless dent repair place a shot, I had a $565 hood dent repaired for $75 that looked acceptable, not perfect but good enough.

The hood needs replacing. You cannot straighten a buckled hood.

Another vote for replacing the hood. check to see if there is a u-pull-it yard in your area. You might get lucky and find an undamaged hood the same color as yours and its an easy swap. Cheap too if you DIY.

Thanks for the advice - seems unanimous I should replace or reshape the hood. I got the pictures to load properly today so take a gander and see if that changes your opinion any. The first three show the original damage. The last two show it’s current condition.
A body shop quoted me $400 to reshape the existing hood, replace the hinges and latch, and pull the radiator forward to its original position or $900 to do all that but replace the hood. He said moving the radiator was more for structural integrity than to fix the radiator (which appears to have been handling South FLorida heat just fine). He seemed very concerned about the latch as all of you are.
I’m waiting to hear back from some parts guys I found on car-parts.com too. $400 seems ok for a professional to do it but maybe I’ll get lucky and find a hood in my color and good condition for less. Thanks again for the input :slight_smile:

Forget reshaping, it rarely works on hoods. As for the radiator mount, you can wrap a tow strap around a tree and hook it to the cross brace and then just slowly and carefully back up until it pulls into shape and position. You’ll have it right when the new hood closes and latches properly.

Do you own this car or is it financed? That would explain the useless collision insurance…

I would have a body shop give you a written estimate to repair your car. That way you will have a list of all the damaged parts as detected by a professional. It’s seldom “just the hood”…

+1 on replacing it. Doing bodywork on a hood like that isn’t worth it. It will take a long time and will never quite be straight. Find a replacement hood on craigslist and pass it to a good bodyshop to do the work.