Car accident - buy or fix?

#1

I was in a car accident last week and there’s structural damage to my car. I’m in a position where I have to decide whether to fix my car or purchase a new one. Note: my insurance covers the other party’s damages, but not mine. To make things easier, here are the details:



1) Honda Civic EX Coupe (2000)

2) Mileage: 85,000

3) Front left side of my vehicle hit the rear right side of the other vehicle.

4) According to the auto repair shop, the estimated cost for repairing the vehicle is $4,300.

5) Kelley Blue Book quotes the trade-in value of my car (before the accident) at around $5,000.



With all of this in mind, would it be more logical for me to purchase a new car rather than fix up my Civic?



I can muster up the monthly payments, but I just feel badly that my Honda only has 85,000 miles. Honda’s are known for lasting FOREVER, and I kind of feel like I’m throwing away a very decent car. HOWEVER, the cost of repair equals the value of my car, which is why I’m torn. Please help! Thanks!

#2

This Is Tough Without Seeing The Car

What kind of shop? Is it part of a dealership?
What main body parts are we talking about? Bumper, fender, door, hood?
Is the car drivable? Wheel/tire, suspension, radiator, damage?
Is estimate firm or are there “opens” (uncertainties) involving mechanical repairs?
Was this car well maintained, needing nothing prior to collision?
Was shop figuring new, used, or after-market parts?

Often times, one estimate is not enough. To really save this thing, you could “contract” with a decent shop to use used parts or whatever and possibly get it fixed for far less. See if other shops will go see the car and give free estimates. Without seeing it and with few details and one estimate, nobody can help you. More details, photos, please!

P.S. Don’t forget to factor in the “salvage.” Your car has some value even if you decide to scrap it.

#3
  1. privately-owned auto repair shop (not part of dealership)
  2. Bumper, hood, side (above the left-front wheel)
  3. The car was barely driveable. Since the left-front side of the vehicle was somewhat crushed in, the tire could hardly turn. Liquid was also leaking, so I’m assuming the radiator was damaged.
  4. The stimate is fairly firm.
  5. Prior to the accident, the car was in perfect working condition.
  6. I believe the estimate is based on new parts. I am going to need to ask re: used parts.

As for photos, the auto shop had to remove some parts in order to make an estimate.

#4
  1. privately-owned auto repair shop (not part of dealership)
  2. Bumper, hood, side (above the left-front wheel)
  3. The car was barely driveable. Since the left-front side of the vehicle was somewhat crushed in, the tire could hardly turn. Liquid was also leaking, so I’m assuming the radiator was damaged.
  4. The stimate is fairly firm.
  5. Prior to the accident, the car was in perfect working condition.
  6. I believe the estimate is based on new parts. I am going to need to ask re: used parts.

As for photos, the auto shop had to remove some parts in order to make an estimate.

#5

Doesn’t sound too bad to me. Personally I would fix it.

#6

Thanks For Additional Info. Are You Familiar With This Shop? How Did The Car End Up There?

That’s good that they cut away some of the damage for a better estimate. Does the shop seem to think this is a “total”? I realize they are in business to make a profit, but are they leaning toward repairing or “totalling” or have they not given an opinion?

Do you live in an area of the country where cars rust badly? Was your car’s fairly body rust-free? Was this shop aware that your insurance was not going to pay for repairs and that it would up to you to pay? When you say “barely driveable”, did you get a chance to drive straight ahead for any distance at all? Aside from the tire rubbing on the body, was the steering wheel straight (normal), or turned (not normal), to go straight? Did the shop estimate anything for suspension damage, like a strut, steering rack, or control arm or anything of that nature. Did they indicate that these parts are not damaged? You need to confirm that the leak is coolant from the radiator and not oil from the engine or transmission. The car wasn’t driven and overheated or anything following the collision, right? Was it towed?

I’m sorry if this is confusing and difficult, but wihtout being there and no pictures, this is tough. I’m trying to gather enough information to make an informed recommendation to you and to allow others to try and help. I guess one thing I’m getting at is still the ideas of having “opens” should you have it repaired. No doubt an insurance company would have “totalled” it. You need to be sure that an estimate is firm with no surprises later. Otherwise fixing it is probably not wise. Is getting another estimate or two out of the question? I’m not implying this is not the right place to do the work, should you go that route, but it’s just good practice.

#7

I would fix it and I have under similar situation and I have never regretted it.

#8

I would buy new, we had one of those, 6 months later the ac went maybe not related, it shredded something and had to replace every component in the ac as metal shavings ruined everything $2300, 8 mo’s trans went and had rebuilt $1200, re repaired twice under warrenty from independent shop but and after the second time traded it in as the shop said it will probably go again because things aren’t lined up quite right. A Large truck making a turn in a parking lot caught the car with it’s rear bumper and pushed the rear end of the van on top of a 3’ boulder. It was within $500 of the value so the insurance company paid for the repairs, straightened the frame and bodywork etc., but as we signed off on it had no chance of collecting for future repairs that may or may not have been a result of the incident.

#9

The repair guy said “you can fix it for $4,600, but only if you want to. You might want to consider getting a new car.”

As for the area, I live in Los Angeles, so there’s no rust on my car (that I know of). And yes, the shop knows my insurance won’t cover it and that I’d be paying out-of-pocket.

When I tried to drive the car, it drove straight. Turning was the problem. And yes, I had the car towed, so it wasn’t overheated.

According to the itemized list of damages, the following need repair/replacement:

  1. front bumper cover - $89
  2. front bumper reinforcement bar - $79
  3. grille, grille eblem - $29 + $12
  4. right-side headlamp lens & housing - $109
  5. left-side headlamp lens & housing - $109
  6. hood panel - $169
  7. right hood hinge - $38
  8. left hood hinge - $38
  9. hood latch - $32
  10. air conditioner condenser - $89
  11. air conditioner compressor pipe - $33
  12. air conditioner condenser pipe - $28
  13. air conditioner condenser shroud - $62
  14. left fender panel - $89
  15. front body radiator support - $119
  16. left front body front apron panel - $134
  17. cruise control actuator assy - $99
  18. steering fluid reservoir - $80
  19. mask for overspray - $7.50
  20. paint/materials - $537
  21. hazardous waste disposal - $134

total labor - $2,225.08
total replacement parts - $1,554.81
total additional costs - $890

grand total - $4,669.89

If I get a chance, I’ll try to send you some pics. I just had a tow truck transport my vehicle to another repair shop for a second opinion. I’m hoping it’ll be cheaper, but who knows?

#10

If the repair is all your money and not insurance money, you may be tempted to just find another car. You won’t find one for trade in value. If you want a new car, you could do alright by getting it now. If you will have to make payments; fix the old one.

#11

Don’t feel bad about signing off. It was not related.

#12

I Guess You Have To Ask Yourself If You Want To Buy A New Car Now, Or Not.

It sounds like the collision didn’t damage the vital organs (suspension, engine, trans, etc.)You could go ahead and get it fixed at a decent shop, and drive it for a while. If it’s just like it was, keep it. If it’s not the same old Civic it once was, you could sell it or trade it. You could do both. Drive it 4600 dollars worth and then get a new car. Repaired properly, it should be difficult for anybody but a pro to tell it was repaired.

#13

thanks so much, everyone. you guys ROCK!