Steering issue after vehicle impact

My 2007 335i was recently struct by a driver while parked in the motorist’s driveway. I did not witness the impact, and it was dark and cold when it occurred. Immediately after the impact the car had terrible steering issues. warning lights came on in the dash and the steering wheel was cocked off to the left. the manual indicated that the car should be driven slowly and brought in for service immediately. The cosmetic work was done by a body shop and it is being covered by the motorist’s insurance company. My car however still drivers horribly. Unfortunately even though the impact did damage to the fender on both sides of the tire, the tire shows no scuffs or damage. So the insurance company is denying that the motorist could have damaged the steering. I’m having a hard time finding information to dispute this. Is it possible to hit a front tire and do damage to the rack without leaving a scuff or mark? I’m looking for any kind of info or study…thanks.


Possibilities . . .

Bent steering knuckle
Bent tie rod
Damaged steering rack
Bent rim

You need to get your own insurance company involved. Your car was fine before that guy hit your car. That’s all they need to know. The other guy’s insurance company wants to be a cheapskate. Once you notify your insurance company, they will deal with the other guy’s loser insurance. That’s what you pay them for.

@db4690 is right. Insurance companies will always try to weasel out of paying any part of a claim by any means necessary.

A cocked steering wheel after an incident means something is bent no matter what the insurance company adjuster says. An adjuster’s main job is to get his client, the insurance company, off the hook as cheaply and as quickly as possible and most adjusters do not know the difference between a steering rack and a water pump…

That’s the thing with cosmetic repairs; most of the guys doing them may not be very proficient with the mechanical end of things in regards to the suspension.

Have the car repaired, have the shop clearly document exactly what they found and take photos as appropriate. Submit to his insurance through your insurance company the bill as an amendment to the claim. If they refuse coverage, your only option will be small claims court, so document everything.

Thanks for the input, everyone. My mechanic was unable to find any obvious damage, the only thing he isn’t sure about is the rack. So now it is going down to the BMW dealer. in the mean time I’ve been driving a rental for a month. The weird thing is the driver told his insurance company that he hit my tire.

A lot of impact damage to struts, control arms, or whatever may not be seen with a simple visual. It may require a few measurements with a tape measure at the least or putting the car on an alignment rack or frame machine at worst.

A 1 or 2 degree tweak in anything will not be seen but can make a huge difference in the alignment and which then cants the steering wheel.


Even though he “merely” hit your tire, that considerable force transferred to other components, which are now damaged

That is my point the insurance company is saying there is no contact to the tire because there is no scuff marks on the tire, even though the kid said he hit the tire.

If he T-boned it, there might not be any scuff marks.

On a test drive years ago, a guy t-boned the car I was driving

It initially looked fine, but the steering knuckle was bent

@ok4450 and @db4690 have the right numbers and are absolutely correct. Struts are notorious for being easily bent, and will cause this sort of issue. The RACK would be my last guess. If you look at a BMW tie rod, you will see that it is designed with a bend in it so that the tie rod will bend more in THAT area and not impart damage to the rack.