Toyota Nation Forum banner

101 - 120 of 130 Posts

·
Registered
2001 Camry LE
Joined
·
584 Posts
I don't think you made a bad decision. You still ended up with $1900 in your pocket. And, you still have your car that you know was well maintained since new!

Glad to see you resurrected this thread, haha. It was one of the first threads I followed when joining this forum.
 
  • Like
Reactions: qqzj

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
I cannot imagine this could happen to me just when I get all ready to do the big timing belt job. Life is not fair and I know it now.

This morning when I was driving at 40-50 mph in my lane safe and sound, a lady suddenly decided to change lane into mine from her VERY congested lane on my right. So basically she started from almost standstill, floored the gas, cut into my lane and BANG, my disaster came along. You can see the lady with sneakers in the background.

After the 1st impact, her Honda CRV then bounced back into an RV that was ahead of her initially. So she ended up with both sides damaged. The RV, pulled by a Ford truck, suffered damage on the front driver side.

For me, I was truly lucky. I also bounced to the left and my driver side definitely touched a 4th car. But the damage is very minor. Just some paint scratches and damages to the wheels. The 4th driver did not even feel it and left. I feel sorry for him/her. It is even more unfair to him/her.

The police showed up finally under her insistence and we were issued some cards and the report should be ready in 1 week. I have called her insurance and provided all the details. Now, it is time to seriously look at the car and see what I can do and that is where help from you guys are highly appreciated. Here is the picture. From what I can see it must be a insurance total loss and my main concern is whether to give the car up or buy it back to fix it myself. Does it look like a fixable situation? Thanks.
I would wait until her insurance company does the assessment. Depending on which company she has, if she has one that looks over your car and issues a check as do a few, you may get a person who can assess the damage just under the total worth of the car (according to their book). They can then give you a check and then you can fix it and keep a clean title. In the interim if you can get a free estimate from a local repair shop (preferably one that does body work as well), you may want to look into that.
I hope you get it sorted out in your favor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
Finally I am able to update this thread again.

1. In the mail from the other driver's insurance company, it is said that I need to re-register the salvage title in the next 10 days. Otherwise, bad things will happen to me. It turned out that this is totally BS. I visited DMV twice and spent 6 hours there immediately after I got the brake and light inspection done. Both time, I was told that DMV had not received documents from the insurance company and they could not help me in anyway.

2. Then I kept calling DMV in the next two months, i.e., September and October of 2018. Nothing. Until one representative told me just forget about it and keep driving. So I did. Nothing happened and I thought maybe I could keep my clean title.

3. Fast forward to June 2019. I received the usual biannual smog letter from mail. This time, I am not allowed to renew registration online. I had to mail in the registration form. See details here.


4. I passed the smog test and mailed in the letter promptly. However, it took forever for my new registration card and sticker to come back in mail. Nothing happend even after DMV cashed my check. My current registration expires on 9/2/2019. I really cannot wait. So I called DMV and finally they mentioned that the registration renew is delayed b/c of the accident and I need to get a salvage title.

5. So I visit the local DMV promptly. It turned out the following documents are required for paper work. Title, current registration card, certificates for brake and light inspections, DMV form REG343, DMV form REG 488C. Once I submitted all paper works, I received some additional paperwork and all of the papers stapled together and handed back to me.

6. Next I need to move my car to the driver license road test area. There are three lanes here. The right lane is for drive test. The middle lane is for personal title like salvage car retention or transfer title from other states to California. The left lane is for commercial vehicles.

7. After a long wait, an inspector showed up. He simply wrote down current mileage and asked me to open the hood. He spent some time on inside of the hood, probably checking emission related stickers there. Then he spent a bit of time near the trunk of the car. Then it is all over.

8. Next I am told to remove my current license plates and go back to see the lady who prepared my paper work. I did not want to give up all of my old plates. So I only removed the front one, which was damaged several times and kept the rear plate. There, I handed in $96 to turn my clean title to a salvage title. Seem really unfair. What do they have to do for the $96? It turned out that they really don't care about the plates. I could have kept both and it would be fine. Anyway, my old license number 4U*** became 8K***. Really sad. It felt like something precious was taken away from me.

