To buy or not a collision damaged car



Need to buy a car for my son who is 18 years old - Honda accord - 2003 - 46000 miles - front damaged severely - fender +hood and looks like chasis is also bend -The garage is going to fix it and sell it for $ 4500/-

Need to know form the more experienced friends here to go for it or not.


Known collision damage is a HUGE red flag. I wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole. Find a car that hasn’t been wrecked.


I wouldn’t, could have problems that you can’t see easily. It’s no bargain. Just get the best used car you can find for the money.


It’s nearly impossible to restore a wrecked vehicle to “like new” condition. The odds are that you will have problems in the future which could far exceed the savings you get from buying a wrecked vehicle.


It’s impossible to say because without seeing the car I couldn’t even venture a guess. Often what is perceived to be major damage is really not all that bad.

A carful inspection of the subframe underneath the front and inspection of the strut towers for any wrinkling or paint cracking would definitely mean avoid it.

My main issue with it, assuming no subframe or strut tower damage, is that it’s overpriced in my opinion for a severely damaged car.


I would pass on this one. Even if outwardly good looking the alignment may still be off permanently, making the steering weird and causing uneven tire wear.

There are lots of good non-collision cars out there!


And to add to the above advice…the car is for your son…buy him a safe reliable car!!!


The sale price is less than 1/2 of the book value of an uncrashed Accord. It will come with a “salvage” title so resale value will never approach the book value.

I had a '67 Mustang that I crashed within the 1st year I got it. The damage sounds similar to what you describe. The car was fixed and I kept it and drove it for 10 years. The paint wasn’t as good as the factory paint but the car held up fine otherwise.

The repair and frame straightening technology of '67 era was crude compared to today’s methods. However the cars were simplier too, no crash crush zones back then. If the car will be repaired you can see how it turns out. If it drives straight and true, the brakes work, and it runs OK it might work out.

If it has an auto transmission keep in mind that Honda auto transmissions are not very robust. They often fail and if that happens in this car you are looking at a repair that might cost more than the car’s value.

If you feel it is a good value (about $5,000 less an uncrashed Accord) and the repair is well done and the car comes out looking and running good might be a good purchase. An 18 year old is likely to gather a few dings and scrapes along the way and this could be a good car for a new driver.


Thanks for your input - I have a feeling - I may be able to get it down to $4000/-
As you suggested - will test drive it and will also show it to a mechanic and then
decide - thanks again


If you wanted to do it anyway, why ask? 7 no, 1 yes…

I don’t think Uncle T made a bad choice, but he knows cars…


This car’s body is it’s main frame. A frame straightening machine is a huge table with measuring capabilities, hydraulc rams, and chains. It basically “unbends” the unibody. However, once metal is stressed it’s never the same. An analogy would be a tin can. If you crush a tin can and then, through the power of hydraulics, uncrush it, it’ll crush much easier the next time.

Metal also has memory, called hysteresis. If you bend metal, it’ll return a bit toward its original form as internal structural stresses relieve themselves. Hystersis also applied to unbending metal. Knowledgable people will know how much to “overbend” such that when the metal relaxes it ends up where they want it, but variences in the physical configuration of the structures make it not a perfect science.

I’d personally avoid a car that had sustained serious crash damage. It might look okay on the rack, might even feel okay, but as time goes on it may develop handling problems and even a cracked windshield (yes, on that car the windshield is a part of the body structure). And it’s a fair bet that if it gets hit again it’ll crumple easier than it originally did…and that it a bad thing.

The money you save in buying this may cost you far, far more should you have an accident.

Your call. You’ve been advised.


I was / am tempted because of the price - but taking into consideration the replies
especially that of texases. the same mountainbike, docknic etc - It is more prudent to
look for a used car and not a collision damaged one for that amount for my son. He is
very young and God forbid if he gets into a serious accident in this car, I won’t be
able to forgive myself - so bye bye this collision car.
If it was for me - I would have taken the advise of Uncle T and might have gone for it.
Thanks again folks - you all rocks - God bless u all.


You are very welcome. Thanks for posting. I think you’re making a very wise decision.

Sincere best.


The biggest question is; Would the insurance company insure it? If so, how much more/less than one that hasn’t been wrecked?
Ask your insurance agent for recommendations for your son, they’re more knowledgeable in these things.