How to Verify Handling on Major Insurance Repair


I just got back my 05 Jetta TDI after 3 months at a dealer bodyshop. An insurance pool driver took out the entire left side and transmission; $15k of repairs. I love the fact that that car did precisely what it was supposed to; I walked out of the car and went the next day for a week in the Rockies and did 40 miles. Not a single extra airbag deployed.

So, I was not unhappy when my insurance company told me the car could be repaired and I would get a lifetime warranty on everything they paid for.

First, I do need to explain I do not trust the body shop. They returned the car to me two days ago with no dash lights, no windsheild wipers and a dimmer swithc that was hot to the touch.

Took it to the regular service dept; they repuilled the dash, found the short and found the windsheild wiper motors did not work because they were installed upside down!

In other words, the clown got tired of working for a nickel an hour and decided to close his eyes to obvious problems and pass them on.

So I picked the car up today form the real service dept. I am making an appointment with the dealership manager.

But now I find the handling of the car to be highly suspect. It handles worse than my 85v Blazer ever did! There is no road feel and it seems like it grabs into a turn at the very last minute. Not at all a tight handling feel.

I am going to drive it over theweekend, but it really feels like a car that will take off a cliff in the first shower.

I plan to take the manager for a ride but I anticipate I will have to go through some hoops if the car continues to feel unsafe.

Who am I looking for to determine that the car is handling within specification? I am in Maryland.

I swear to God I am sorry for selling my 71 green 2 door Dart!


wow… that should of been salvaged… i suggest you tell them to take it back based on the fact you are scared to drive it…


There is no way in the world an O5 Jetta that suffered 15 grand in damages should have been repaired IMHO.
This car should have been considered a total.

Keep in mind that the majority of body people, even if they’re great on body and paint work, often are not competent with mechanicals. Many do not know how to inspect a ball joint or anything else.
Their concern is that it looks acceptably good after it’s parked out on the lot.

It sounds like you still have some serious issues with this car that could include suspension damage, bent sub-frame, bent floor pan, or all of the above.

I would advise driving this vehicle as little as possible and possibly having a few choice words with the insurance people who were stupid enough to authorize 15 grand worth of repairs. JMHO, but tell the insurance people they can buy it off of you and drive it themselves if they’re so confident in it.
What state are you in? You may have some recourse under state statutes.


If you are dissatisfied with it, call your insurer and demand that it be repaired properly. Explain exactly what you don’t like about it. You are not required to accept repairs that are substandard. If your insurer did not pay for the repairs, still contact them. They will make sure that the other guy’s insurer will do the job right. And call tonight. Time is extremely important.