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Old 08-19-2000, 11:51 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 56
My wife hit the back of a truck. Low speed impact; the air bag did NOT deploy. The truck had one of those steel brackets that come down to prevent a vehicle from going under the truck bed. The front bumper first made contact with this bracket and then the bracket gave way and the final impact ended at the upper one-half of the grill. Insurance co. wants to total car. It has 140,000 mi. and I considered it to be in perfect condition, properly maintained, no door dings, etc. We are still negotiating on value. I have been offered $11,200 + tax & title for a total loss settlement or about $7,900 if I keep the car. I have looked at car twice now and feel that there is no frame damage but cannot be certain. Fenders are both just slightly bowed and you must look hard to see this. Damage under the hood is limited to the top side of the radiator pushing back just enough to prevent the fan blade from turning; no loss of coolant; no apparent fin damage. Wife turned off engine immediately after impact. I have priced out parts on a worst case scenario replacing fan, clutch, radiator, condensor, both fenders, hood and grill assembly, bumper assembly, both headlight and turn signal assemblies, upper and lower radiator reinforcing members, & numerous minor parts and come up with a total price of about $3,000. I am guessing that painting fenders and hood + a second color for the bumper would run $1,500 tops given that I would take the car to a shop minus the grill, trim parts and headlights to reduce make ready and also make for a better job. The $7,900 I would receive less $4,500 for parts and paint leave a comfortable cushion to pay myself for the effort and have a contingency for anything unknown. Am I missing something? Am I nuts for even thinking about doing this? We obviously love the car and looking for a comparable replacement is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
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Old 08-19-2000, 12:00 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Toronto, CANADA
Posts: 1,193
Take the car to a reputable mercedes mechanic or restorer and get an estimate on what it would take to make your car the way it was before the accident. My sister (not a benz owner) was hit by a taxi and the insurance co gave her $2000 - what they thought was the total value of the car (generous by my extimates) My dad took her car to a repair shop and they fixed it for $200. Please not there was no frame damage. My sister walked away with her car in the same shape or better than before and with $1800 to put towards her tuition that year. You're right in that you probably won't find a comparable value with what they give you, but if you're car is in as good a shape as you think it is you should be able to fix it. See what a technician has to say, but be prepared to bite the bullet it the damage is more extensive than you thought it was. You don't want to have your wife driving a car that's not as safe as it used to be for just for sentimental reasons. I do know that in a lot of cases, insurers write of cars that are perfectly fixable.

PS Make sure you go to a reputable shop. There are some people who will take your money and tell you they can make your car whole again even if they know it will not stand up to another accident.

Jason Priest
1986 420SEL
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Old 08-19-2000, 06:37 PM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Posts: 47
Just had this done to my 87 300SDL (My fault--luckily the airbag didn't go or it would have been a "total"). Estimate was $6902.74. Included straightening fenders, new hood, grill, radiator and AC cond. Kept the old bumper cover. Insurance Co. said I could use their guy and not "total" it, or use the MBUSA body shop (at about 50% more) and they would pay the "total-out" amount only. At least I got new 'euro' lights out of the deal.

Tom Kanis
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