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What is the main problem here?

  • Frame Damage?

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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi guys I need some help here!
We bought a 2016 MDX brand new off the lot in AUgust of 2016. White / Black.
It had 11k miles on it when we were rear ended by a 2017 Camry (which was a rental) and I swear she was going 35-40 mph (based on some of the other pics here I have seen of cars being hit at 50+mph, my car was damaged pretty similarly). Another guy ended up hitting her from the back, which caused even more damage to my car.

IN total there were 4 cars in this accident.
Front car - Jeep Patriot (barely got a scratch on his bumper, as I tapped his car after the impacts of the cars behind me)
Second Car - me
Third Car- The girl going 30-50 mph in the Camry that rear ended me (totaled)
Fourth Car- Chevy Malibu with a uninsured motorist with expired drivers license.

Police report deemed the 4th guy at fault. So this is a uninsured motorist claim with my insurance carrier (Geico). I have coverage for this.


November 3, 2017- Accident Occurred, took to a local highly reputed Austin shop on Nov 5
Nov 5- December 6, 2017 - Shop "worked" on my car. "NO FRAME DAMAGE" "The whole impact was on a aluminimum impact bar"
Nov 22- Fought with the body shop to perform a laser (MATRIX) frame inspection, they claim their 15+ year veteran tech says its not necessary.
Dec 6- Fought with them on Dec 6 @ pickup that the car will need an alignment at a minimum. They did it in house, collected from Geico for this.

Dec 6- Car alignment is out of whack on alignment, and I dont know if the shop screwed it up more than factory. There is a small 'clank' noise every-time I start driving the car @ 5mph. Sounds like as suspension issue.

Dec 11- Took the car to local Acura dealership WHO KNOWS about the accident - they are the ones who recommended the body shop to me. I think they are in bed with the body shop above they recommended to me - they perform a courtesy alignment and confirm the car was out of spec from the alignment done in the body shop.

Dec 11+ - CAR IS STILL DRIFTING RIGHT. no matter what I do.

Dec 20- Drop car off at a DIFFERENT Acura dealership, who has NO CLUE about the accident. I work with the master technician there. He does ALl sorts of tests, tests tires with a tire force check, alignments, rotates, checks all the struts, control arms, etc. He replaces a control arm (Driver side Front). Again I never mention any thing about the accident. He tried his best for 3 days. He comes back and says, everything is in spec on the alignment, but the car is still pulling to the right. Just so I confirmed i was not crazy, I had their loaner 2017 MDX while my car was in their shop for 3 days. The 17 had No drift issues, I did have to put the wheel in line every so often, but no pain from pulling the wheel left or right for an extended period of time with my thumb. Nor was the wheel so stiff over a long drive, hence causing the pain in holding onto the wheel.

Basically the problem is that I have to fight with the wheel (ever so slightly) to keep the car going straight, no matter what the road is. I dont normally mind a slight rotation in the steering wheel, but this one feels like i am fighting to keep it going straight.
I took a 3 hour drive today and my thumb is hurting from holding the wheel. I am VERY worried there is something else going on here (like the rear impact was so hard on the left side that it knocked the frame out and the car will NEVER drive 100% straight like it used to).
I want to get this FIXED correctly (replacing the struts, etc. as needed)
I DO NOT WANT to take this back to the body shop. THEY HAVE NO CLUE WHAT THEY ARE DOING. I want Acura to fix this and so far they have been doing so but need some gentle guidance without me telling them I was in an accident.

PLease help! Any ideas on how I can get this fixed??? What to do next?

NOTE: THE PICS make the accident look like a simple "FENDER BENDER" but look at the pics from the actual accident. the acura did stand up to this pretty well. Pics attached mid- finishing up at the body shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #2

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If the car is in spec suspension wise there are only a couple of things that can cause drifting.

1.- Tires
2.- Brakes
3.- Drivetrain

All of these will not be checked on a regular Suspension Aligment tune up as they cannot be "Tested".

You can start with the tires since its cheap/free: Rotate the tires and see if the drift changes direction.

For brakes you will need a IR Thermometer to see if any of the brakes isnt dragging.

For drivetrain? Very hard to test for.
 

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Did you use a body shop that is part of Geico's "Auto Repair Xpress" program? If so, you have a lifetime warranty on the repairs. If not, contact the body shop to determine what their warranty is. If the shop is not giving you satisfaction, then contact Geico and advise them that the vehicle was not repaired to pre-collision condition and that you need an addendum.