To wrap up, I got $4300 from insurance, paid $2400 for everything. The $2400 includes about $650 for all new KYB strut assemblies and Moog end links, $150 for one Timken rear wheel bearing and one Beck/Arnley rear wheel bearing, and $100 for Whiteline RSB. So these $900 can be considered upgrades. Among the remaining $1500, more than $500 was spent on State inspection certificates for brake and lights. Those inspection shops are true blood suckers. $96 for salvage title. So money really spent on buying the car back and fixing up the car is only about $900.

With retrospect, the optimal strategy to deal with this whole situation is to buy the car back from insurance for $160, then immediately sell the car as is for $700-$1000. That way I can net about $5000. $3000 can get me a nice clean V6 2001 Camry with a clean title and I would still have $2000 in my pocket. But I bought the car new and the car always feels like part of family. So I let emotions to take over and kept it within family. It just makes me feel better this way.

For the future, I plan to keep driving it for 4 or 5 years until I can basically fully amortize the $2400 cost. Then I plan to have it painted for around $1500. If it happens, I shall update this thread one more time. Adiós!
Thanks for the good info. I now know what to do if this happens to me.
I hope the car keeps running. They can easily go for 500k.
 

·
Registered
2013 Subaru BRZ
Joined
·
1,954 Posts
Discussion Starter #104
Correction. Memory is not good any more. I looked up my records. I got $4729 from insurance, not $4300. $100 KYB rebate came back, so next cost is $2300. So I have $2429 left. That surprised myself. Now the $1550 (quote from Fremont Maaco) repaint job is much easier to justify. If anyone in the SF Bay Area can let me know a good paint shop that charges less than Maaco, please help! If you are professional and can do this as a side job, let me know also. I am sure we can work something out.
 

·
Registered
2013 Subaru BRZ
Joined
·
1,954 Posts
Discussion Starter #105
Damn! Shitty luck stroke again! This afternoon, just before I headed home, wife called and told me that our beloved Camry was hit once again while parked along side the curb!!! How the feck could this happen? For the 2nd time? Luckily, the other driver was decent and actually left a note on my car. So we are 'in good hands' now.

I got home immediately and took a careful look. The damage was around rear driver side quarter panel and rear bumper. See the picture. The rear bumper scratches are mostly minor, I believe they can be buffed out relatively easy. The rear quarter panel dents are harder. Funny it was bumped into at the same spot 4 years ago and I pushed it out myself. You can still see the damage near the rear splash guard. That was from the previous accident. (Additionally, the whole quarter panel was actually an aftermarket one due to another accident 14 years ago.)

From one of the previously loaded pictures, you can see that I replaced both fenders with mismatched color fenders from PnP. So I am not sure how much value would Geico (the other party's insurance company) would assign to my car. Given the damage, it can easily blow through $2500 and my car can be totaled again. This sucks on multiple levels! Man, it seems that the whole world is conspiring to put down my old Camry and I am hanging on it with fingernails.

I got an appointment with inspector tomorrow. Best wishes to me and my beloved Camry!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
2013 Subaru BRZ
Joined
·
1,954 Posts
Discussion Starter #106
Since I am determined to keep my Camry as far as humanely can, I went ahead tonight and did the oil change for the 50 times, with Pennzoil Full Synthetic High Mileage 5W30 and Mobil 1 Extended Performance filter. Now my Camry is set up to run another 6000 miles. As of now, mileage is only 137,599.

I have seen many guys creating build thread for their Camry's. Maybe it is a good idea to document how I struggled to keep the car on the road. The only thing special about my car is probably how many times it has been involved in accidents. Let me try to recall all the accidents.

1. Collided with a Hispanic young man shortly after I bought it in 2001 in Los Angeles. My fault. But really it was not. The parking lot exit to a busy thoroughfare and both sides of the exit were fully parked very close to the exit. I really could not see anything w.r.t. traffic. Life sucks.

