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I hit a deer! Should I repair?

2001 Subaru Forester - recently obtained. 153,000 miles. Hit a deer. Seems to be mechanically ok but busted out driver side lights bent up hood and broke out grill and many plastic parts. Should I continue to put money into car?

What does your insurance compnay say?

I should have mentioned that. Smart guy that I am, I only have liability on the car. I am in west central Illinois and the that model is a rare bird here. Currently on a parts search to see what is available used.

If your state has inspections you likely will have to repair the lights and make sure the headlights are aimed properly. This doesn’t mean you have to make it pretty, just functional. If the hood still latches and releases ok then you should be able to straighten out somewhat. You need to be able to access the motor to maintain the car.

If you hit one deer the chances are pretty good you’ll hit another someday. I won’t put to much into repairing the car beyond making it safe.

It’s impossible to say. Some deer collisions can bend the frame, while some are only superficial. You need to have the car thoroughly inspected to make a decision.

After seeing how active the deer are in your area, I think coverage for such circumstances would be a good idea. The last time I visited that area, my uncle gave me a stern warning about deer crossing. It isn’t usually the first one you hit; it’s the one that follows.

“It isn’t usually the first one you hit; it’s the one that follows.”

Yup! As I have learned from observation, female deer typically travel in groups of several adults and possibly several juveniles. When you see the first deer cross the road, you have to assume that there will be a second, a third…

No you should bbq! All kidding aside I agree with the previous posts except that there should be an inspection and alignment diagnosis to make sure the unibody ie frame was not bent.

Go to a local body shop for an estimate. Otherwise it’s pretty hard to say.

There should be more than a few of these cars in junkyards by now . . . we Americans don’t usually keep cars 9 or 10 years, typically. I’d look for a donor car and start swapping parts onto yours. Watch the alignment for tire wear, get a mechanic to put it up on a rack to check for safety issues. Was it a Mule deer? Big buggers . . I hit one in Indiana and it was a monster! But I bought used parts (right fender, front bumper, grill and assorted plastic parts for a 1986 Dodge Colt in about 1992 or 1993 . . . ran it another 100,000 miles until I loaned it to my Brother, he hit a tree and that was the end of it. Rocketman

Sorry to divert the thread, but rocketman I have seen many a post by you, and sit back and appreciate your experiences, me. (ps I know many people look at waterboy and think goofball, but I work for a water utility thus my name)

Used parts can be hard to find for this car but I found almost anything can be had with enough phone calls. If it’s cost effective is your call.
Try these yards in your area.

  1. Fierge in Quincy
  2. Brads in Aledo
    3.Auto Acre in the Quad/Milan area
  3. Neal in Peoria
  4. LKQ Star. This yard is not in your area but it has a huge network of sister yards they can check.
    Actually, all the above yards do but I feel LKQ Star has the best system. I do not know if there is a Suba dealer in Quincy, Burlington or the Quad. If not there is Uftring Subaru in Peoria @ 309-694-0700 and no, I do not work there.
    If you do not end up repairing it you still need to make it safe and legal. Install lights, secure loose parts and make sure the hood opens and latches shut. Hope this helps.

I have a son that lives in a high deer area and he keeps comprehensive but not collision on his older car. If you hit an animal, they pay for the damage even if you hit something else as long as you hit the animal first.

Good idea. I have inspected hundreds of deer hits and have seen some real nasty ones.

This is for everyone. No one wants to hit a deer and it’s human nature to try to avoid them BUT, if you have time to think about what to do (often you do not) do not swerve to miss the deer. It is cheaper (comprehensive instead of collision) and more importantly it’s safer to it the animal. I am not being cruel, deer are a renewable resource and you and your family are not. I have inspected vehicles where the driver swerved to miss an animal and either rolled it or hit a tree and the driver then died. I had so much fun doing my job inspecting collisions but when I got an assignment and learned the driver or passengers died it took all the fun away. Please, for your families sake hit the deer, fox, coon or anything since it could save your life.

Thanks everyone and I will keep you posted. I have a body guy working on parts locating. Lights grill and some plastic stuff is no problem although the frame member that holds the radiator seems to be part of the unibody frame. The hood is quite bent up but still latches onto that thin piece of metal that still has an operating latch. I have a feeling the frame is slightly torqued. I was driving at night and there are deer in the area. This was the fifth deer and they were coming out from between a bin/barn and some big round hay bails. I slowed for the parade and this straggler leap out in front of the vehicle. Since that day (last Wednesday there have been several skid marks added to that stretch of road and yesterday there was another dead deer laying there.
I agree with not swerving. I didn’t even have time to br4ake but wasn’t going very fast. The deer lay there with her head up. I went home and got my truck and a .22 rifle and came back and killed her. She is processed and in the freezer now. My only revenge. I will remember about the comprehensive. thanks

At least it was a deer and not a Moose. You usually don’t walk away from a Moose hit.

also try

That’s true, and even if you ignore the safety issue, the damage of hitting the animal is often lower than the damage caused by swerving, hitting other cars, and running off the road.

If you are a commercial truck driver, you better strap the dead animal to the catwalk and take it with you. Employers and insurance carriers never believe you when you tell them you hit an animal.

I was riding with a friend years ago in his old pickup truck. We hit a big buck–he had braked, but we weren’t going very fast. The buck went rolling over and over down the road. He then got up, charged the front end of the pickup truck, then raised his head up and trotted off, with an expression of “I guess I fixed you”. I guess he got even. There was a sizeable dent in the grille of the pickup truck where the buck “got even”.

No sweat waterboy. I appreciate your responses when I see them. I didn’t think of you as a goofball, BTW. Rocketman

People often asked if they should clean the car before I inspected it. I always told them no since deer always left a calling card. If I could capture in a picture hair, blood, manure, tissue or a steak then it was proven a comp claim. Even a spit/slime trail was good since 2 cars colliding with each other don’t leave a spit trail.

I remember one guy claimed a deer hit and washed his car so it was spotless and real pretty. But he could not get the blue paint transfer off the dented area of his red car. He asked if I thought it was a deer hit and I told him no. He was astounded and asked why. I told him White Tail Deer are indigenous to this area and none of them are painted blue. He did not argue.