I would strongly suggest that you not try to mislead Acura or any other shop. You need to tell them that you were in an accident. This is relevant information and is likely critical to evaluating your issue. Any number of things could be bent in the suspension or chassis -- it really doesn't take much to cause the vehicle to pull.

If the chassis is tweaked, or any suspension parts are bent you will not get a successful alignment without replacing the parts, or fixing the chassis (chassis repair is a controversial topic... some people -- including myself -- think that they can be improved, but never fully restored).

https://www.geico.com/claims/autorepair/auto-repair-promise/
 

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I was going to say what skirmich and p07... both gave the comments I was going to make.

- Make sure you give the Acura techs all the info you have. Knowing it was in an accident could cause them to check areas they normally wouldn't for an alignment/drifting problem. The overall goal is to fix the problem and they need as much background info as possible.

- There's a very good chance it's 'not' a bent frame issue but if it is, they s/b able to check for it.

- All of the steering and suspension components need to be checked to make sure one of them didn't get damaged. This is where the tech needs to be clued in that this occurred due to an accident so they check them closely - since these are items that normally don't need to be checked.

- Do you know if the wheels were removed for the damage repair? If so they may have gone back on in a different order which can cause the 'drift' feel. Regardless, do a tire rotation and see if the feel changes. Make sure all tires are inflated to the factory spec (35 psi cold). If the pressure is ff significantly between tires it can cause the drift feel.

- While the tires are being rotated the brakes and steering/suspension components at each corner s/b checked closely for any damage such as a crimped brake hose, hanging up caliper, etc. You can also drive for a bit and then see if the brake rotor/caliper at any of the corners are much hotter than the rest, indicating a problem.

Good luck with it. Let us know if they find anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If the car is in spec suspension wise there are only a couple of things that can cause drifting.

1.- Tires
2.- Brakes
3.- Drivetrain

All of these will not be checked on a regular Suspension Aligment tune up as they cannot be "Tested".

You can start with the tires since its cheap/free: Rotate the tires and see if the drift changes direction.

For brakes you will need a IR Thermometer to see if any of the brakes isnt dragging.

For drivetrain? Very hard to test for.
Updates:

1) ROTATION- We have done a rotation and retested - car still drifts to the right. The technician even did a cross rotation. No change.

2) BRAKES- We have not tested this.

3) Drivetrain- IM SCARED! how the heck do you check for this and what is the likelihood of this?

4) Geico Auto Repair Xpress- I took the car to a very highly reputed shop in Austin, BUT THEY ARE NOT part of geico Auto Repair XPRESS? To make things worst, I am moving back to CA in 5 months from TX! The shop I did go to provides their own lifetime warranty, but again, I dont trust them.

5) If I contact Geico for an addendum- do I have to take it back to the shop for an addendum (or supplement as they call it)? Or can i Take it to a Acura Dealership? Or can i take it to another shop?

6) Acura Dealership Misleading- The minute I tell Acura the car has been in an accident- wont they just tell me they are NO LONGER WORKING ON THIS CAR? It is out of warranty since they cannot attribute the damage to a manuf. defect vs a accident?
I would rather have Acura work on it, but I am 100% sure if I tell them I had an accident, they wont waste their time anymore on the car. THoughts?

7) The wheels were not removed for the damage repair- they were only rotated recently at the acura dealership to test.

8) "But the "pics from accident" are scarier from a mechanical perspective, IMO. It looks like the Camry partially dove under the back of your MDX." CRAP. If they drove under the car (which they kind of did) can you share some potential implications?


I really appreciate all of your help on this guys.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That last pic is scary. It almost looks like a Lexus! :eek:

But the "pics from accident" are scarier from a mechanical perspective, IMO. It looks like the Camry partially dove under the back of your MDX.
Ouch What are the implications for this? if a car drives under ours?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I was going to say what skirmich and p07... both gave the comments I was going to make.

- Make sure you give the Acura techs all the info you have. Knowing it was in an accident could cause them to check areas they normally wouldn't for an alignment/drifting problem. The overall goal is to fix the problem and they need as much background info as possible.

- There's a very good chance it's 'not' a bent frame issue but if it is, they s/b able to check for it.

