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Bent Frame Rail...What next?

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by kcveins, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. kcveins

    kcveins delivery 2/7

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    I was in an accident 5 weeks ago. I started going thru a green light and was hit in the front by a SUV making a left turn on a red. 3 air bags went off and the car was unable to driven. It was towed to the locally Tesla recommended body shop in Chicago. I found out yesterday that the frame rails were bent and that they had to get new frame rails from Tesla for installation. My question - a friend of mine told me that he thought that the car would not ever be the same and that I should ask the insurance company to 'total the car.' The current estimate for repair is now at 23K (I got my S85 in February). Any words of advice? Will the car ever be the same?
    Thanks
     
  2. GasDoc

    GasDoc Member

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    Sounds like damage similar to my accident.

    Can you upload some pics?
     
  3. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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  4. meloccom

    meloccom Moderator Aus/NZ

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    That was often the case in the bad old days, but car repair technology has moved on somewhat.
    My mothers Mercedes was in a similar accident 3 to 4 years ago where she "T boned" and Audi at an intersection and was quite successfully repaired.
    She still has it and it drives perfectly.
    To put your mind at rest, get your local Auto association to do a post repair assessment or take it in to a suspension specialist for a wheel alignment.
    If there is something wrong either of these should pick it up.
     
  5. kcveins

    kcveins delivery 2/7

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    Thanks - this definitely helps my state of mind!
    I had the car for 4 months; been without it for 5 weeks - looks like another 2 before I get it back..
     
  6. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Just to satisfy my own curiosity...

    1. Did you use Tesla's financing plan?
    2. If yes to 1, ask them if they'll buy it back (before or after repairs) and for how much?
    3. Regardless of the answer to #1, request of Tesla a trade-in appraisal on a loaner vehicle.

    It's additional data points to inform your decision, and is also very interesting to some of us curious folk on the forums.
     
  7. montgom626

    montgom626 Active Member

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    Why would any insurance company honor a request to total a car that can be repaired?
     
  8. pete8314

    pete8314 Vendor

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    Based on my experience with my A5...I was rear-ended, hard, resulting in $20k of damage, mostly to the rear and sub-frame. It was all repaired, and honestly, the repair shop did a great job, you'd never know, except:

    - For me, a car that I've had an accident in is tainted. Cant' explain it, but I always seem to fall out of love real quite with a car after an accident :-/
    - When I was getting trade-in values, CarMax took $5k of their valuation, as they could see 'clamp marks' on the underside of the car. There was nothing wrong with the repair, or structure, but because they saw it was in a fairly serious accident, they dinged me on the valuation.
    - during the weeks and months following the repair, you start to notice trivial little things that were not repairs, just silly things like cracked plastics on a speaker grill, or (in my case) a missing rubber sleeve on the drivers' seat belt. When you get the car back, just be super-thorough about checking over every single detail.

    So may main concern would be future trade-in, regardless of how good the repair is. Sorry to hear about your wreck, it always sucks reading about these things.
     
  9. GasDoc

    GasDoc Member

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    Kcveins, I really feel for you. I had my Model S for 3 months when it got hit and was driving an ICE for 6+ weeks. I missed the Model S so much! Sometimes as I was driving the ICE on a freeway and came to a downslope where I could coast, I would imagine the dashboard of my Model S and see the power consumption turn to green regen in my mind.

    PM me your email address and I'll pass it on to the contact at Tesla that I dealt with. One advantage of being in proximity to the factory is that Tesla's head of body reconstruction was able to consult on my car at Chilton Autobody. We had some discussion about bent frame rails and what they would do to resale value. He mentioned to me that it would impact buy back/trade in value with Tesla but the figure he quoted was surprisingly generous. I don't know if this is formal policy yet so I should let you follow up with him.
     
  10. kcveins

    kcveins delivery 2/7

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    1. No, I used Pen Fed's financing way back when it was at 1.49%
    2. N/A
    3. That's a good idea; I'll wait until I get my car back before I do this

    - - - Updated - - -

    I talked to State Farm - they would not total a car unless the repairs + car rental $ exceeds 51%.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks

    Yeah, this is my other concern. I've been lucky that I've not been in an accident before in which airbags deployed.
    I'm hoping that I don't notice any of the other things once I get the S back.
    I'm planning on keeping the car, however, for the next 10-15 years so I'm not going to torture myself about the resale value...
     