2. Rear-ended by a middle east woman. Her fault. Los Angeles

3. Side swiped by a Jewish young girl. She lied to me and would not give me her driver's license and her brother yelled to me. When I called her home, her father yelled to me again and asked me to stop calling. Luckily we had uninsured motorist coverage. Car was fixed. Los Angeles

4. Hit by a White female in her late twenties or early thirties. Menlo Park, CA. She lied to insurance saying it was my fault. Her insurance only paid half of the repair cost. But somehow our insurance paid half. So no monetary damage.

5. Hit by a Mexican female in her late forty or fifties. Her fault. Monterrey Park, CA.

6. My wife was rear ended on highway. That was a scary event. Other party's fault. Van Nuys, CA.

7. Rear ended by an Indian couple San Mateo, CA.

8. Rear ended by a White female in her late thirties or forties. San Mateo CA.

9. Side swiped while parked. Driver fled. Foster City CA.

10. The main accident of this thread. San Mateo CA. The other driver is a white or Jewish female in her thirties. Her fault.

11. Car got hit while parked by an Indian couple. Foster City CA. This is the current one.

I am really curious how Carfax looks for my car. How many accidents will show up? Or maybe I have forgotten a few accidents? If someone has a free Carfax account, please help!
 

·
Registered
2013 Subaru BRZ
Joined
·
1,954 Posts
Discussion Starter #107
I have had two major repair events. The first one was in May 2017. See post 667


Items I repaired

1. Broken shifter cover
2. Broken sun visor
3. Broken rear cup holder
4. Broken trunk weatherstrip
5. Broken front grille
6. Glove box light always on
7. Broken door tweeter cover
8. Replaced battery terminals
9. Broken fuel vapor hose
10. Rear trunk lid replacement
11. Replaced the radiator, thermostat, upper and lower coolant hoses
12. Replaced spark plugs
13. Replaced front rotors and brake pads
14. Replaced rear driver side windows regulator w/ motor.
15. Replaced dilapidated windows weather strip on the rear driver side.
16. Replaced windshield (a mobile mechanic did this one.)
17. Valve cover gasket replacement

I also made a few upgrades

1. Add 4 mud guards
2. Changed thermostat housing to aluminum
3. Add a Solara strut brace
4. Got a set of 2004 Avalon wheels with almost new Yokohama 205 60 R16 tires, and OEM wheel lock
5. Installed the correct, large battery

And some services

1. Cleaned IACV and TB
2. Repaired broken/flaky alternator wire covers

The 2nd major repair effort was after my car was totaled.

I repaired

1 Passenger side: side mirror, fender, windshield fluid tank change
2. Both corner lights
3. Front bumper change
4. Door lock/unlock beeper
5. Passenger side corner light rewire
6. Lower control arm and ball joint on the front passenger side. Got help from here.


7. Timing belt, PS belt, AC/alternator belt, cam seal, crank seal, idler pulley, tensioner, tensioning spring, coolant change

8. Replace 4 strut assemblies with KYB. Got help from here.


9. Replaced both rear wheel bearings Got help from here.


Upgrades

1. Whiteline RSB & 4 sway bar bushings. Got help from here


2. 4 end links with Moog Problem Solver

3. Replaced and upgraded windshield spray nozzles with the fan spray type from Gen 5 Camry. Got help from here.


I also tried to align the car myself. Failed.
 

·
Registered
2001 Camry LE
Joined
·
584 Posts
Wow, that is a lot of accidents! Many sound like they are major ones too. Hopefully your wife was OK after her rear end incident.

When my car was still very new in 2002, we were rear ended in NY while on a merge ramp going onto a highway. $7K+ in damages. We had only paid about $20K for the car. I think it had around 2,000 miles at the time. Thank goodness nobody was injured.

Then my dad hit someone while changing lanes, maybe around 2003? I think the car had about 5,000 miles. Not much damage, just a broken headlight which we replaced and a cracked bumper which he used glue to fix.

