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Is a bent frame rail fixable?

jys23jys23 Member Posts: 1
edited April 2014 in Dodge
My wife got in an accident. The other driver hit our 97 Grand Caravan will it was sitting still. The insurance company & repair shop say the driver's side frame rail is bent. I do not know how far it is bent. Since this vehicle has unibody construction, does anyone know if this bent frame rail is repair able? How will it impact the resale value of the vehicle? Any help/insight would be greatly appreciated.


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yes, it is fixable and yes, it will impact resale value because any buyer will pick another van without prior frame damage over yours unless yours is cheaper. This is called diminution of value. Since it is another insurance company that is responsible and not your own (in the sense that you didn't sign a contract with this other company), you can sue for diminution of value if you can prove same. You cannot sue your own company for diminution because you gave that right away when you signed your insurance policy (didn't know that I bet!).

    But really, a good shop with modern equipment can make the van "good as new". The trick is convincing the next buyer of that. I suppose you could have them talk to your bodyman and get some assurance from him/her.
  • mssarah1mssarah1 Member Posts: 2
    I have a compact 4-door car with unibody frame construction. I was rear ended at a high rate of speed causing significant damage. A portion of the frame in the rear of the car is visibly bent (among other damage). And both the passenger side doors do not open properly. The body shop is telling me that the door problem is due to "tension" from the portion of frame that is bent in the rear of the car, and that once that rear portion is fixed the doors will go back to normal. Is that correct?

    As a side note, the driver who caused my accident is uninsured, so my insurance is footing the bill minus my collision deductible. And my insurance is not sending their own adjustor; they authorized the dealership to do their own assessment and estimate and then just go ahead and do the repairs. Is it just my paranoia, or does something about that sound fishy? Anything I should watch out for?

    Also, is there anywhere you can get crash test data for rear impacts? I have searched through numerous sites that contain crash test data, but they only show frontal and side impact crashes. Does anyone even do rear impact crash tests? Should this information be available from the manufacturer?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You can have the car fixed at the place of your choice I believe, and you can also specify, to some reasonable extent, how it is fixed. (new parts only, and OEM parts only rather than imitation fenders from Indonesia) The dealer may not do the work anyway (some do, some farm it out, it depends).

    Sounds like you need to take more charge of this situation and read up on your rights. Also, you don't have to accept the car if you don't like the way it's fixed.

    If I were you I'd read over my insurance policy carefully and also get a recommendation for a quality body shop. Maybe the dealer's shop really stinks, how do you know?

    Last of all, a really competent shop can do wonders to a crashed car, yes, but it's really up to you ultimately to make sure all the doors work, tha the paint looks good, that nothing is sloppy, that the car steers right, doesn't rattle, etc. Once you take the car back, and complain a month later, you are in a tough spot that will require an attorney.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    Get it fixed then sell it and buy another one like it. The door problem should go away once the car gets stretched back out. Look down the side to check for buckles and dips, this indicates metal distortion/damage. Hope it all works out.

    P.S. If you live in a "No-Fault" state you can sue the person that hit you for up to $500 to recover your collision deductible.
This discussion has been closed.