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Body shop overkill?

I have a brand new Subaru that was involved in a low impact/low speed collision with a VW. 5MPH tops. The other driver’s front end bumped mine in a passing/sliding motion causing a small circular hole to rip in my bumper. The body shop says the whole bumper cover needs to be replaced (which I expected) but they also say the metal Reinforcement bar underneath needs to be replaced. I can see it through the hole and it looks fine to me. The other drivers insurance is paying for everything but I don’t want any unneeded repairs to be done on my brand new car. Anybody have any suggestions or advice?

If your car is new, for safety’s sake, I’d let them replace whatever they want. Why gamble that the reinforcement bar has been compromised? You can’t tell by looking at it, and you may need it to be full strength at some time in the future.

It may LOOK fine…but is it really??? If the bar is bent even the slightest it’s weakened and should be replaced. Ask the bodyshop if they can show you why they think it needs replacing.

You said it…“brand new”.
And that’s the repair outcome goal aimed at by body shops.
Unless you tell them otherwise, it will look and work show room new when they’re done.

Finally there is someone who doesn’t want to milk an accident for all it’s worth and raise insurance rates for everyone.

I guess everyone else missed the fact that your bumper cover tore a hole from a sliding motion across it.

There is no doubt that the inner bumper is completely intact. The body shop is just trying to milk some gravy work due to the fact that nobody asks twice.

Does anyone really think that this inner bumper’s capacity for dissipating kinetic energy has diminished? The owner has already stated that there isn’t even a mark on it! Now if it was dented or warped from a frontal collision at 5MPH, then yes. But from the OP’s description, the outer bumper was grazed obliquely and tore the plastic.

Safety issue. Hah! Do you think you’d die in an accident because your 3MPH rated bumper has a ding in it before you collide with another vehicle at a combined speed of 80 MPH?

Driving an ambulance as a younger man erased all misconceptions and false senses of security about what a vehicle can and cannot protect you against.

It may LOOK fine…

Perhaps we should replace our bumpers routinely when we leave our cars unattended.

Someone could have backed into it at the mall and compromised 2MPH of its 3MPH capacity and we’d never know because it would look just fine.

My brother proved one thing to me one day. He’s been a bodyman for the last 25 years, on frame racks and paint booths. He has me convinced that a good bodyman CAN spot things that the “Layman” does not see. Sure there are shops out there that scam insurance companies all the time. The insured people do it even more. Maybe the bumper cover isnt lining up right. Have you ever tried putting a bolt through something that doesnt line up properly?? I know I have many times.


Depending on how the part is procured, there’s also the possibility that the bumper cover simply cannot be gotten by itself and may be available as an assembly only.

When I worked for Subaru we ran into more than a few hot customers who were upset because this or that could not be gotten by itself and required the whole shebang.
It was hard for them to understand why the dealer just may not be able to do it.

Several years back I inadvertently broke an ABS grommet on my Lincoln’s brake booster due to my arm being wedged into a tight spot while doing some maintenance.
This 1"+ plastic grommet (odd shaped) could not be gotten anywhere except the Lincoln dealer and the dealer could not order this grommet (it even had the part no. molded on it).
The only way to get this grommet from FOMOCO was to order a new brake booster at about 350 bucks so I passed.

Irritating situation but I’m not mad at the dealer over this. They have no control over parts policies from the factory.
Rather than pay that much cash for a trinket I machined one out of aluminum on my lathe. It took about 4 or 5 hours one evening but it was better than the alternative.

You bought a brand new car. The obligation of the other party is to make you “whole” again. That means everything should be back to exactly the way it was before the accident. The body shop is the expert in what it takes to get there. Let them do their job for you. If they feel the energy absorption system beneath the skin may have been compromised in any way, let them replace it.

I agree. The body shop guy is there, he’s evaluating it, and he’s the expert. For the injured party to refuse to use the benefit of his expertise is folly. Not all damage is visable to the layman.

It is actually the insurance adjuster that will make that determination. You could get a second estimate, but if the insurance company is on board paying for it it probably needs to be done. Double check!

In my limited experience the estimate is typically a negotiation between the body shop’s estimate and the insurance adjuster’s estimate.

But I agree with your ultimate point.

Keep in mind that while you might not see any damage there may be damage. All? Some? cars have weaak points that are designed to give up thier life to save more expensive parts. Often they may no be seen by just looking.

Transman said it well, professionals can see damage that a customer cannot/layman cannot. They have trained eyes.

But, if there is doubt the shop should write for a bumper cover only and write in the notes section of the estimate that there could be additional items required which will be determined after disassembly. After the cover is removed and the absorber or impact bar is found to be damaged the shop would then call the insurance company to tell them. The insurance company will either say to wait so they can send someone out to reinspect or to procede and send a photo and an invoice when the vehicle is complete.

That way the vehicle is repaired properly and the shop does not look like a dairy farm (milking everything).

I had a low speed impact on a Taurus many years ago. The bumper facia looked bac, but the bumper seemed OK otherwise. The insurance adjuster inspected it and gave me money for a new facia and two new pistons. Once I got under the car and inspected the pistons, it turned out that they did need to be replaced.

Here’s the other side of picture.

Some 35+ years ago I had a accident with my 72 F150 Pickup. At the time I didn’t know any good body-men. I got 3 estimates and used this one guy that was pretty cheap (college student at the time). Well as he got into it…he found more and more problems. One bracket looked fine to him…later found out it needed to be replaced because everything else wasn’t lining up. When it was all done…it ended up costing me almost the same as the highest estimate I got. I then checked the estimates of both body-men…the highest priced guy had listed replacing at least 3 different parts that the guy I went to didn’t estimate replacing…but when he got into it…found out they needed replacing. The cost turned out to be about the same…but it took this guy almost 3 weeks to fix it because he kept waiting on parts.

Moral of the story…A good body-man is worth it.