ForumFix: Crunch!

No one likes the idea of getting into a car accident — but that’s exactly what happened to forum user Nobleman_James. His 2006 Mustang GT ended up hitting a wall at low speed. Thankfully, nobody got injured in the collision, but the front end of James’ Mustang ended up pretty torn up. For this week’s ForumFix, we’ll go over some of the questions James had and how he could fix his Mustang, which is otherwise in good shape.

The Cause

According to Nobleman_James, he ran his Mustang into a brick wall after sliding on a rainy freeway. He crashed at low enough speeds that the only injury was to his Mustang’s front end — and maybe his pride.

James isn’t alone. Roughly 60 cars run into buildings every single day. By the time you’re done reading this, it’s probably happened again. Let’s look at the damage to James’ Mustang and some possible fixes.

The Damage

As you can see in the image James posted, the front end of his car is pretty destroyed — the front bumper is all but resting on the ground, the hood is bent and the grill is crushed beyond recognition, leaving the radiator and cooling lines exposed.

His main concerns were the bent hood, the ruined front right quarter panel and the enforcement beam behind the front bumper, plus getting a high-quality paint job after replacing everything. The parking lights and the hood latch also probably need to be replaced.

The Fix

What does James need to do to fix his mangled Mustang?

First, he needs to try to open the hood. With the location of the damage, it may or may not actually open. If it doesn’t, he’s going to need to replace the hood latch as well as the hood, so there’s no need to worry about it breaking. To trigger the hood latch, use a thin tool to open the latch manually from the front of the hood. Don’t use brute force unless it’s necessary.

Most of the damaged parts, like the hood, bumper, grill and parking lights, are pretty simple to replace as long as the frame that they bolt to didn’t get damaged or bent in the accident.

Replacing the front quarter panel is also fairly simple. James could easily obtain a new quarter panel from a local junkyard — it will be the wrong color, but since he plans to get a full paint job anyway, it isn’t an issue.

James is right in his assumption that front-end collisions can cause problems with the alignment or the drivetrain, so he should get a mechanic to check his alignment after the rest of the repairs are complete.

The last step is to find a good auto body shop to paint all of his mismatched replacement parts so they become part of one uniform whole. As James mentioned in his post, Maaco has a bad reputation for not being worth the money you’d pay them, so take some time to do a search for good paint shops in your area — a list we post here won’t do you much good unless you live in the same area!

Ideally, you want to try to avoid getting into any sort of accident, but if it is unavoidable, go over your car to see if it is repairable or if you should total it out in favor of a new car. If you can repair it, start collecting parts to get your baby back on the road.

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