Focus suspension... is it dangerous?

ford
focus

#1

My 16 year old son and I were in an accident recently. It was my son’s fault (he was driving - I was a passenger giving him lessons). He was trying to make a left turn from the outside lane and almost made it, but a RV came out of nowhere and smacked our car just above the driver rear wheel well. It’s an ugly dent - got the door and the frame and the wheel. I have estimates for up to $4,000 worth of damage.



We decided to let the insurance company estimate it, and they dropped the rate all the way down to $2,800. With our deductible, they handed me a check for $1,800.



I decided to worry about the functionality of the car and forget about the cosmetic problems. It has lots of mileage left, so we can drive it for a number of years still. However, I am concerned about the suspension problems. How costly are these going to be? I have an appointment for Monday to have an garage look at the damage. I know the rear arm is bent. I also have a wheel rim that is bent. How dangerous is it to drive with a messed up suspension?



My son is still learning to drive on this car. Should I sell it to him someday or would that be setting him up for an accident? We mostly use it around town, but I do get on the highways.



What is over-the-top as far as charges for suspension work?


#2

Normally, a reputable insurance oompany will recommend a reputable garage to properly repair the car. In other words, I don’t think you are going to be driving an dangerous car.

Your son will likely have a few more scrapes before he becomes experienced. I would strongly advise professional driving lessons, however. The fact that he made a left turn from the right hand lane indicates less than perfect teaching if I may say so.

Good driving courses often qualify a driver for lower insurance ratses as well.

Good luck!


#3

Driving lessons are several hundred dollars. I’ve looked into them, but can’t afford them. I was actually hoping to skip replacing the door/frame and use the cash to pay for some driving lessons. The insurance co gave me a list of garages and their estimates were much higher than the check they gave me. So if you ask me, it’s all a racket. They would have handed their garage a check for $4,000 - but offered me $2,800 to get the work done myself.

Here’s the thing, I took a CELL PHONE CALL. I was trying to tell him to pull over, and he misunderstood, got flustered and turned to the left across traffic. Up until then, he had been doing very well driving, and I made the regrettable mistake of answering the phone while I was teaching him. We were expecting the death of a friend.

Nevertheless, my question is really about the car. Is it safe to drive on the highway if the suspension is not right, or is the problem just about tire wear and handling?


#4

Nevertheless, my question is really about the car. Is it safe to drive on the highway if the suspension is not right, or is the problem just about tire wear and handling?

Bad handling at highway speed is the very definition of unsafe. You do not need to do cosmetic fixes like the fender or painting, but any structural body work and damaged suspension parts must be repaired properly. (And remember, this car does not have a frame as such, the body is the frame. So some body work may be structural and safety related.)

If you ask a body shop to “fix these things for $1800 but don’t fix the rest”, and that would result in an unsafe repair, a reputable shop won’t take the job. However much (or little) you manage to spend, if you have the work done at a reputable shop, it’s pretty sure to be safe, but maybe not pretty.

You may wish to check the laws in your state on repairs. Some states do not allow insurance companies to lowball you this way. If you get the required number of estimates and have the work done at the lowest price, the insurance company may be required to pay that amount. Or, if they give you an estimate of $2800, they may also be required to offer to send you to a shop that will do it for that price. However, this is made complicated by the fact that you want to take the check and only do half the work and not pay the deductible, so you may not be able to take full advantage of your rights.


#5

Hmmm. You make some good points. Maybe I just need to borrow the money for the deductible. I have good insurance, we just don’t have the deductible… so that’s the dilemma. My husband is so-so on car repairs, but not interested in paying others to do anything. However, safety is the issue and I am starting to think that I need to just let a good garage have at it. Thanks for your help.


#6

From the way I read your last post, you said if they had their shop do it, they’d have paid $4000, but only $2800 if you done it yourself?
There are things damaged that sometimes even a well trained eye can’t see.Bent frame/unibody, is only gonna get straightened out with a professional frame machine, so unless your husband owns one himself, it’s best to let a shop take care of it.
You could also ask yourself if your son’s, and your(since you say you’re teaching him), life is worth saving that $1200


#7

Fix the suspension with whatever it takes. Body work is likely the majority of $2800 you have a check for.


#8

I think you should just take the money and sell the car for whatever you can. And both you and your son need to stay off the road until you both learn to drive! You open saying it’s his fault, yet you were to worried about missing a cell phone call, so in the middle of talking on the phone and teaching the kid to drive he misunderstands what you say. Not hard since you are talking to 2 people at once. At his age if he is able to even get a learners permit he knows better than to make a left turn from the right lane. And how hard is pull over to understand.


#9

I’m Puzzled. You Can’t Afford Driving Lessons. You Can’t Afford $1,000 Deductible.

Driving lessons are several hundred dollars. I’ve looked into them, but can’t afford them.

This decision helped result in a totalled car and luckily nobody seriously hurt or killed.

Here’s the thing, I took a CELL PHONE CALL.

Again, poor judgment . . . not taking a call, but driving while anticipating this.

I decided to worry about the functionality of the car and forget about the cosmetic problems. It has lots of mileage left, so we can drive it for a number of years still. However, I am concerned about the suspension problems.

Poor, not rational.

“Saving money” has cost you $1,000, possibly an accident, possibly could have killed somebody, possible higher insurance premiums, the inconvenience of having the car repaired, and I’m not sure if you’ve hindered your son’s chance of getting a license.

No offense, I’m sure you’ll agree that you don’t make cars and driving decisions very well.

I’ll make some for you. Pay to have the car entirely, professionally repaired. Have your son help pay for it and have him help pay for professional instructions.

If you’re this tight on money then you pobably can’t afford a teen driver. As soon as he gets a license your car insurance rates on one vehicle will greatly increase. Somebody’s got to bring in more money or postpone the teen driver thing.

CSA


#10

A note regarding the accident, the phrase “came out of nowhere” just means you didn’t see it and tells any policeman or accident investigator that the accident was your fault. When the object you didn’t see is the size of an RV it it really,really your fault.