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Should I fix it and keep it?

  • Yes

    Votes: 3 9.4%
  • No

    Votes: 29 90.6%
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,

The unthinkable has happened. Two weeks ago I got rear ended by a distracted driver pretty bad. The damage to the Ridge is significant.

I am seeking expert advice from folks who are experts in the field. Past and present engineers, auto body pros etc. I would greatly appreciate you not leaving personal opinions on the thread if you're not an expert or experienced to keep this thread professional.

I bought my truck brand new off the dealer lot back in 2008. Best vehicle I've ever owned and the most appreciated one. I've been meticulous with service intervals and kept the truck in exceptional condition. Aside from the airbag recall and paint issue I experienced the truck has been nothing but reliable. And yes, I am very sentimental about it, was planning on keeping it until it died from old age.

I'd like to get advice on whether or not I should buy the car back from the insurance company and repair it or whether it will be a smarter and safer move to buy a replacement.

The truck sustained a strong rear collision to the rear driver side. The entire rear panel is bent badly, the tailgate will not close and the underbed storage is cracked. The passenger side rear wheel in bent as I was parked next to the curb when I was hit. The force if the impact pushed the truck nearly a full truck length forward and into a 45 degree angle.

Would the experts recommend fixing it or letting it go? I can buy it back from the insurance company for $3000 and the repairs were estimated at $9,000-$11,000. Financially it doesn't make sense as it will have a salvage title and all. But if I were to do most of the work myself and source used replacement parts, do you think it can get close to the reliable and safe condition it was prior to the accident? The truck has 80K on the clock.

Thanks in advance to all that can contribute to a meaningful expert advice.


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I haven’t read all the above, but I know plenty of people that would put that truck to work as it is right now. Maybe put a replacement bumper cover on it and call it a day. The problem will be getting it registered after it’s “salvage”. The process of getting a title rebuilt in some states can be daunting.

Is there any way if keeping the title from going salvage?

I once had a stated value ($5000) car get hit while parked and the initial estimate of damages was $4300, > 75% (the percentage for my state) and the car was going to be totaled. I got a shop to give me an estimate of $3700 (under the $3750 75%) and took the $3700 check from the insurance company and kept the title clean despite never even fixing the damage.
 

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I'm no engineer but I have done body and frame work on vehicles over the years. If it was just the tailgate and bumper I'd keep it. However with the shell bent that badly around the rear drivers side door you may get it to a point cosmetically normal but it will never be as before the accident. Not worth the $$ to attempt. Part it out or let the insurance company buy it from you, then go get another one.
 

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After reading your post:

Repair estimate #1 is $9000+, and that totals the truck.

What’s the value of the truck before the damage? KBB says an RTL with 80,000 private party is over $12,000. So there might be hope if you want to save it. You need to decide whether you want the numbers to work out to save the truck, or whether you want to just take a check.

Personally, I think buying a truck back with a salvage title doesn’t make sense.

In either case, I think it helps you to argue that the truck was perfect. Do not just take the insurance company’s first offer. If the truck is drivable, it doesn’t hurt to try driving it to another body shop.
 

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Outside of the financial reasons, I'd be concerned about any safety implications the vehicle now faces due to the crash. No amount of affinity is worth your own personal safety, the safety of your passengers or other drivers. Time to let it go, have you seen the refreshed 2021s?
 

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I'm not a professional body man or an engineer but I have purchased and dealt with salvage title repairs. That is a lot of damage to repair. Specifically the RLs have that long integrated rear panel. It would probably be easier to find one with a blown motor or transmission and swap the engine and trans into one with a straight body.....not making any recommendations, but that would be some tough/expensive body work.
 

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I am currently redoing my 2006 rear Wheels [half-shaft axles / coils / struts / anti-sway bar links, was to be the wheel bearings too but will wait because I have no garage] and because of RUST have faced many difficulties with loose hidden welded Nuts breaking loose. The lower arms are not bad to work on, Found out that two of three hidden welded nuts for the coil-spring McPherson strut are accessible if the wheel well liner is removed. I bought a Ridgeline that 'Carfax' says had come from NY, from the amount of frame rust up to a level line, I suspect that it was in the Sandy storm surge on the drivers side plus bodywork rear quarter wheel area hidden by a complete body paint job.

Since Honda seems to use a front & rear sub frame bolted to light weight metal square channels with many baffles, uni-body like (not a true truck, thick metal frame), you should look underneath your Ridgeline. The suspension parts can be replaced, sheet metal can be reformed or replaced. But if that rear channel is bent {Trailer hitch Left attachment areas}, then the work would require some frame straightening besides the bodywork. Since you are asking these questions, I'll assume frame repair is new to you. That kind of work may be beyond the ability of most shadetree mechanics.
 

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Given your skepticism and looking at the structural damage, I would move on from this. Buy the truck back with the intention to keep spare parts and/or part out.
 

