Question SOLD: Need Advice on Totaled Model X

Snow4us

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Not sure if this is the correct place to post this, but here goes:

My dad was cut off and t-boned earlier this year in his 2018 Model X P100D.

Here are pictures of the damage

Luckily no one was harmed in the accident.

He had the car evaluated at the local Authorized Body Shop. That shop told him the vehicle would need to be taken to their authorized structural frame repair shop. The Service King district manager from the structural shop happened to be in the body shop that day and took a look at the Model X. He told my dad that the impact to the frame had “moved" the left side frame slightly back and that the car frame was torqued. He was told that the structural shop would likely not be able to repair the vehicle, and even if they could, Tesla would never certify the car for use.

He really would like to get this car repaired, but it sounds like this will be impossible. He received an offer from CarBrain for $20,650, including coming to pick up the vehicle and tow it away and leave him with a cashiers check.

He has asked for my help in making sure this is the best offer he can get and that he isn't being taken to the cleaners by CarBrain.

Is the CarBrain offer super low, or is that about as good as he can get for the vehicle?

FYI the car has ~10,000 miles on it, the battery is undamaged and has been stored at 60% SOC and garaged since the incident. He has the original FOBs and title.

Thanks for any advice or guidance you can give.
 
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garsh

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I'm a little confused. Maybe you can fill in a few more details.

Was the car actually totaled by the insurance company?
Did the insurance company give your father a check to cover the cost of a replacement?
If that happened, then the insurance company now owns the car.
So next question would be, did your father buy the totaled car back from the insurance company?

Or did something else happen here with the insurance company?
 

pricedm

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First issue: Why is the offending driver's insurance not financially responsible?

Second, in addition to all questions above from Garsh, what is the estimate from repair shop? Your dad needs that info as part of his decision process. Good luck
 
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garsh

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JasonF

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If you really want to fix it, find out how Simone Gertz straightened the frame of the "Truckla" when the frame was accidentally cut too much, and it 'unsprung', warping the entire body.

To have the frame knocked so far off target that the rear hatch no longer closes properly, that Model X would have had to hit something really heavy, or perhaps offset crashed into a solid concrete barrier or wall.
 

andy_tee

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The problem with MX and MS is that the bodies are all aluminum. Once it's bent, you can't bend it back or it'll crack. That also includes straightening it on a rack, like you can with a steel Model 3. To compound the problem, the emphasis on safety means the front ends of the cars fold up badly, including taking the wheels off (which absorbs energy) in many accidents.

And this is why the insurance premiums are so outrageous on Teslas and probably why dad decided to self-insure. Pretty high stress for him all around, I'm sure. First, he has great pride in making it in life to own such a nice car, then the gamble he took didn't pan out. Not sure how old he is, but your job is to make sure the stress doesn't slide him downhill as a result of this.

I'd be interested in buying the car from him, nonetheless.

But, as a new user, I have no way to PM you. I guess you need to start the conversation. PM me your phone number please.

thanks
 
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andy_tee

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If you really want to fix it, find out how Simone Gertz straightened the frame of the "Truckla" when the frame was accidentally cut too much, and it 'unsprung', warping the entire body.

To have the frame knocked so far off target that the rear hatch no longer closes properly, that Model X would have had to hit something really heavy, or perhaps offset crashed into a solid concrete barrier or wall.

Not really - the car is unibody aluminum and it doesn't take a whole lot to bend the F out of it - so, no, not something heavy at all. You hit an MX or an MS in a corner and it turns from | | into / / looking from the top. As I posted, above, being aluminum, you can't just put it on a frame machine and pull it back. The entire body is bent, looking from the top. I have a P85+ MS in the driveway that was hit the same way and is also bent to where the hatch won't close.

The Truckla was a completely different "warp". The idiots building Simone's Truckla (it appears to me like she didn't build it, and that she was merely the financier and came up with the idea, but the crew she brought in did the real work) did not reinforce the car BEFORE cutting the roof (which is what you do for ANY car, frame or unibody, when you chop the roof), which is a structural element (the arch shape of Teslas is not just for aero - it makes the car structurally efficient which reduces weight). This did not BEND anything on Truckla, the metal did not go beyond the yield point like Snow4us's dad's car did, and the car merely flexed under slow (vs impact) loads to where doors wouldn't close, etc. This sag (much like you putting a 2x4 between two cement blocks and standing on the middle) was remedied by simply supporting and lifting the car with jacks from underneath to where it was more or less restored to the point where doors and gaps were realigned, THEN they braced it with a pipe frame. So, no, your advice is far from applicable here.
 
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JasonF

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Hey, I’m not a structural engineer. I wouldn’t advise trying to repair the OP’s Model X (the Carfax report would make it worthless anyway), simply pointing out that I’ve seen worse things repaired.

I was a passenger in a Dodge Journey a few years ago when a ‘90s Volvo driver going 80 mph was texting and didn’t notice traffic had stopped, hit the brakes way too late, and crashed into the back of the car. The car was remarkably still driveable, and had a wrinkle in the trunk floor, but no major frame damage. Those 1990s Volvos are pretty heavy.