- All of the steering and suspension components need to be checked to make sure one of them didn't get damaged. This is where the tech needs to be clued in that this occurred due to an accident so they check them closely - since these are items that normally don't need to be checked.

- Do you know if the wheels were removed for the damage repair? If so they may have gone back on in a different order which can cause the 'drift' feel. Regardless, do a tire rotation and see if the feel changes. Make sure all tires are inflated to the factory spec (35 psi cold). If the pressure is ff significantly between tires it can cause the drift feel.

- While the tires are being rotated the brakes and steering/suspension components at each corner s/b checked closely for any damage such as a crimped brake hose, hanging up caliper, etc. You can also drive for a bit and then see if the brake rotor/caliper at any of the corners are much hotter than the rest, indicating a problem.

Good luck with it. Let us know if they find anything.
5) If I contact Geico for an addendum- do I have to take it back to the shop for an addendum (or supplement as they call it)? Or can i Take it to a Acura Dealership? Or can i take it to another shop?

6) Acura Dealership Misleading- The minute I tell Acura the car has been in an accident- wont they just tell me they are NO LONGER WORKING ON THIS CAR? It is out of warranty since they cannot attribute the damage to a manuf. defect vs a accident?
I would rather have Acura work on it, but I am 100% sure if I tell them I had an accident, they wont waste their time anymore on the car. THoughts?
 

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5) If I contact Geico for an addendum- do I have to take it back to the shop for an addendum (or supplement as they call it)? Or can i Take it to a Acura Dealership? Or can i take it to another shop?

6) Acura Dealership Misleading- The minute I tell Acura the car has been in an accident- wont they just tell me they are NO LONGER WORKING ON THIS CAR? It is out of warranty since they cannot attribute the damage to a manuf. defect vs a accident?
I would rather have Acura work on it, but I am 100% sure if I tell them I had an accident, they wont waste their time anymore on the car. THoughts?
Talk to your Geico adjuster and explain that you don’t trust the shop. I’m not sure what Geico policy is — they may ask you to let the shop look at it again... but if they’re still unable to fix it then push for another shop.

As for Acura, they shouldn’t refuse to work on the vehicle. They will probably explain that the warranty doesn’t cover damage due to collision and IF they find the cause is a result of collision then your Acura warranty doesn’t cover it and you’ll have to pay for repairs — keep your Geico adjuster in the loop. The addendum/supplement is so you can get the additional work covered. But I suggest keeping Acura and Geico informed throughout the process so they can coordinate and ensure timely payment.
 

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Ouch What are the implications for this? if a car drives under ours?
Lots of tender parts under there, including rear subframe/suspension, rear differential and drive shafts, the list goes on. That area is not designed to resist impact. But I'm not a pro. It needs a careful inspection by qualified techs who know the full history of the vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That last pic is scary. It almost looks like a Lexus! :eek:

But the "pics from accident" are scarier from a mechanical perspective, IMO. It looks like the Camry partially dove under the back of your MDX.
So the body shop that fixed my car performed a 'visual' frame inspection, not a full frame measurement to make sure it isnt warped. They claimed their technician said it is not necessary to use a their "MATRIX" system to measure the frame because Geico wouldn't pay for it.
I am bringing this up because the Acura technician (at Acura dealership) inspected the car and could not find what the mechanical reason was for the car pulling.

Could the car pull be due to a warped frame somewhere?
 

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The car got hit pretty hard right, and before the incident it didn't pull or drive oldly, so it's reasonable to think something changed in the alignment (front or rear). How a tech could eyeball any deflection in the unibody or subframe assemblies is laughable. Insurance companies are expert at hoarding cash, so you need to get on the phone and confidently demand that they pay for additional inspection. Perhaps start with a good 4 wheel alignment to see if it can be corrected. If they resist, a letter from a lawyer (even just on lawyer letterhead) is remarkably effective at opening the check book.

Oh and you also need to investigate a diminished value claim...your car is now worth less than it was and you should be compensated for that.
 

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So the body shop that fixed my car performed a 'visual' frame inspection, not a full frame measurement to make sure it isnt warped. They claimed their technician said it is not necessary to use a their "MATRIX" system to measure the frame because Geico wouldn't pay for it.
I am bringing this up because the Acura technician (at Acura dealership) inspected the car and could not find what the mechanical reason was for the car pulling.

