Can I repair and drive my car after an accident?

Thursday July 23 2020

 

By Paul Kaganzi

Hello Paul, a few days ago, my Toyota Premio 1999 model had an accident where it rolled four times and was severely damaged. Should I repair the car and drive it or should I sell it? Ojera.

Hello Ojera, the decision to repair a car that has been involved in a rollover accident should be taken after a thorough inspection by a professional car body repair technician.

A hurried decision without consideration of the extent of damage could result in grave injury or death in the event of another accident. This is due to failure of the compromised car structure or components that could not be replaced or fastened securely after the accident.

There are a couple of reasons a car such as your Toyota Premio may not be repairable after a severe rollover accident. These include severe metal stress, complexity of repairs, hidden damage and cutting corners to avoid the high cost of repairing the car.

As a vehicle rolls over, metal extrusion, compression and sometimes fracture occurs. A rollover accident stretches the flexibility of metallic components in a car causing a deformation of the granular structure of the metal.

Evidence of severe metal stress in vehicles that have had rollover accident repair includes doors that will not close properly or panel structures such as bonnets or trunk lids (boot) that will not sit well on their brackets or hinge mounts.

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Others include engine mounts that have to be twisted or stretched to fit the engine, damaged or buckled floor pans or steering racks that pull to one side or over the centre because of distortion of the points where the steering rack is mounted.

Car rollover accident repairs are complex and expensive. They require a certain skill set, specialist equipment such as chassis liners, panel body repair jacks, dollys and mig welding machines to build in precision and fidelity in the repair job. In some cases, you need to replace complete sections or frames. This can be very costly while there is a temptation to cut corners and fit in the budget.

There is high complexity of repairing a unibody car structure such as yours (integrated in the body as opposed to body on chassis like a pick-up truck or the older pre-2000 station wagons).

The failure to restore stress concentrators or the cage like module in unibody cars, which protects car occupants during severe roll over or impact crushes can leave them exposed to severe injury or fatality during another collision or rollover. No wonder the cost of such severe accidents usually exceeds 90 per cent of its value and insurance adjusters or assesors often write off such accident cars as a total loss.

Total loss
The cost of such severe accidents usually exceeds 90 per cent of its value and insurance adjusters or assesors often write off such accident cars as a total loss.

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