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Upgrade to new model not worth the effort. Say thanks to the truck for its years of service the time has come. Coincidentally a brand new ridgeline came out with a revamped front must be a sign from the ridgeline heavens
 

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$3000 seems like a high buy back number. I don't think it would go for that much at auction. Maybe $1500 but not more than $2000. If you do decide to buy it back to fix it or part it out, you might be able to negotiate that buy back number.
 

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That was a good looking truck. Sorry you have to go through this.

Questions that might have a bearing... What trim level is it (I can't see the shark fin radio antenna in the photos)? And aren't those wheels from the 2009+ update?
 

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As someone who would also want to rebuild their original Ridge, I understand your pain. I think it will be less work for you to find a Ridgey with high mileage and set about swapping everything over. If you can take on a repair like the body repair you are talking about here, you can certainly do a re-shell job. Good luck! Sorry for your loss.:cautious:
 

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Personal experience. Just about 2 years ago mine was t-boned on that side (by a 100 percent at fault driver) and I had over 200,000 miles at the time. After the insurance companies looked at it and finally decided to repair it after my input. That large "sail" on the drivers side was replaced with a new one from Honda. You can not tell it was in that t-bone accident today. It cost Progressive just over $9,000.00 to repair it.

I'm really happy with the repair and it drives just like it did when I drove it off the showroom with 333,000 miles.
 

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Aside from the issues of ending up with a salvage title and the economics not paying back (both which are significant, IMO) .... the logistics, legwork, and time involved in a buy-back and getting it repaired would be a very significant factor for me (and I'm a retired person with a basically open daily schedule unconstrained by job, kids, etc and unlimited time to dedicate to such a project).

For me it'd be an easy call .... when I add-up the total life-cycle dollar equation, the salvage title, and a huge 'hassle factor' allowance .... I'd take the insurance money and move on.

The time, energy, and mental strain that would be an assured reality in the project even if it goes as 'perfectly' as such an undertaking can ever go with very competent and supportive repair facilities should not be ignored or discounted.

TIP - Take the time to read this thread in its entirety, recognizing the situation is not exactly analogous to yours but pay attention to the emotional ups-and-downs, the time, and anguish HyperPete went through just relating to the repair process even though he got lucky with a good outcome.

Bottom line for your specific case - even if it came out as good as it possibly could in the end - IT ISN'T WORTH IT BY ANY MEASURE FINANCIAL OR OTHERWISE .

IMO, YMMV, good luck.
 
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Just look on craigslist you'll find a body man working right out of their home garage. They will be cheaper, heck it's not rocket science.
 

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How do insurance companies come up with the amount to give the customer?

In the blink of an eye you have a paid off vehicle that you may have to kick in thousands to get another truck in similar condition.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Thanks to everyone for their input. I'm still crushed by this accident, and I want to keep the truck, but not sure it's worth the time and effort as the one body shop that did view it determined it has a bent frame. I wish I had the skills to know that for sure, but I don't. The lady that plowed into me was probably going at least 50 mph, so to be frank about it, I don't see how it would be possible not to sustain frame damage.

To answer oarnold questions, the truck is an RTS, I upgraded the wheels to the 2013 RTL 18's because I really liked the look of them. The day before the accident, I put new firestone tires on all four corners, put in new synthetic oil and a mobil1 oil filter. Three years ago, I replaced the timing belt and water pump at 60K and installed a new oem radiator as I was moving cross country with the truck. After reading about the radiator failures and how they destroyed the transmission in the process, I figured better safe than sorry. Did all the work myself.

I just rented a 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 with a V8 in it, and while I was totally digging the size of the truck and the ease of using the new electronic package (bluetooth, radio, rear view camera), there was nothing more I liked about that truck. My '08 had a far superior ride, much better seats in regards to support, comfort and overall quality, and the ride, well, there's just no comparing the two.
Everything in the Ridge feels well made and exceptionally well engineered. Eveything on the Chevy felt cheap, and that's on a newer model by a whopping 12 years. Sad, just sad.

Centex, thanks for the links, I have not read them yet, but I can relate to your advice as it makes perfect sense. I will likely let the truck go as I don't want to have passengers in a car that can potentially be a risky endeavor where safety is concerned.

As far as getting the new Ridge, I feel that Honda took a big step back in quality and originality. The new truck is faster, but not as unique and much less functional. The first gen truck was and still is pure magic. I will most likely be looking for a used one now.

Also, thanks to everyone who participated in the poll, it is quite helpful.
 
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VERY sorry to hear that this happened. I love my 1st gen as well, and would also be "crushed" if it happened to mine. Word of caution tho for anyone buying pre-owned vehicles.

It takes about 30 seconds to roll-back a digital odometer on a vehicle 1996-present...and it's a nation-wide issue. Protect yourself and spend a few $$ on a carfax, or any other product available that will show mileage history. Especially if you're buying from a private party, or smaller used car lot.
 
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