Minor accident - passenger side fender hit - should I drive?

I was in an accident last weekend in my Jeep liberty 2004. I was hit on the passenger side and was found at fault. I only have liability insurance so my insurance will not cover the repairs. I had it towed to a mechanic who I have been to a few times and they say I need a strut assembly, upper and lower arms and a spindle which would run $2200.They said that even after fixing these things, the car may still not be in alignment so probably not worth fixing.

I went to where the car is located today to check it out, take photos and get belongings out and it doesnt really look that bad to me. The wheel is dented in a little and the passenger side door doesnt open all the way and is also slightly off at the top when it is closed. The mechanic said that I can keep it there for a couple weeks while I decide what to do with it. I asked him if he’d be interested in buying in it - he offered me $400. I am thinking I could probably get more money for it. It does have new brakes and rotors and the engine is pretty good.

Now that I am home and have had time to think about it, I am feeling stupid that I didnt even try to drive it! I am wondering if i could drive slowly 2-3 miles to my house. The night of the accident I drove it from the street into a parking lot but it was a very short distance and the mechanic moved it a little ways from where he looked at it to his parking lot. I didnt ask the mechanic about it and also forgot to check the mileage - i know it’s around 180,000.

Just wondering if anyone has an opinion on this - I was thinking of driving it home and putting it online and trying to sell it from home.

It’s only letting me post one photo - hopefully you can tell from this one. I have more photos.

Maybe you should get a second opinion on this or at least go to a bodyshop nearby.

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I can see the damage to the right front suspension in the picture. How would you feel if it collapsed on your drive home? How would you feel if when it collapsed it caused another car to have an accident?

Its a Jeep with 180K on it. It is used up. Take the $400 and walk away.


The problems the mechanic told you about are not visible at a distance. You have to get under the car to see them. You should get a second opinion. I imagine the shop put your Jeep on a lift, and they likely drove it into the bay and back out. Any driving could cause the suspension to fail, but a short drive may not be a problem.

Do you have a relationship with this mechanic? If not, find a shop you trust for a second opinion. Damage to the wheel does indicate suspension damage, so the guy might be right. Since you have to pay for it, don’t consider market value for the Jeep but the cost to find one in as good a shape as this one. It might turn out that the cost to repair is worth it.

Edit: After reading @Mustangman’s post, I took a closer look at the photo. Both front and rear fenders are damaged. The front wheel is turned out, but it I don’t see excessive toe in or out. It isn’t clear whether the turned wheel is damage or steering into the parking spot. Maybe his trained eye sees excessive toe.

Take the 400.00 and move on . I would not drive it like this and even after spending 2200.00 there might be more things to repair.


I definitely see excessive camber and likely excessive toe out. The camber is caused by something important being bent… the spindle and the strut being 2 likely candidates.

The car costs $2200 to fix. The Kelly Blue Book value is around $2860 and trade-in value is less than $2000. $400 will get the OP headed toward something else.


Pull r parts yard. $100 in parts. Labor and skill to fix? Priceless.


The wheel definitely goes in a little at the top . Here are more photos - the site would only let me add one on the original post

The rear isn’t damaged - I think you are just looking at at sticker that wore off on the right corner.

I wish - lol I am nowhere near close to being a car mechanic

Considering the suspension work that can’t be seen from pictures and the body work to realign the door just move on .

I could just get it towed to my house - i have a couple aaa tows left - do you think I could get more than $400? I’ve never tried to sell a non working car from my driveway before.

As with many things like this, odds are that once you get into it you would find additional problems; say a bent subframe and/or bent strut tower.

Since this would be an out of pocket repair my vote would be to sell it as is and not necessarily to the guy who offered you 400 bucks. Sell it on Craigslist or whatever and let someone make an offer. It seems to me it would be worth far more than 400 bucks even damaged.
With CL use a phone for contact. There are flakes out there but scammers, tire kickers, and chain yankers are more likely to use email or text.

Personally, I would not have a problem with driving it a few miles home at a slow speed. The tires look good and a few miles are not going to scrub the tread off.


That front wheel is definitely toeing out from the first picture in your second post. No question that there is damage.

Maybe it’s light reflecting off the rear wheel well, but it looks to me that it was scraped at some point. I wasn’t looking at the bumper.

I looked up dealer retail for a replacement, and it’s about $3000 in clean condition and with 180,000 miles in Florida. That gives you up to $800 to gamble with. If you are certain that it doesn’t need anything else, you could pay for the fix and drive on. It seems to me you might need more wor, like new wheel bearings. It might be better to just take the $400. You might try to haggle, but assuming the mechanic wants to fix and sell, that gives him little room for profit. He can get the money for fixing it from you or the next owner, but he still needs parts and labor for the work.

Here’s another option . . .

Buy all those parts mentioned . . . control arms, spindle and strut . . . new, as cheaply as possible. Who cares where they’re made. As for the strut, make sure it is a complete assembly, meaning strut, coil spring and bearings, all pre-assembled.

And then have them installed and pay to have a steering alignment. Maybe they’ll get it so that it tracks straight and doesn’t eat tires.

Forget about the door for now, especially if you just use the Jeep to drive alone to/from work

Of course, if you can comfortably spend several thousand dollars for another car right now, I’d seriously consider it, as well.

Do you have a jack and jack stands?

How about a 3/8 ratchet and socket set and other basic hand tools?

In my opinion, hanging the parts is definitely something that could be done in somebody’s driveway

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The OP is not mechanically inclined as stated in his first post.

I wouldn’t give you more than a hundred bucks for it.

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I would have the mechanic show me carefully whether the frame that supports all these components is bent. If not, go off to the junkyard and find a Liberty hit on the other side. The labor for these repairs should not be drastic. There is no point in driving this to your house unless you plan to sell it from there.
I would also ask a body shop owner to come see the car where it sits and give an opinion. A body shop probably does a lot of this collision repair.


No I dont have that stuff and not getting it

Yes this is what I’m considering but wonder how many jackasses are going to show up wanting to drive it and driving it might break whatever is bent and might be a pain. There is also an issue with the radiator and sometimes the engine does this random surging thing so there are other issues going on with the car . But the brakes and rotors are NEW! Lol. I’m going ask the mechanic if he’ll give me $500 or if he gives me $400 maybe he’ll check out a couple cars for me - I’m thinking of looking for something from a private seller - I’m in Florida so there are a lot of old people here so maybe can find a car not too pricey in good condition with low miles and not get stuck with a car payment. Thanks everyone for your opinions:)