Single car, low speed, front end "collision"...couple issues?


#1

Last night on my way to work (I work night shift in an ER) I was driving down a road that had seen snowfall but no plows. The limit was 45 but I was driving between 30 and 35. I hit a patch of ice and started to slide left of center. Without any traction, I really couldn’t do much. I attempted to steer into the slide, but there was an oncoming car, so I steered the opposite direction, which sent the car into a spin. I ended up sliding into the concrete barrier wall, and the car stopped. I would call it a front end collision, although I slid into the wall sideways. No other vehicles were involved. I was not hurt, not even a little, the seatbelt engaged, but otherwise is fine.

I was only a couple miles from home, so I put it into drive and took it slowly home. When I examined the front end, I noticed two cracks and a piece of the plastic holding my plate on missing. One side looks sunk in a little. I’ll attach photos once I can get onto a physical computer as the mobile version doesn’t seem to support doing so. (ETA: figured it out!)

My husband is out of state for a funeral and won’t be back until Sunday. So I took it for a test drive today and it won’t shift into D2 or D1 (it’s an automatic transmission, with the shifter in the middle between the two seats, reading P, R, N, D, 2, 1). I can get it into D and it drives fine, no funny noises or smells, but cannot get it into 1 or 2. The bumper cover also looks like it is pushing against the tires, but I can’t hear anything over the sound of the engine and snow.

My brother, who is great at fixing cars, also lives across the country. He said to take it in and have it looked at, that it will likely cost less than our $1000 deductible. I have an inherent fear of repair shops. They always try to sell me more than what I came in for, and let’s be honest, I know nothing about cars. I hate being taken advantage of, so I’m hoping for some ideas as to what it could be BEFORE I go in and find my wallet a thousand dollars lighter because x, y, and z ought to be replaced.

Thanks in advance.

2009 Nissan Versa Hatchback






#2

Use the insurance and get it fixed the right way

That’s what it’s for


#3

I would suspect there may be some damage that you’re not even aware of yet. Without car in hand I can’t even begin to tell you what. Some suspension damage is certainly possible.
Your brother is correct; it should be taken in but I would not hold my breath on that sub-1000 dollar figure.

Your post is a little offensive by denigrating all mechanics whom you claim always try to sell you stuff you don’t need. You also state that you know nothing about cars. Maybe this is not necessarily a matter of being ripped off but simply a lack of understanding in regards to a repair.
This is not meant to pick a fight and it should also not be taken to mean that you’re stupid.

It’s just that a lack of understanding can lead to certain perceptions.


#4

I see close to two grand of repair on the surface. If there is any damage underneath that figure could rise by another grand or two. I would put it through insurance.


#5

I agree that it’s likely that there’s more than $1,000 in damage here. Take it to a good body shop and get an estimate. However, before driving the car any farther, you need to check the transmission fluid (and other fluids) to make sure that nothing is leaking. Also, if you really do have something rubbing against the tire, you could end up slicing that tire, so you’ll be taking that risk if you drive it instead of having it towed.


#6

Yep, your transmission shifting problems means more damage, sounds like the front wheel might have been hit, which could affect the transmission. You’ll need to get insurance involved.


#7

+1 to texases’ comment.
While the body damage may be disturbing to look at, it can be ignored for the time being.
Having the cause of the transmission problem diagnosed should be a top priority, as deferring this matter could potentially have big $$ consequences.

If the transmission isn’t leaking, I think that the trans problem could be an indication of broken motor and/or transmission mounts, and this is not something that should be ignored.


#8

First make sure there isn’t some kind of interlock preventing the shifting from happening. You wouldn’t be the first person to overlook something like this after a major event occurred.

It drives. So take it to a couple places and get estimates. If it’s under (or not much over) your deductible, no sense making a claim. That’ll just jack up your rates.


#9

@angelaRN
I Can’t Get My Low Tech P.C. To Download The Photos, But Based On Original Post And The Discussions, I Think This Car Has Considerable Damage. I’m Not Sure What A Little 09 Versa Is Worth, But…

The bumper pushed back, the transmission problem, etcetera, do not bode well. I’ll bet the damage is many times the deductible.

“I was driving down a road that had seen snowfall but no plows. The limit was 45 but I was driving between 30 and 35. I hit a patch of ice and started to slide left of center. Without any traction, I really couldn’t do much.”

The good news is that you survived and weren’t injured! This could have ended much worse. I hate being a jerk (it’s just my nature), but I hope you learned that sometimes 30mph to 35mph could be too fast for conditions and that’s on straight sections of road. Curves can necessitate even slower speeds. Also, this is a light car with a short wheel base.

I have never lost control of my car on a straight away because I adjust my speed for conditions that include, but are not limited to rain, snow, possible ice, precipitation, road camber, curves, hills, cross-winds, on-coming traffic, proximity of trees on shoulders, road surface, visibility, driver’s technique and ability, car’s capability, etcetera.

At night especially, many of these conditions are difficult to detect and can constantly change.

Losing control and skidding is Mother Nature’s way of telling you that you were going too fast.
“Without any traction, I attempted to steer into the slide, but there was an oncoming car, so I steered the opposite direction, which sent the car into a spin.”