Could the car pull be due to a warped frame somewhere?
As carli123 mentioned, there is NO way to visually confirm that a chassis is straight. A laser-measurement is the standard way to make that determination.

A mildly-tweaked chassis will cause symptoms similar to a bad alignment.

Whether you repair it or not is up to you. Personally, I'd trade/sell a vehicle that was damaged in that way.
 

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The only thing a visual can do is to see any visual evidence of damage - they can't actually 'check the alignment' or 'check the frame' that way. There are ways to check but it certainly can't be done by just eyeballing it short of seeing a physically twisted or hit frame or component.

The alignment is a sensitive thing - it doesn't take very much of a mis-alignment to be noticeable when driving the vehicle. The only way to really determine it is to use alignment tools to perform the appropriate measurements and this is more than a typical 'front end alignment'. Although there's a good chance the frame itself isn't damaged, various suspension components connected to the frame and the axle, wheels, etc. could have been 'tweaked' in the accident where it's impossible to see any direct physical damage but it got shifted somewhat.

The insurance company 'should' actually want to ensure the alignment is correct on the vehicle since it translates to safety which translates to them potentially saving money by reducing the likelihood of an accident or greater damage due to an accident related to the alignment.

Regardless, as mentioned above, the vehicle worked fine before but has this issue due to the accident so it's not completely fixed yet and needs t be fixed.
 

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As carli123 mentioned, there is NO way to visually confirm that a chassis is straight. A laser-measurement is the standard way to make that determination.

A mildly-tweaked chassis will cause symptoms similar to a bad alignment.

Whether you repair it or not is up to you. Personally, I'd trade/sell a vehicle that was damaged in that way.
I second that comment...thankfully the MDX holds its value relatively well and you shouldn't be out too much. Are you "hurt?"
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I second that comment...thankfully the MDX holds its value relatively well and you shouldn't be out too much. Are you "hurt?"
The MDX dosent hold its value based on what Geico reported to CARFAX. My car was previously valued at 37k (using dealer system) and now its valued at 30k with the accident.

My diminutive value claim will prob max out at 4-5k (I have spoken to 4 estimators and 3 lawyers on this. Geico is just cheap.

I am hurt, have been going thru medical for past 2 months. My pregnant wife and 3 year old were in thee car with me and going thru medical as well.
We have a PI attorney.

At this point I have 3 attorneys involved (One for personal property in the car that Geico is cheaping out on, one for diminutive value, and one for Personal Injury)

any thoughts?
 

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The MDX dosent hold its value based on what Geico reported to CARFAX. My car was previously valued at 37k (using dealer system) and now its valued at 30k with the accident.
When someone says the "MDX holds its value relatively well" they're referring to a good MDX vs. the competition. An accident affects all cars. If you want to really cry, check out the Chrysler 200 or Dodge Journey. FCA must have discovered worm holes to get vehicles to depreciate that fast. Seriously Einstein would have whiplash if he was still around.

any thoughts?
Your situation sucks, for sure. Best of luck.
 
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Discussion Starter #20
The only thing a visual can do is to see any visual evidence of damage - they can't actually 'check the alignment' or 'check the frame' that way. There are ways to check but it certainly can't be done by just eyeballing it short of seeing a physically twisted or hit frame or component.

The alignment is a sensitive thing - it doesn't take very much of a mis-alignment to be noticeable when driving the vehicle. The only way to really determine it is to use alignment tools to perform the appropriate measurements and this is more than a typical 'front end alignment'. Although there's a good chance the frame itself isn't damaged, various suspension components connected to the frame and the axle, wheels, etc. could have been 'tweaked' in the accident where it's impossible to see any direct physical damage but it got shifted somewhat.

The insurance company 'should' actually want to ensure the alignment is correct on the vehicle since it translates to safety which translates to them potentially saving money by reducing the likelihood of an accident or greater damage due to an accident related to the alignment.

Regardless, as mentioned above, the vehicle worked fine before but has this issue due to the accident so it's not completely fixed yet and needs t be fixed.
Hello so they used Car-O-Liner to measure portions of the frame, but it dosent look like they did a full frame measurement? Nor did they measure everything, just seems to be one side of the underbody? Am I reading this incorrectly? Can someone help me read the car-o-liner frame measurement results? Note the 2 files are different.

Why didnt they check underhood, and suspension with this?
DId they check side structure?

Please help me understand these 2 documents
 

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