Well, I suppose it was inevitable... and on my way to my sister's it happened. Moving along with others in the early evening traffic (was about 17:15), there was an abrupt stop in the traffic. Naturally, I began breaking, but only too late realized how hard the person in front of me was braking. The severity of the impact itself was apparently very minor -- the other driver was in fact not sure if he'd actually been hit; this was confirmed by the lack of visible damage to his vehicle -- a Chevy mini-van, with a solid truck-like bumper. But the impact to my own car was all too evident... As you'll note in the pictures below.
Interestingly, the car is completely driveable. It seems, based on the visible point of contact and the apparent low speed of the actual impact (it wasn't enough to deploy the airbags), that the bumper of the other vehicle only touched the grille of my car's hood. And the hood appears to have cleanly buckled along a lateral axis... indeed doesn't even seem to have touch any other body panels, as you'll get a sense of from the pictures.
So, anyway.... called it in to my insurance right away. But since I'm in the process of heading to Idaho for several days (to see my mom's new house), I won't get a real quick start on getting actual repairs completed.
I captured some pictures of the aftermath, shown below -- grouped into "before" and "after" shots. I will add more details as the recovery process proceeds. It will hopefully be quick and painless, if not inexpensive.
Spoke with dealership and adjusters today (from beautiful Idaho). Seems that there is one shop they both agree on, Bee Line. I've agreed to use them for the repair, and paperwork is starting now so that things will be ready to go once I'm back in the South Bay.
Car drove home OK. Biggest issue was my embarrassment driving around a wrinkled car. No leaks have occurred since the accident, so I take this as a good sign.
Well, dropped off the baby this morning. Got an initial estimate ($2,750, ouch!). Because I observed that my headlights' aim is WAY too low for safe night driving, I'm picking up a rental car today instead of doing the usual process of waiting for the parts to arrive.
Called shop today to find that they apparently are just waiting on word about a remanufactured bumper. They apparently sub this out and have the option to reject what comes back in case it doesn't meet their standards.
A suitable remanufactured bumper was not available. They have all but one part for the newly ordered bumper. The rubber impact strip was sent , but for the wrong model. Also seems that there was damage to the headlamp assemblies, where they share a common attachment point with the bumper fascia. So those need to go as well.
Yeah! All the parts are in. Now they need to be painted -- prior to installation, so overspray won't be a problem. Unfortunately, the "master" painter is on vacation this week, so his cohort and a shop manager will be working together to see if they can match the color and proceed.
After many hours and several test panels, the color is still not matched. I'd secretly wondered whether it was just going to have to wait until the usual person was back from vacation, and the shop has suggested this very same thing. I'm miffed about the delay, but would rather have it done right instead of just rushed.
Painter didn't make it into work today due to car trouble. Lives in Los Banos, but I (only barely jokingly) suggested that I wouldn't mind picking him up and giving him a ride to work if it meant getting my car done sooner.
Painter made it in today and painting is apparently done. Reassembly may being today, but I gather there is some sort of prep-work necessary.
Well, it seems the re-assembly is going alright. Shop expects they may even finish with it today. Bad news is that they noticed a hose connected to the power steering is kinked. So, might be delayed more if they can't get the part today.
UPDATE: Got a call back and was told it'd be several days before the core they need to repair the dent (not a hose, but a metal pipe leading into the cooler) will be several days. So, they're trying to get the car back to me so that it won't be sitting ready to go except for that one piece.
Hooray! I picked up my (mostly) repaired car this evening. Looks FANTASTIC! I'll capture some pictures tomorrow morning when I can really get a look at it in the light. The only part left to be replaced (as far as we know, anyway) is a cooling tube that runs from the power steering pump, making a loop in front of the radiator. Seems it's crimped. It clearly isn't perforated, since it's been drivable ever since the accident without so much as a leak. But I'll take it back in once the new part is received by the shop.
The paint match is as good as I dare not hoped for. The shop did an excellent job. See the results for yourself.
Took the car in for the power steering part and a bit of buffing. The latter was needed because of some minor surface abrasion while the shop was buffing out the new paint job on the hood. And because the now smooth and shiny hood and bumper made the remaining chips at the front of the fenders so obvious, they were nice enough to fill and buff the major of them for me.
Although it almost certainly wasn't related to the accident, I had the broken foglamp lens taken care of today. Also resolved (at my usual dealership this time) was a persistent vibration in the steering within the first 5 minutes or so from a cold start. Turns out that the power steering fluid was EXTREMELY low... almost certainly a result of it not having been replaced (or topped off) when the tubing was replaced on 10/15.
UPDATE: Since the power steering fluid was returned to it's normal level, there has been no recurrence of the vibration.