Since then, we haven't got into any accidents where the cops were called. Car just passed 100,000 miles this month. A lot of minor bumps, though. Lots of door dings and small dents that I have no idea where they came from, and once when my mom backed up into a wall.
 

·
Registered
2013 Subaru BRZ
Joined
·
1,954 Posts
Discussion Starter #109
Wife was totally fine. Thanks! Given how many times my car was hit while parked or rear ended while waiting for traffic lights, I think it might be a good car for spies. People just don't pay any attention to it. Or maybe it can induce temporary vision loss? If I get a gigantic SUV like an Expidition, I bet they would be more careful. This does make those gas guzzler a bit more desirable.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 

·
Moderator
2015 4 Runner SR5
Joined
·
4,493 Posts
The bumper is plastic, right? Is that rear quarter panel plastic or metal? I think you can heat each and get it to conform back to a more normal shape.I watched a video of a guy that heated up a rear panel and 100% eliminated a gnarly dent. He slowly and patiently worked the metal with a small hammer and applied heat, slowly popping the metal back into shape. It was crazy, you would never know it had been dented.
 

·
Registered
2013 Subaru BRZ
Joined
·
1,954 Posts
Discussion Starter #112
I am pretty sure whatever on the bumper can be rubbed off with a magic eraser. That is easy. The quarter panel is metal. But funny thing is that the sheet metal there is literally paper thin. I shall try the heating method to pop it back up while it is still fresh and the sheet metal might still have some memory left. Can you still find the link for that youtube bodywork video? Thanks.
 

·
Registered
2013 Subaru BRZ
Joined
·
1,954 Posts
Discussion Starter #113
Also I have completed all the insurance stuff. This time it is much easier and expedient because a car that was not moving cannot be at fault.

I went to Geico's inspector. He was pretty straightforward telling me that car's value is $2k-$3k. Repair cost will be $4k+. So the official approach is to total the car one more time. I thought about it for a while and very politely suggested to him that I really want to avoid the hassle of salvage registration. So I suggested whether he could manage the numbers to that I can get max payout w/o totaling the car. That will be the quick and cheaper way out for both Geico and me. The guy was really helpful. So he did.

After 20 minutes, he handed me a check of $3075, which according to him is just below 80% value of the car. So no salvage. Calculation shows that he managed to value the car at about $3843. It seems that I left some money on the table. 3843 - 3075 = 768. Suppose I buy the car back again at $160, pay $100 for salvage re-registration, $175 minimum for brake and light inspection, the total would be $435. So I got $333 less this way.

However, I believed that the Geico guy actually tried to help me by setting the value a bit high at $3843. With an unpainted front bumper, and two fenders of different colors, it would be easy for him to lower the value of the car to around $3k. There is no way I want to hurt someone who actually tried to help me. So I said 'Thank you' and walked out of the door. So this time, the matter is resolved in less than 20 hours. Done deal now. Cheers.
 

·
Registered
2001 Camry LE
Joined
·
584 Posts
Great! This is exactly the process that I had hoped would happen last time. Valuing the damage at just below the car's value so you can walk away with a clean title. Glad that Geico's inspector was willing to work with you and make the numbers work. Forget about the $333... it wouldn't have been worth your time to go through the whole salvage inspection thing. I agree that $3,843 is a very generous valuation for a 138K mile, 18 yo Camry with a rebuilt title.

I honestly don't know how people are able to keep their car's exterior in such good shape. I gave up a long time ago since I kept getting door dings and the two accidents I had in the first 5,000 miles. I think you are right about this car being invisible. I had an accident (my fault) with my black one about 3 years ago, when I rear ended someone. I got a brand new hood, fender, headlight, and bumper. Within a few months, someone scraped my new bumper in a parking lot and I got a mysterious dent on the new fender. So, I've completely given up on both cars.

