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Frame Rust Damage: Unsafe to drive/crash

Have a 1998 Mitsubishi Montero.

Best car I’ve ever owned. 184K miles, never once failed to start.

I was crushed to discover this spot of frame cancer on the driverside rear portion of the frame behind the rear wheel (attached images) .

Is this terminal?

Is it safe to drive and therefore potentially crash this vehicle?

Before the ground froze I dug a 10x18x10 foot deep hole in the backyard…

You’ll be even more crushed if you get hit.
IMHO this is borderline unsafe to drive. And I might be being generous.

That is my concern. I love this car so far as it will keep me alive and no further.

Realized photos might make orientation difficult because of zoom level.

Here is annotated version.

The 3rd picture actually has the best view of the left rear frame rail . . . and it looks very bad, IMO

Clearly, the frame rail itself is in a very advanced state of decay. Literally crumbling away. And further back in the picture, I think I can see the fuel tank. Hopefully, where the tank mounts to the frame is still solid

You would be very wise to pay somebody to rack the truck . . . if the frame will even allow it . . . and thoroughly inspect the vehicle for further rust

Hope for the best, but you should expect the worst

That’s enough to convince me.

Is the frame damage enough to have the car totaled (in your opinions)?

Feel like in this state it’s probably worth more totalled than in trade.

Trade in will probably work out. It might look worse than it is, hard to tell on the net, get an opinion from a body shop.

I might add . . . it would be nice to see some more pictures of the frame, in several different locations

If the rest of the frame looks like that 3rd picture, the vehicle is a goner, IMO

“totaled” . . . are you going to get your insurance company involved?

Here’s some more pics.

The order is: (Basically clockwise from the original pictures)
Drive rear, front of tire (just in front of the original pictures)
Driver front, rear
Driver front front
Passenger front front
Passenger front rear
Passenger rear front
Passenger rear rear (looks a bit better than other side but pretty similar)

We have a really nice local insurance agency. They gave my mom twice blue book when she wrecked her pathfinder. Company is run by a friend of a friend of the family but don’t think that had anything to do with it as he isn’t involved in day to day operations. Not sure how they would react to nature “wrecking” the car over 18 years but I’m sure they’d prefer me not to crash it into a new Mercedes SLK being driven by a disability attorney because the frame broke.

I’ve never heard of an insurance policy covering rot.

Are you telling us you have full coverage insurance on this 1998 ? It does not matter because rust is not covered. Get this thing to a salvage before you crash and possibly injure yourself and someone else.

It looks pretty bad to me. That being said, if all the tires are like the one in the pic (great condition) and if the car runs good you could just put it for sale as it would bring more than scrap metal.

Just tell any potential buyer it’s being sold for parts only. If someone is looking for an engine or what have you it’s a big plus to find an engine that can be heard running and in a car that can be driven.

I would also note “For parts only” in a notarized bill of sale.

Yeah, not sure how it would work if I took it in for inspection and they wouldn’t certify it because of the frame. They’re typically pretty lax around here so I would probably have to point it out to them.

Based on what I’ve seen, I’d start looking for another vehicle

No, we sure as heck don’t have collision on it. Just liability. Thinking about it I don’t see any way they would pay for anything.

Guess I’ll just see if I can anything in trade or donate it.

The car runs amazing. It is indistinguishable from the day I bought it. Makes the exact same sounds, performs the same, gets the same gas mileage down to the tenth of a mile, nothing wrong with transmission. Just looks like hell.

Thanks everybody.

This thing is going to import valhalla.

Had nearly made up my mind when I stuck my finger through the frame.

This conversation sealed the deal.

“stuck my finger through the frame” = goner

I might urge you to not buy another MItsubishi, as many believe they’re circling the drain and may soon exit the US auto market

I thought I had developed super strength until my wife kicked my ass for driving that car for too long

Naw definitely won’t.

They have Montero’s all over the Caribbean only they’re called Pajeros, but the recent models are way too bulbous looking.

Probably going to get my wife something with AWD and take over her accord. Always wanted a pickup but momma comes first.