Friday, March 30, 2012

To Fix or Not To Fix - That Is The Question. When to Repair A Severely Damaged Vehicle

Accidents happen.  And, they are never pretty.  Most of the time, they look much worse than they really are.  However, there are those times when you have to take into consideration the cost of the repairs versus the value of the vehicle and determine just when too much is too much!

If you are going through your insurance company, you won't have to make that decision.  The insurance company will do it for you.  When the cost of repairing the vehicle is more that they determine the value of the vehicle to be, the car is considered to be a "total loss".  The insurance company will write you a check for the value of the vehicle and send you on your merry way. 

When an insurance company is not involved, however, and you get a great deal on a car that you can fix up and make useful, you simply need to find an expert body man that will take on the job.  

Now, there are times when even WE can't believe what we can do! This 1999 Acura TL's owner came to us after being told by numerous body shops that this car could not be repaired! Now, one thing Larry can't stand is the word "CAN'T". Tell him he "can't" do something, and well, he's on a mission.....

There is definitely "frame" damage to the A and B pillars

The car had been hit "hard" in the driver's door and the "a-pillar" and "b-pillar" had been severely twisted and pushed in.

Now, for every action, there is an "equal and opposite re-action" and straightening a bent vehicle frame is a perfect example of that rule!  It simply requires that the metal come back by undoing the damage the way it happened! A trained eye can see exactly the manner in which the damage was incurred and by undoing each part of the damage, piece by piece, the metal can be straightened. It is a difficult task since there is no margin for error as metal can only be twisted and bent so many times before it either breaks or becomes "work hardened" and impossible to straighten.

Photo of the push ram as the A pillar is pushed out.
Here are photos of the work as it progressed. I want to reiterate the fact that we do not recommend attempting to repair extreme damage, like this, without consulting an expert body technician. The frame of this vehicle was carefully measured and welded and the structural quality of the repairs were carefully taken into consideration while the repairs were in progress. The structural strength of the repair work was tested to ensure the safety and integrity of the vehicle before it was re-assembled.
The door and fender of the vehicle was, of course, replaced with OEM parts from another vehicle. Support members were also replaced.

It just goes to show you, that, almost any damage can be repaired! Finding the right technician to do the work is key to the success of the repair. Once again, Larry and our crew managed to work their "magic"! But, years of expertise went into fixing this vehicle.

The door was carefully hung and aligned.
Body work is fascinating. It is "precision engineering" at it's best. It takes experience, time, and patience to get the job done right and Larry and his staff are incredible when it comes to repairing these vehicles.
Notice the body lines and door alignment in this "after" shot.

The result of careful straightening of the frame allowed for flawless alignment of the door and fender. A test drive showed no air leakage in the cabin area or window seals. This is the kind of work we're proud of here at LDJ. Check back soon for the "finished" project when this car returns for painting!

Another great job by Larry and the boys!

Here at LDJ Auto Body, we like "happy endings". These are just a few of our success stories. There are hundreds more. Check back often as, like I said, we like to brag a little every now and then......

Drive safely!
The Team at LDJ Auto Body and Mechanical

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Thanks for reading and we look forward to hearing from you! -Larry and Dee Blackman, LDJ Auto Body, Gibsonton, FL.