Junk it, or keep it?

My 73 year old mom’s 97 grand prix was rear ended the other day, and the insurance said it was totaled.

They offer around $3400 for it.

Thing is, she really liked the car, and prefers to keep it, and repair the damage.

The miles on the car are close to 60K.

She just had new wheels & tires on it. (and by just, I mean 4 days prior to the accident)

It looks likes it needs bushings replaced, sway bar, and some shocks, and of coarse the fixing of the damage to the car itself.

I am thinking it is better to let the insurance buy her out, and then get another car.

However, I don’t really know of a good car to recommend for her to match the grand prix.

That, and the fact that she wants to buy the car herself, on a fixed income, isn’t exactly easy to find another car! It would be around $6k max that she can afford.

Any recommendations on a similar style car, or should I listen to my mom, and allow her to fix the grand prix?

How much will it cost to repair the car? If it is more than $3,400 then she would have to put more money into the car to get it on the road. In the end it is her car, her money, and her decision.

Repairing rear end damage is less difficult than repairing the front with motor, radiator, drive shafts, etc. If it can be repaired for less than $3,400 and insurance with cover the costs it will likely be OK. She is driving less than 8,000 miles per year. When you are 73 getting used to new stuff is not easy.

Repairs are $2985+any “hidden damage” which they will not cover.

I just want to make sure the car is still safe for her.

I heard the 3.8L 3800 engine it has is pretty decent, so it should still be running pretty good for a few more years.
Not sure how much it will cost to repair the bushings & the broken sway bar though.

If the settlement is within the cost repair, it seems to be a no brainer…I’d fix it. Rear end damage would compromise a minimal amount of the total safety issue with a front drive car. If the mechanics can be checked and it is rust free otherwise, that would help make my decision. Otherwise…
Though it’s tough to get used to new things…a used Camry is easy to accommodate for we oldies if a change is in the offing.

I would junk it. I’ve tried, twice, to repair and keep cars that were “totaled” in accidents. Both attempts ended in financial disaster. I will never again attempt to keep a car that has suffered anything other than a minor fender-bender.

Insurance companies are experts at knowing what’s worth fixing and what’s not. If they say it’s totaled, then it’s totaled, and you’d be crazy, in my opinion, to argue with them. Actually, I’ve reached the point where I want them to tell me my car is totaled, so I don’t have to deal with the problems after the “repair.”

Too many potential nightmares. Walk away now.

Thanks for the info all.

She is now hunting for a new used car, that has ABS + traction control (live in the snow belt)… but so far, I haven’t been able to find a decent car that is within her budget of around $10K. ($6k + insurance pay out)

I did find a Sonota, but the insurance cost on that is $450 more than what she has now. A Camry is only $115 more, but they don’t have ABS or traction control for anywhere near the amount she has to spend.


This link will take you to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The page is the launching point for their tally of insurance losses for make and model. The insurance cost for her next car will closely match this chart. By match I mean that cars with lower payout will have lower insurance cost. The 2003/2005 Camry has lower injury and collision costs than the Sonata, for instance. If you find a year range for the cars you are interested in, you can get an idea of how much the relative cost to insure is.

Nice tip, thanks!

Mom…second thought Junk it
She’ll be much safer in anything newer regardless of abs, trac or not.