Collision Repair: How Much Damage Is Too Much?

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Collision Repair: How Much Damage Is Too Much?

From minor bumps to high-speed crashes, most car accidents result in damages that require the expertise of an auto body repair shop. Collision repair isn’t always simple. Even minor accidents can cause auto body damage that is expensive and timely to repair. The type of impact and the style of the damaged car both play a role in determining how much damage has occurred.

Determining a Total Loss

Many drivers think that there’s no hope if their insurance company says that their car is ‘totaled.’ A car that is totaled is not necessarily unrepairable though. The extent of the damage has very little to do with whether or not an insurance company declares a total loss. Instead, the decision is based on the costof the collision repair in comparison to the fair market value of the car. If repairing the auto body damage will cost more than the car is worth, it is said to be totaled.

Structural Damage

Correcting damage to a vehicle’s frame is one of the most expensive types of collision repair, but undoing structural damage is not impossible. A knowledgeable auto body repair shop will generally inspect a wrecked vehicle for misalignment before anything else. If the car doesn’t meet the exact measurements of the manufacturer, advanced machines are used to pull the frame back to its original specifications.

Rear End Collisions

Depending on the speed, a car that is rear ended can suffer quite a bit of damage. Structural damage is not uncommon after a powerful rear collision. The amount of damage will also depend on the car. In a recent IIHS study, a low-speed rear end collision in a compact car with a poorly designed bumper can result in more than $3,500 in auto body damage. On the other hand, a car with dent-resistant plastic body panels can often be repaired for less than $200.

Frontal Impacts

Front-end collision repair is often more extensive than rear end damage. At higher speeds, a head-on collision can cause damage to the front bumper, the hood, the windshield, and the quarter panels. If the damage is minor, the auto body technician may choose to repair the panels rather than replace them. Unless the parts are pre-painted, the body shop will also have to match the paint color and re-spray each panel before reassembling the car.

Rollovers

A car that rolls over generally has much more auto body damage than a vehicle involved in a frontal or rear end crash. Damage to the frame is usually inevitable in a rollover. There is a possibility that every piece of the car has suffered at least minor body damage. The decision to repair a vehicle that has rolled over should be made carefully. Extensive damage like this could require additional mechanical work, as well.

Whether auto body damage appears to be major or minor, an experienced collision repair specialist should examine the car for unseen damage. Accidents can cause cosmetic damage that is fairly easy to repair, as well as frame damage or mechanical troubles that are much more costly to fix. Almost any type of collision damage can be repaired, but sometimes it is more cost efficient to scrap the vehicle.

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