The dent in the rear quarter panel doesn't look too deep. Hopefully you can smoothen it out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: qqzj

·
Registered
2013 Subaru BRZ
Joined
·
1,954 Posts
Discussion Starter #115
There is one additional detail. To avoid total loss, insurance company requires repair cost less than 80% of market value. So the cost of avoiding total loss is 20% of market value. The higher the market value, the higher is the cost. Since the value was about $5k last time, I need to eat $1k to avoid total loss. This time, it is $768.

On the other hand, the cost of bring the car back from salvage is relatively fixed. ($435 plus extra greediness of inspection stations.) So the higher is the market value, the more desirable it is to salvage the car. Last time, the USAA inspector was completely unwilling to work with me, but he somehow arrived at a very high valuation, so in that event, I'd rather get the car totaled.
 

·
Registered
Camry, Vibe, Venture
Joined
·
528 Posts
I don't understand why one needs to avoid the car being a "total loss". If an old Camry is declared a total loss why does that make such a difference?
 

·
Registered
2013 Subaru BRZ
Joined
·
1,954 Posts
Discussion Starter #117
Because of two very unpleasant places.

1. CA State Brake and Light Check Stations. These check stations ask for almost $200 minimum for the checking and issuing the certificates. That is the minimum. They can easily find a ton of issues to bleed you dry. Last time, I managed to walk out of there after shedding $400. That is after some white knuckled bargaining. I kid you not. If you fail and you do not have the repairs done in their shops, there is no free re-test. So the minimum turns into $400. You can see how fast the expense can run up. So once you let them take your keys away, both you and they know that they got you by the balls.

2. CA DMV. You can easily waste 4-6 hours there in two or three tries. I know DMV's in other states are nice. In CA, they are the least pleasant places one wants to visit. Now that I have accumulated enough experience deal with them, this is less of a concern now.
 

·
Registered
2001 Camry LE
Joined
·
584 Posts
I think the 80% rule is a California thing. It is also the case in many other states, but not all of them. I remember reading that one state (Hawaii?) had it set at 50%. Could you imagine, at 50%, a tiny scratch would total our cars.

You make a good point about needing to take a $1K loss on a $5K valuation, but me personally, I would rather do that than go through all the DMV's paperwork and inspection processes. The rebuilt title also makes the car difficult to sell in the future, and could potentially cause some problems with future insurance. Typically, I think many people see a rebuilt title car as worth half of a clean title one. So, actually, the insurance adjuster this time could have potentially claimed your car was only worth $2K with a clean title and only $1K with a rebuilt title. He could have totaled it out and only given you $1K. It would have been a valid argument since you had a rebuilt title.

Also, what state has pleasant DMVs? Haha, NJ certainly doesn't.
 

·
Registered
2013 Subaru BRZ
Joined
·
1,954 Posts
Discussion Starter #119
I am not selling my car whatsoever. So milking more cash is number 1 for me. Haha.
 

·
Registered
2013 Subaru BRZ
Joined
·
1,954 Posts
Discussion Starter #120
Kudos to DeWalt, I finally repainted my car this weekend! Last week, I got a really good deal of a DeWalt random orbital sander from Lowe's. A cordless, brushless XR sander, a charger, a 2AH battery and a bag for $90 bucks. I sold the battery, the charger and the bag for $90. So I got myself a free sander! Wow. Then I bought a stack of 50 Diablo 320 grit sander paper and went to town.

Sanding the paint down is not as easy as I thought.
1. There are too many creases on the car. It is hard to just remove the paint and keep the primer. Sometimes, I can see the bare metal on the edges and I still cannot get to the paint.
2. The real auto body sanders are smaller and the sanding discs have more foam, so they can get into small places. The sander I got is mostly for woodworking. I don't want to spend big bucks on a special tool. So I have to deal with this. But I do see some guys and gals using this tool to sand down their cars. So I am not unique at least.
3. The sander is pretty power hungry. My 1.5 AH battery, mostly used with DeWalt lights etc, got depleted pretty quickly. I am lucky that I got a 5AH big boy with the impact wrench deal. That can last a really long time.
 
101 - 120 of 130 Posts
Top