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Fix it or Scrap it?

Hello all,

I have a 2003 Toyota Camry that unfortunately met a deer head-on at 60 mph the other day. I LOVE this car - it has about 150,000 miles on it and I was hoping that I would drive it for a very long time…

Alas, I did not have my insurance set up right so the insurance company will not pay for repairs. The estimate comes out to about $4,000 for the repairs (radiator, A/C, hood, and headlight all damaged and need replacing). Kelley Blue Book lists my car (without damage) at $6000 for resale, $4000 for trade-in value.

So here’s the question: put the $4,000 into repairs and hope to get a few more years out of it? Or my dad will sell me his '04 Subaru Outback for around the same price as the repairs (125,000 miles).

My concern between the two cars is mostly how much longer each will last (I want to get as much time as possible out of whichever one I go with). But also resale value. Camrys keep their resale value better, but mine has been damaged. Neither one will probably have much resale value, though, by the time I drive them into the ground anyway…so does it even matter?

Thanks for any input - I’m having a tough time with this decision! I have a definite sentimental attachment to the Camry!

If you had frame damage it’d show up with this type of accident around the A-pillars and in the windshield fitment along the roofline and the cowling. As best I can see, your damage is all repairable.

It’s a crap shoot as to which will last llinger, the Subie or the Camry. 99% of which it’ll be will depend upon the maintenance.

You love the Camry. Repaired, it’d be a tossup between that and the Subie. Personally, I’d repair the Camry.

that is the big ? ditto on “the same mointainbike”

I’m just not a big fan of Subaru’s and an '04 is going to need more work and repairs in the next 5 to 10 years than your Camry. I’d fix the Camry.

how does the camary drive any different after been hit by the deer?

Judging by the way that hood is bent up, I’d say that he he’ll have a hard time seeing the car in front of him so yes.

It’s not unreasonable to fix the Camry if the damage is more or less limited to the items you listed.

Is this quote from a dealer or an independent body shop? Sometimes an independent body shop will cut you a bit of a break if they know you’re paying out of pocket.

Are you being quoted for a new hood or a junkyard hood? On a car this old, I’d consider using junkyard body parts (but not junkyard mechanical parts).

You’re correct that resale value counts for very little on a $6,000 car that you plan to keep driving for a while.

Thanks for the input so far!

There’s no frame damage quoted on the estimate, so that is good news for the Camry! The quote is from an independent body shop and they’ve been very nice so far and are going to cut me a bit of a break - I might make them brownies, too. :slight_smile:

The quote is for a new hood, but I bet the guy would put a junkyard hood on if I requested it - I’m sure there are tons of Camry hoods lying around.

Check out for all the used parts needed to fix this car. I’ve seen and fixed far worse. Other than pulling out the top of the radiator core support or replacing it, It’s mostly just unbolt the old and bolt on the new (or used). You might even find used parts the same color to save money on painting. Have you thought of doing any of this yourself. You might contract with a frame or body shop to do just the hard stuff.

Around here deer strikes are considered to be comprehensive claims by insurance companies. It’s like an act of God. He designed the deer to be incredibly stupid. If you’re thinking that you don’t have collision coverage, that may not be what you need. If all you have is liability coverage, then you are indeed screwed.

If there is no coverage, definitely find an independent shop. Shoot, ask two or three. Since the deer got the radiator, you will have to have them come to the car for an estimate. Watch out for storage fees wherever the tow truck took it, unless it’s your own driveway. That’s another way folks get screwed out of their cars.

I second getting a quote for the repair with salvage body parts and new or remanufactured mechanicals. Also since you want to drive it till it falls apart I would worry on paint matching exactly- that should save you some bucks.

Ok I am going to throw this in as well. The 2003 toyota 4 cyl motor in your camary has a known issue with head bolts. The threads in the block (usually in the rear of the motor) pull away and loosen the bolts, which result in the head gasket blowing. We had this happen to one of our trade ins with 130,000 miles on it… The mechanic litterally could pull the head bolts right out with no tools… It’s expensive to fix because it’s a lot if work on this car, and you have to re thread the block. Do a google search and you will see what I mean. Due to this fact alone I would take dad up in his offer, because i feel your car (assuming you have not already done the repair) is a ticking time bomb. Although subbys of that vintage also have head gasket issues. With that said it still has some craigslist value as it sits and you should still get some money for it.

I think I am with gsragtop on this. Apart from the known potential stripped bolt issue (I have a 2005); if you can sell your car as is for $2K, you essentially have recouped $6K out of it (including the $4K repairs that you have not done). That is a good deal for a car with 150k miles. I know it is a Camry and word on the street is they run until 250K miles. The truth is between now and 250K miles, it is going to need a lot of repairs. Also with accidents, there is a lot of unseen damages with sensors and electrical stuff that shows off when you put the car back on the road.

Now that you have $6K (theoretically), it is your choice whether to buy the Subaru or something else. A used car with a know history is always a bargain IMHO (just not one that has been on a date with a deer).

Get used parts and fix it yourself. You can probably even get the correct color. You can do the radiator, the other parts just bolt on. Buy a service manual and have the shop fix the air conditioning. I hit a deer with my Riv on the highway too and it was totaled. Used hood, fender, grill, headlight, and paint for $700 and went to Europe on the rest.

Dont get attached to a car,it cant love you back.There is such a thing as throwing good money after bad.I personally dont like your options but its your choice(something patched up is something patched up)I got over my sentimentality for machines a long time time ago-Kevin

If the air bags did not go off, and all the damage is soft parts, hood, head lights, radiator, condenser coil, radiator, supports, etc. and no frame damage, then I would try to find a local shop that will work with you and explain you just want it back in good running order not necessarily perfect using after market parts.

This car has such a high production number that just about every part needed can be gotten at 1/3 the price of OEM A new hood is only $100 . Here is a look at the cost of after market parts,carcode,1434117,pgname,Body-Exterior