Does this look "totaled" to you?

hit a high ended SUV so bumper went under the car, hood took the grunt of it. Radiator got pushed in, broken head light. Still starts right up. Made the mistake of filing an insurance claim. Progressive calls it a total lost! Yes its a 2003 with 212k miles on it but it could have kept going! Anyone have advice with bringing back to life a car deemed for salavage?


You have a thread about looking for a vehicle so just let this one go and move on. Even if you bought it from the insurance you will spend so much money and possibly regret it .

YES! That is totaled. The value of the car is in the low 4 figures, the cost to repair it is in the high 4 figures.

In addition to that reality, there is also the fact that, with over 200k on the odometer, the engine probably has a limited amount of time before repairs are needed, and the transmission is surely on its last legs. Why would anyone contemplate extensive body repairs that would cost about as much as its book value, especially when considering that this vehicle is essentially at or near the end of its mechanical life?

Yes. “Totaled” means that the cost of the repairs will meet or exceed the replacement value of the car. A 15 year old car with 212,000 miles has already exceeded its expected service life. I would present the insurance company with all maintenance and repair records for the car and take what you can.

Toast. The car is too old and has too many miles. Take the payout and find another vehicle.

As for the payout, you should get fair market value for a retail sale of a similar vehicle, not trade-in value. Don’t let the insurer shortchange you.

If you can get the parts from a salvage yard and do the work yourself, then Id say fix it. especially if you have maintained the car up to this point and its in good shape mechanically. Its not badly damaged…certainly not structural. However, if your thinking of having a professional fix the car with new parts, having it painted etc. its definitely not worth it.
Good luck.


Do you need a spare car . . . ?

If you do, this one shouldn’t be too difficult to “fix” . . . from a mechanical perspective, as long as you’re willing to do the work yourself

Buy a used hood of the same color

Buy a cheap radiator from one of those independent radiator shops

Buy either a new aftermarket headlight or a used one from a junkyard

Straighten the core support with a slide hammer kit

My brother once drove under a truck’s rear bumper and his car wound up in exactly the same shape as yours

I fixed it cheaply, and no one could even tell

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I agree with db4690 your probably going to have to straighten or replace the upper tie bar of the Rad. support. (the cross member that ties together the two inner fender structures) straightening can be difficult even with the proper tools and skills but those upper tie bars are usually available for very little money from the dealer. Im talking like $50 or less. just drill out the spot welds to get the old one off and then bolt or rivet the new one on through the holes you drilled to get the old one off. Very simple. For a couple hundred bucks and a few hours work you could have this car back on the road and then pocket the change the insurance gives you.

Yep, the only way you can keep this on the road is to do the work yourself. Search the junk yards for the parts. You can do the bolt ons and maybe even the painting and you can have a shop do the radiator support maybe. I would be most concerned with the hood latch fitting properly.

The car is totaled, but if you are going to keep it, do not take the insurance totaled check. Take less to keep the car registered in your state. You don’t want to re-instate the car after salvage (paperwork and money). Fix it to pass any safety checks, or donate it to charity.

Hopefully you have uninsured or underinsured insurance that you can collect under your insurance policy. If not, the only other option that I can think of is small claims for less than the car’s value.

Unfortunately, I do understand. I’ve been there. I was a nice guy and got screwed with no money and a car that was towed for scrap.