  11. Jason

    Jason Member

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    Do you have an atty. I would suggest talking to one. See what they think about asking for a new one. They would be unbiased, where the insurance companies are only looking for their best interest.

    Even if that does not pan out, be sure to check on diminished value reimbursement. Not sure which states that it applies to.
    Hope it works out for you.
     
  12. montgom626

    montgom626 Active Member

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    You do know that insurance companies are heavily populated by attorneys? And attorneys are only looking out for themselves? And that talking to an attorney is serious $$$? And that insurance was never meant to make us "whole" but to reduce the pain. The day you buy any new car, it loses 20% of it's value. Cars are monetary sinkholes.
     
  13. O2_Quik

    O2_Quik Member

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    I work in the collision repair industry and what I can tell you is that aluminum is not like steel. Most of the high end manufacturers highly recommend that when an aluminum part is damaged, that it is replaced and not repaired. Unlike steel which can be 'pulled' back into shape without much impact to the integrity of the car, you cannot do this with aluminum. Attempting to bend aluminum back will result in further structural degradation. Only work with repair facilities that have been certified to work with aluminum as this requires highly specialize sectioning and aluminum welding equipment.

    If you do a considerable amount of business with your insurance company (multiple cars, homes, cabins, etc), I have seen customers complain and demand that the car be written off as a 'constructive total loss'. If you have a replacement cost rider on your policy (43R in Canada), then you will be able to replace your Tesla with a new one.

    Personally, when a car is damaged such that the frame is impacted, I would opt to get rid of it. Even though it may appear to be fixed well, the chances are higher that such a difficult and complex repair may result in other things being broken or not quite fixed correctly.
     
  14. GasDoc

    GasDoc Member

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    I was actually very happy with the attorney that our friends put us in touch with. He's not going to cost us out of pocket and it appears that we'll be made "whole"
     
  15. GasDoc

    GasDoc Member

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    This was my main concern. The frame rail itself seemed straightforward. But the amount of disassembly and reassembly to all the systems below the frunk (brakes, HVAC, battery and inverter cooling) made me really uncomfortable.
     
  16. PhilBa

    PhilBa Active Member

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    plus, you've got a P85 now!
     
  17. GasDoc

    GasDoc Member

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    The P85 upgrade was out of pocket, made necessary by the fact that it was "in stock" and destined to be a loaner.
     
  18. kcveins

    kcveins delivery 2/7

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    UPDATE:

    Got a call today from a Tesla employee who actually travels across the country to body shops. He said that he was working with my local body shop for the last week while the frame rails were being installed. This is what he does all the time. He said that they have the latest equipment and that my car will be as good as it was when it left the factory (his words, not mine). So, I am hopeful that when I get my car back in a couple of weeks, it will feel like my old (new) car. I am going to have to take a day off just to drive around for 5 or 6 hours!
     
  19. scott2613

    scott2613 Member

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    Auto crash repair as practiced by the level of collision repair facilities selected by Tesla is far removed from the typical body shop. They have to be equipped and trained with the same welders used in the factory, they must use a structural repair bench that duplicates the accuracy and holding power of assembly line equipment, possess the special Tesla fixtures and be experienced in aluminum repair. Tesla field people have been working with and in some cases at shops that have substantially damaged Teslas undergoing repair. A vehicle repaired in this manner will be the same as it was prior to the crash. Someone mentioned diminished value. Their should not be any obvious signs of clamping or pulling. That indicates incorrect equipment and/or technique. The biggest factor in diminished value is the requirement in some states that damage exceeding a certain threshold results in a "branded" title and the policy of some insurers of recording the repair and Carfax gaining access to the data. Additionally, all facilities of this caliber that I'm aware of, warrant their work for as long as the customer owns the vehicle.
    Tesla has developed and is in the process of implementing a rigorous factory training and certification program to insure that we in the collision repair industry are accountable and up to the task. This biggest problem right now is that you might have to travel some distance to find this type of operation.
     
  20. TSLA Pilot

    TSLA Pilot Member

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    I'd suggest that there's a strong likelihood that you can make a claim of Diminished Value against the other party's insurance co.

    Just Google "diminished value" and your state's name; good info here as well.

    There's nothing like a nice fat check to help give you peace of mind....
     

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