From other experiences with the Journey (it was a relative’s) I know it was built as cheaply as possible, with the least metal content Chrysler could possibly get away with. The crash bars were not full tubes, but half ones filled with closed cell foam. Seats constantly broke from vibrations from driving the car with people in it. Even the doors were really thin, and you could see that if you pushed against it.

If that thing could survive a crash like that, I wouldn’t think Teslas are so fragile that even a minor crash with a relatively lightweight car will absolutely damage the frame beyond repair - like an exotic sports car.

I could be wrong about the concrete barrier or wall, maybe that Model X tangled with a box truck or full sized pickup, and it was going at a very high speed. It just seems like it would have to be something carrying a lot of energy or mass.
 

andy_tee

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Nope. Your Journey still had to meet crash tests and having an engine up front changes everything. As I said, bent steel is replaceable and can be bent or hammered back, aluminum isn't and can't.

"The car was remarkably still driveable, and had a wrinkle in the trunk floor, but no major frame damage. Those 1990s Volvos are pretty heavy. " <- that bragworthy lack of damage (energy absorption) got passed on to the occupants, lol.

At >>$180/hr shop rates, expensive repair tools and procedures, and expensive (example: I was just quoted $860 for a rear half shaft (axle) for my '18 MX and you can't find it salvage), long delay replacement parts that HAVE to be new; and the vehicle requiring recertification after a serious crash's repairs, a low to moderate speed crash that looks horrible in a steel car is repairable, whereas seemingly minor crashes to your eye will render an aluminum Tesla too expensive, or impossible, to repair. Hit an aluminum Tesla in a corner at moderate speed, it "absorbs crash energy for passenger safety" and the entire body gets skewed because the crash went beyond the limits of the "repairable" energy absorbers like the front and rear frame rails (they're creased for controlled crush...in Snow4us dad's car, those frontal crash rails appear to be more or less intact, which took it immediately to second level, "kill the car to save the passengers" crash mode) - and you can't pull that skew straight because the aluminum cracks and the structural strength of the aluminum goes to near nothing. The skewed body also means fewer pieces can be salvaged than from, say, a car that got hit where the crush remained localized.

Model 3 is steel and could be frame pulled, but the shop rates and parts costs lower its threshold of getting totaled compared to other cars. The Model 3 has not only cannibalized MX and MS sales, it's also dropped their salvage value due to lower cost batteries and more efficient and desirable motors. It used to be you paid over $10,000 for a salvage single drive unit...since the Model 3, they're under $3k now.
 
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Snow4us

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Hey, I’m not a structural engineer. I wouldn’t advise trying to repair the OP’s Model X (the Carfax report would make it worthless anyway), simply pointing out that I’ve seen worse things repaired.

I was a passenger in a Dodge Journey a few years ago when a ‘90s Volvo driver going 80 mph was texting and didn’t notice traffic had stopped, hit the brakes way too late, and crashed into the back of the car. The car was remarkably still driveable, and had a wrinkle in the trunk floor, but no major frame damage. Those 1990s Volvos are pretty heavy.

From other experiences with the Journey (it was a relative’s) I know it was built as cheaply as possible, with the least metal content Chrysler could possibly get away with. The crash bars were not full tubes, but half ones filled with closed cell foam. Seats constantly broke from vibrations from driving the car with people in it. Even the doors were really thin, and you could see that if you pushed against it.

If that thing could survive a crash like that, I wouldn’t think Teslas are so fragile that even a minor crash with a relatively lightweight car will absolutely damage the frame beyond repair - like an exotic sports car.

I could be wrong about the concrete barrier or wall, maybe that Model X tangled with a box truck or full sized pickup, and it was going at a very high speed. It just seems like it would have to be something carrying a lot of energy or mass.


He T-boned an Escalade that pulled out in front of him FYI.
 

JasonF

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"The car was remarkably still driveable, and had a wrinkle in the trunk floor, but no major frame damage. Those 1990s Volvos are pretty heavy. " <- that bragworthy lack of damage (energy absorption) got passed on to the occupants, lol.

Some of it. Most of it translated to forward momentum. The car just ahead of the Journey was lightweight and got pushed as well.


Model 3 is steel and could be frame pulled, but the shop rates and parts costs lower its threshold of getting totaled compared to other cars. The Model 3 has not only cannibalized MX and MS sales, it's also dropped their salvage value due to lower cost batteries and more efficient and desirable motors. It used to be you paid over $10,000 for a salvage single drive unit...since the Model 3, they're under $3k now.

Most common sedans driving around these days - especially the Korean brands - have so little residual value that even very minor crashes lead to them being totalled almost immediately. The Model S and X have much higher residual value, but that value is eaten up quickly by higher complexity. The Model 3 should be right in the middle, where the repairs aren't excessively complex, but it has enough residual value that it's not quite as easy to total.