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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-02-2017, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
 
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Damage to Safety Cage

Hi, Guys. It's been a minute since I've posted. We still have our three original 2008 Smarts, have even bought and sold another pair of 08's, for a daughter who keeps moving back and forth to Europe. These have been truly great little cars to own and operate.

My other daughter got hit by a tractor trailer yesterday. She was turning right, he was in the center lane, no signal, and did a wide right, and crushed her against the curb, damaging the entire driver's side.

Other than being scared spitless, because she couldn't get his attention and he kept pushing her over, she is fine. I was an insurance agent for years, and saw many similar claims. I can't believe that the damage was so cosmetically minor.

She was literally on her way out of town to meet a friend to fly to Panama for a month, so I quickly loaned her my cabrio and told her I'd deal with her insurance on this end.

The car actually looks great, but it tore the driver's mirror clean off, damaged four panels, the rocker panel, and the tail gate, the door grinds when opening/closing,and there is a moderate dent in the safety cage. I'm worried that with age and mileage (113k), the insurance will total it.

She loves her Passion, well, passionately (ha!), and will be heartbroken if it's totaled.

If the safety cage is damaged, does that affect the structural integrity? Or can the safety cage be easily repaired? Would we want the safety cage to be repaired if they offer to do so?

Any advice appreciated.

We are super happy. The cage did exactly what it was supposed to do.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-02-2017, 01:32 PM
 
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Sorry to hear but so glad she was ok. That looks pretty minor but a body shop will assess properly and hopefully will be able to fix it up for you. You can always look at the 2017 models. The cage is reportedly even stronger than the 451 model.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-02-2017, 01:35 PM
 
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At that age and mileage, your insurance will be sure to total it. That said, the tridion cell might be salvageable. The cell has an outer skin over the actual structure. If you're lucky, the actual structure might be undamaged, and just the skin needs replacing.

I know another member replaced an entire section of the tridion cell's skin by cutting out the damage and welding in fresh metal.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-02-2017, 01:44 PM
 
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The tridion cell (frame) is covered in automotive grade steel - it looks like that may be damaged. The underlying cell is touted to be stronger than steel, and difficult to damage.

If the outer covering is damaged, a body shop may be able to pull that out, fill and repaint. Otherwise the other issues look cosmetic. An auto body shop person told me it is not good to weld new sheet metal to original sheet metal - this could create a path to future rust. Has to do with the original anti-rust treated metal mixed with untreated metal.

You can pick up replacement parts online - one option is Autobahnsmart.

Last edited by stevenjb; 02-02-2017 at 03:17 PM.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-03-2017, 05:54 AM
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First off, Glad she was not hurt! these cars are quite capable of protecting the occupants. I know I am thankful myself!

Somewhere there has to be a list of guidelines for totaling out a car. I have never been able to figure it out. Seems to me I heard someplace that if the Trideon cell was damaged, they automatically total the car. However, it looks like the impact point was on the cell itself so that is a whole different matter. If the door doesn't close or open right, Usually that is a good indication that something is bent badly. (unless it is from where it was hit in your case)

The problem being that these lil guys just don't have a lot of book value and repairs add up quickly so they get the "Totaled" rubber stamp.

One thing to be careful about if you have it fixed or do the Buy it back " from the insurance company is that some insurance companies won't insure or have rules as to if they can be insured after an accident.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-03-2017, 07:21 AM
 
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My understanding of what "totaled" means is the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the repaired car. This happened to me years ago with a 1966 Corvair in 1978. Car hit me from behind and shoved me into the car in front of me. It bend the rear fender and front hood/bumper. I opined to have it repaired for what the insurance company paid me for value.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-03-2017, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everyone. I had no idea the black was a "skin" over the safety cage. I thought it was the cage!

We dropped it off for the "express" repair. They will appraise, and either repair, or notify us if it can't be repaired.

I was an insurance agent for many years. You are correct, if the cost of repairs exceeds the book value of the car, it is considered a total. On older cars, some companies will use a different formula, but it is a pretty good rule of thumb.

Georgia has very strict laws regarding "salvage" titles. The law was intended to eliminate junkers, but at the same stroke, they unintentionally eliminated keeping a car with simple cosmetic damage as well. You have to repair the vehicle, make an appointment (can take as long as six months), have it TOWED to one of two or three inspections in the state, provide repair receipts, and then they inspect test it to make sure it still retains it's structural integrity or safety or whatever. I used to have fits explaining this to my insurance customers, who couldn't understand why they couldn't take a slightly lower check, and keep the car as well. Oh, boy!

The lady who checked us in said they had some experience with Smarts. She said that, because there was scrapes to the wheel, they would be required to measure to make sure the frame wasn't bent, and something about doing a laser scan or measurement of the dent, to see if it was more or less than Smart's recommended tolerance for repair. She felt that after eyeballing it, they might go ahead and fix it.

TBH, we test drove the 2017 Smart during the road trip campaign, and both loved it, but we've had five 2008's and have had such outstanding luck with the things, I would be halfway tempted to find another '08. The old ones have such great personalities. We are as attached to them as we are the dog, lol.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-03-2017, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
 
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BTW, I just looked at my profile pic, which is old as dirt. We still have all three of those smarts!
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-03-2017, 01:57 PM
 
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I can only hope to have as many smarts as you one day, have a whole warehouse full of them!

My mid-life crisis car will totally be a smart roadster.

As for your door, I bet the hinges could be bent, though anything can cause poor door alignment, including a bent frame. Hopefully that hasn't happened here.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-03-2017, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
 
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I love that Roadster, and would have one myself in a heartbeat if they reintroduced them. Jeremy Clarkson actually gave it a really good writeup review back in the day. Something to the effect that it wasn't a Ferrari, but it was a lot cheaper, more accessible, and more fun.
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