Sell or repair your car after an accident?

To sell a broken-down car or to repair it

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If you have been in an accident and you are thinking whether to repair your car or sell it, read our material. Perhaps it will help you make the right choice. We will give some practical advices how to repair and sell a damaged car, and tell you what to look for when making a decision.

Why you can not hide the fact of the accident

Now it is almost impossible to hide the fact of an accident, especially if it is significant. Before looking at a car, buyers check it with different online services. not only shows the history of the accident, but also other problems. Thus, if the accident was a euro-protocol, a list of performed works will appear in repair calculations. Using this list you can easily figure out what exactly was the accident, what was damaged and how serious it was.

Here is an example. A fresh BMW X5 is sold with mileage well over a hundred.

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The seller admits that he took the car through a leasing company. The only thing about the body is a scratch on the right door. Now it is painted over and can’t be seen. No mention of an accident.

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We run the X5 through and see that it was broken.

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The diagram of the accident shows that the right front end and the whole right side of the X5 was damaged in the accident.

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The repairs were done twice.

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Wheel arch linings, an exterior mirror, fasteners, bumper trim and more minor things were replaced, after which the car was actually painted. The degree of impact is unknown, but the geometry of the body was already broken.

Tuning or retouching the seats with our own hands

The final “no” we want to say because of the mortgage and the pile of unpaid fines:

autocode report

BMW X5 has 20 of them, almost 15 thousand rubles. To sell such a problematic car, you need to pay the fines, remove the deposit along with the buyer and make a big discount.

When to sell a used car


The body of a car consists of a power frame and its elements and “plumage”: wings, decorative trim and moldings, which do not carry the load in an accident and are not elements of security. The exterior of the body is attached to the optics and rear-view mirrors, and on the inside – to the electrical wiring and noise insulation elements.

In small accidents, the external elements suffer, which can be replaced relatively inexpensively with new or disassembled parts. If the body is not seriously damaged, and the engine and gearbox are intact, it is possible to “scare easily” during repair.

In severe accidents, the power frame inevitably deforms, saving the occupants, but crumpling and deforming. It is practically impossible to correct the crumpled power structure of a body to the factory characteristics in service conditions.

But even if it is possible, the force elements will not have such safety factor, as it is in the factory. For example, a “pretentiously made” safe Volvo may turn out more dangerous than VAZ in practice. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class, “stretched” on a Chinese slipway, may be a bad ride, because the geometry of the body cannot be restored. The use of high-strength steels in the manufacture of modern car bodies makes repairs even more difficult.

If a body’s power frame (longitudinal members, supports, and roof) was damaged in an accident, it is not reasonable to repair the car. It is easier to sell it as a whole or for parts.

Body repair is very expensive. For example, a simple repair of damage to two doors and a fender on one side of the car will easily “go over” the amount of 100 thousand rubles. If you damage the front of the car, where the engine is located, and even airbags triggered, at once prepare a few hundred thousand rubles. And be prepared for a few months of waiting.

Three useful tips for the motorist

If you are not ready for such financial expenses and waiting, it is better to sell your car.

When a wrecked car can be repaired and driven on

damaged car

If the damage is minor

If you are involved in an accident, the first thing to do is to understand the nature of the damage to the car.

If you are not an expert in auto body repair and its cost, it is better to call an independent expert appraiser. The average cost of calling such a specialist ranges from 2000 to 5000 rubles. This will allow you to save a lot more on auto body repair.

For example, visible minor damage to the bumper may in fact translate into a large (and expensive) amount of hidden damage, visible only to a professional or during the defectology of the car before the repair.

If the damage is minor, the cost of repair should be small. But this is not always the case.

The cost of the parts directly depends on the brand and class of the car, year of manufacture, how common it is in your area. The brand of the parts manufacturer is also important. The cost of repair may also depend on whether you are repairing the car for yourself or for sale.

For example, if you damage only the front fender on Skoda Octavia A7 2016 issue, the replacement can make a small (by the standards of body repair) amount: 6,000 rubles for the original wing, as well as about 10 thousand rubles for work on the removal/installation and painting.

Repair of similar damage to the Volvo S80 of 2011 release will cost with the replacement of 23 thousand rubles for the fender itself (original), plus also about 10 thousand rubles for work.

Of course, if you use non-original spare parts made in China or Taiwan or buy them from a salvage yard, save on materials (primer, paint) and do the repair in a garage service, the cost will be lower. But the quality of repair will not be high.

Making a marker with flux for soldering wires and parts with our own hands

If you can use insurance

insurance policy

After an accident, the car owner can be helped by insurance. If your car is KASKO insured, you can have the repairs performed by referral of the insurance company at a specialized body shop. This option is for those who decided to keep the car. Repairs are usually done with original parts and good materials on good equipment.

The cost of repair work is usually determined by insurance companies as a percentage of the residual value of the car.

Example: a 2015 Ford Focus 3 with mileage under 100 thousand kilometers has a market value of about 550 thousand rubles. If the cost of repair after an accident is 70% or 385 thousand rubles, it is economically unprofitable to repair it.

In such cases, insurance companies use the term “total loss” or “total destruction of the vehicle” and pay the owner the value of the car.

Example: Hyundai Creta 2019 model year with mileage of 23 thousand kilometers has a market value of about 1.1 million rubles. If the cost of repair is 150 thousand rubles (or 13.64% of the value), it makes sense to restore the car and drive on.

You can opt for a monetary compensation for the accident. But in this case, insurance companies will try to underestimate the amount of payment. You can choose “money,” and when you get it, you can repair the car with non-original or used spare parts, saving a lot of money.

If the safety features are intact


The main reason to keep your car and drive on should be the functionality of the car after the accident and the cost of repairs. If safety elements are intact, airbags are not “shot”, and repair will be within an affordable sum, repair and drive further.

If the damage is critical, the geometry of the body is broken, and the airbags need to be replaced, it is not safe to use the car even after repair. It is almost impossible to “pull” the body back to the factory specifications, and even if you can, the stiffness of the body will not be the same.

Reworking wiper relay from Lada

So, to sell or repair a damaged car

sell used car

You need to look at the situation.

If the accident was not serious, with no damage to the passive safety elements, and the repair costs acceptable money, you can repair the car and drive on. If it is psychologically difficult to drive a broken-down car, it is better to put it up for sale.

If the damage is serious and repair is not financially justified, it is better to get rid of the car. The car can be sold to resellers or companies which buy out used cars or can be dismantled and sold by parts.

Author: Vladislav Kukel

How did you deal with your car after the accident? Tell me in comments.

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