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My 18 yr old daughter hit the back of a Sequoia the other day, air bag deployed and fortunately she was not hurt. But the MDX took quite a hit in front (see photos). It is a 2006 model year, meticulously maintained, and mechanically running fantastic. 139,000 miles. Prior to the accident, I felt it was reasonable to expect it to go 200K without major repair.

Brought to the body shop and current estimate is that the cost of repair is more than the value of the car and thus it should be "totaled." Insurance values the truck at $10,662. Salvage value is $1664. Estimate to repair at this point is $11,700. The body shop tells me there are still some unknowns because they feel the car is not torn down to the point that they can determine the full extent of the damage. They are concerned about possible damage to the passenger side frame rail.

I really like my MDX and one option is to "total" the car, buy the car from the insurance company at salvage value and have it repaired. (I know that the car would then have a "salvage title" and I am OK with this). It would take the insurance proceeds plus $3700 to cover the cost of the repair. If the body shop felt they could align the frame rail back to factory specs and fix everything else at the current estimated cost, should I give the go ahead? I have no experience in this situation as outlined above and would welcome any advice from folks who have been there.
 

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Sorry about the accident but glad to hear your daughter is okay.

I know you have an emotional bond with the MDX as we often all do with our cars, but I'm not sure I would fix it. A collision needing the air bag to deploy with possible frame damage is pretty severe.

The MDX has served your family well and most importantly protected your daughter. I wonder if a second accident after repairs occurred would it be as structurally sound.

It's also possible as you say once the body shop looks deeper that the cost of repairs goes higher which may make your decision easier to move on.

Years ago when I was in college, I was driving my family's Maxima when a guy ran a stop sign in my neighborhood, causing me to T bone him. Lots of front end damage but no air bag or frame malalignment. The body shop "fixed" the car but it never drove the same afterwards. In retrospect if it were my car I would have sold it. We did get a lot of use out of it afterwards though.

On the other hand since you are okay with the salvage title you could fix it and drive it until it doesn't work any more, which actually you would need to do as the resale on a salvage title will be very low.

Let us know what you end up doing and good luck!
 

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Sorry to hear about the accident and glad your daughter is okay. I can understand how you feel, as we totaled our beloved Honda CRV on Christmas Day. We were faced with the same issue of repairing it with a salvage title or selling it to the insurance.

After much thought, we sold it to a yard for more than the insurance offered on the salvage value. Our airbags didn't even deploy, so there was little to no frame damage.

I would say, "thank you" to the car and let it go. Also looks like you will have to spend money on TOP of the insurance offering to get this now salvaged titled car back on the road. Salvaged car will only payout half of its value if it were to get in an accident again. Not worth it IMHO. Best of luck - I know its a tough choice.
 

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I agree - I wouldn't pursue getting it fixed. The value of the car will be hugely impacted if/when you try to sell it, and you're opening yourself up to the potential for a lot of future issues (auto body shops aren't always all that good dealing with all the mechanical issues created by an accident that extends into the "working bits"). I'd just be thankful no one was hurt, and look for a similar vehicle to replace your beloved silver X.
 

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I would scrap it and buy a replacement used one that has not sustained such a big (or any) impact. A body shop can do a hell of a job on a car these days but you can never feel 100% sure it can provide the same level of structural integrity as it did pre-accident. I would rather buy a car with more miles and no accidents than a previously wrecked one. You can always fix mechanical faults whereas structure is tough to fully restore.
 

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I just fixed one for my daughter that was hit the same but a little more towards center. Air bags didn't deploy so that made it more worth fixing. I do it for a living and can absorb that cost. And a good tech can get it structurally sound again. Or we wouldn't have jobs. Biggest cost in your case is the air bags and what they destroyed. Usually take out the dash and sometimes steering column.
 

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My Mdx had been in an accident when my mom, previous owner, was in a four car pile up on the highway. No airbag deployment but since she was not found at fault, it was worth fixing, only thing involved was new front and rear bumpers and a new hatch, it was rear ended by a pickup but was launched into the back of a small car, which didnt fair so well, causing no engine damage, the car had alot less years on it so it entirely up to whether insurance will help or not.
 

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frame is propbably trivial to fix for a competent shop

Body seems to have very little damage, the front fenders don't even seem to be tweaked. Needs a front bumper and bumper cover, a radiator and evaporator, maybe some headlights & a hood, all of which you can buy used or jobber

I'm not sure how it works to replace airbags though, but if the price makes sense I'd buy back the truck & fix it. It'll be a great car for your daughter to keep learning on. Who cares about resale value, she'll drive the thing for another few years then it'll basically be worth zero. At least she'll have something safe & which you know was well-maintined so it'll be reliable
 

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My vote would be to retire it and get another one. There's an awful lot of "intrusion" into the working bits for my liking... I'd never be confident that they'd be able to put it back together 100%.
 

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I would absolutely, definitely work through insurance to declare this a write-off and try to negotiate an even better claims amount than initially estimated. You can submit maintenance records and other 'for sale' listings that you find if it will help your view point for what you're negotiating.
 

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I know this is a month old post. But we went through a similar situation with our 06 TL which we loved. Wife was hit from behind. Similar prices. Body shop was really working hard to get the car fixed right. But the more they tore into it, of course getting approval from insurance the more the found more damage. The final nail was a suspension part that was literally torn. 3k to replace. Totaled. We took the money and are buying a new Honda. Plus we had lots of friends say even if suspension damage is fixed it is never the same. Can be issues down the road that won't crop up for some time. Even if it's covered by warranty the hassle of going back having the body shop work on it,etc,etc isn't worth it.
 
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