" … I really couldn’t do much." Exactly. By then it’s too late. The time to do something is prior to losing control, usually by slowing down.

I hope I’m wrong about the extent of damage.
CSA


#10

Sorry about the accident, glad you did not get hurt. You have several thousand $ of damage. Your insurance company adjuster will work with your body shop to get this fixed. The body shop will want to fix it right, the adjuster will make sure the cost is not too high. No matter you will be paying the deductible. Call your insurance company and see which body shop they want you to take it to. A lot of times they already have reputable shops lined up to deal with. If the tire is rubbing get the car towed.


#11

Based on the photos, I don’t think the accident is associated w/the transmission problem. That looks like very minor damage – note I didn’t say the damage will be inexpensive to fix. It surely will be expensive to fix if you want all the affected surfaces looking new again. But it just doesn’t look like much impact force was involved. Instead I expect your transmission may not be shifting properly for some other reason, for example the transmission fluid is low. Or it needs a proper routine servicing. Are you certain those gears d1, d2 worked just prior to this? Most drivers in routine about town driving never use those gears.


#12

The bumper cover also looks like it is pushing against the tires

This doesn’t sound like minor damage to me. The collision damage may have caused something to block the travel of the shift cable or shift lever on the transmission.


#13

OP had the nerve to click disagree to my suggestion to use the insurance

I can’t see any good reason to NOT use the insurance

Unless . . . the car isn’t insured, in the first place?

Wonder why she only flagged me?

Maybe I was just being “disagreeable” :naughty:


#14

I never use those gears, George, so I don’t truly know.

I ended up taking it to a Service King. He said its drive able and that likely something called the transmission linkage got kinked. He said the main danger is the fender flying off and hitting another car. He said the tires likely need realigned. I left it with him and got a rental to be safe, considering I have a 10 month old and don’t want to risk having the fender come off and go under the car with her in it. He said I’ll only owe my deductible, which I thought was $1000, but it is $500 per car (the other is a stick shift and I can’t drive stick, plus my husband isn’t back until Friday anyway).


#15

I think the wreck could have caused the transmission problem. There’s damage across the whole bumper cover, including at least 2 cracks.

Looks to me like the car was sliding sideways while ramming into the wall several times. That might well have instantly stopped and started the wheels, possibly a number of times, which can do unpleasant things to the drivetrain. Either that, or like @VDCdriver said, it could be a mount.

Either way, it should be looked at ASAP.


#16

“I ended up taking it to a Service King. He said its drive able and that likely something called the transmission linkage got kinked. He said the main danger is the fender flying off and hitting another car. He said the tires likely need realigned.”

I believe it’s the bumper that could fly off, right?
Who would say that a car with a body part that could fly off is considered drivable?

I Think It’s Possible The Car Is Now “Shorter” On One Side Than The Other (The Side Where Bumper Rubs Tire). I Wonder If Anybody Even Opened The Hood To Check For Evidence Of This?

It’s possible the shifting problem relates to this. Also, a wheel alignment is not going to fix that if I’m guessing correctly.

I managed a body shop for two years and I’ve seen and estimated a lot of wrecks. I could be off base here because I’m going by written responses. I wish I could at least see the photos.
CSA


#17

His exact words were “the fender could fly off”. He did not open the hood at that time. I slid into the wall, but did not hit it multiple times. There was still no traction under my tires at this time, so hitting the wall only stopped the majority of my momentum and it spun the car back out. I basically ended up looking directly at where I’d come from. I put the car in drive (now that I think about it…I never took it out of drive to begin with, I don’t know how or when it switched to neutral) and drove back home without needing to back up or change direction at all. The seatbelt engaged when I slid into the wall, but I’ve felt more force across the belt slamming on the brakes to avoid an animal than I did for this, it really felt like almost nothing.


#18

“The seatbelt engaged when I slid into the wall, but I’ve felt more force across the belt slamming on the brakes to avoid an animal than I did for this, it really felt like almost nothing.”

That sounds like good news. Behind the plastic front bumper cover (that runs horizontally across front of car) that has all the scratches on it from sliding on the guard rail, is a steel beam (the actual bumper). Since the car is uni-body construction (no separate frame) the bumper is attached to the car body on both sides of the engine.

Front and rear bumpers are designed for front and rear impacts. I have seen a lot of damage to cars when the bumper is pushed sideways, as when something contacts an end of the bumper and pushes it right or left. This can “sway” the front of the car over. When this happens, it’s usually evident when looking at the hood and paying attention to the gap on both edges of the hood (where hood and R & L fenders meet). That’s the first place I’d look. Ordinarily that gap width should be very even or consistent along both edges. If it’s not then the front-end has probably swayed and indicates substantial body damage.

When uni-body cars are involved in a collision the damage can sometimes be hidden in places not apparent when looking at the point(s) of impact.

Let’s hope the impact was light enough to cause basically “cosmetic” damage only.
CSA


#19

CSA, you mean a gap like this? It is where the bumper cover meets the headlight and only on one side, but I didn’t notice any gaps between the hood and the grill.


#20

Where The Right And Left Edges Of The Hood Meet And Run Parallel With The Tops Of The Right And Left Fenders.
CSA