8 Signs Your Car Is Totaled

Owning a car provides a path to independence and the freedom to travel to new work opportunities or road trip adventures. It also carries the risk of getting in an accident, with an average of six million car accidents occurring in the United States annually. Minor accidents happen with damage you can fix at a car shop.

A more significant accident can result in a wrecked vehicle that isn’t worth your money to save. Knowing the signs that your car is totaled is critical after you’ve been in an accident to ensure you get the reimbursement you deserve.

Luckily, you’ve discovered the perfect spot to learn more about what to expect from a totaled car. Continue reading to diagnose the damage and know how to proceed after your accident today!

1. Leaking Fluids

Leaking fluids are a terrible sign when inspecting the damage to your car after an accident. Damage to a fluid tank is likely to result in a salvage claim, though the insurance company will want to look at the significance of the damage before making the final decision.

Two areas of concern are the oil pan and the pump system. You should also inspect your wrecked vehicle for signs of antifreeze, brake fluid, motor oil, and transmission fluid. Excessive fluid leaks should indicate that you should visit a local car shop to inspect your vehicle for further damage.

2. Widespread Front End Damage

Another sign that your car is totaled is a heavily damaged front end. Accidents where you’re rear-ended are less likely to result in damage that produces a totaled car. The trunk absorbs much of the force of the other vehicle, limiting damage to expensive engine and transmission components.

Most of your car’s essential features for driving are located in the front of the vehicle. An accident that wrecks the front of your car likely did more than cause cosmetic damage. All it takes is an accident at 30 miles per hour to cause damage to these essential components and total your car.

3. Bent Frame

Your automobile should never have a bent frame or extensive frame damage. The repairs for a bent or damaged frame are costly, and it’s often easier to purchase a new car to replace the wrecked one. If you see any signs of a bent or damaged frame, the odds are good that the insurance company will total your vehicle.

Cracks in the frame and damage to the suspension are other factors determining the decision to total your car. Metal-on-metal noises are another cause for concern if you’re worried about frame damage after an accident.

Damage is only sometimes evident, so look for signs of uneven wear on tires and replacement parts that don’t fit your vehicle. These clues will help you prove your car has a damaged or bent frame.

4. Engine Is Dead

Realizing that your engine won’t turn over or start after an accident points toward a wrecked or totaled car. The engine’s lack of initiative could result from a loose belt or significant and widespread damage to multiple engine components.

Check your engine for signs of damage to confirm if the components were destroyed during the car accident. If you see visible structural damage to your car’s engine, it’s a sign you have a totaled car, and contact the service department at CardinaleWay Mazda Mesa.

5. Obstructed View

Some accidents cause more damage than others, but it’s never a good sign when you have an obstructed view out the windshield from the driver’s seat. The hood and engine components could sustain damage that blocks the view from the driver’s seat.

When checking the damage after your car accident, you can also expect bent fenders and a damaged bumper. A hood that won’t close is another expensive repair, and your insurance company will likely choose to total your vehicle.

6. Airbags

There are exceptions to every rule, but a good rule of thumb with a wrecked vehicle is that it’s too expensive to repair if the airbags are deployed. Part of the expense is the cost of airbag replacement in your car. Airbags cost thousands of dollars to replace after you’re involved in an accident.

Attempting to replace the airbags in an older car is also not feasible. The cost outweighs the benefits, and the insurance company will likely give you money and cut their losses.

7. Your Car Is Aging

Age plays a significant role in determining whether to total a car after an accident. The car’s actual cash value is determined by its condition, mileage, and age. Most old cars aren’t worth fixing after sustaining damage from an accident with another vehicle.

Ten years is a reasonable cut-off when determining what constitutes an old car. A car with high mileage in this age range has experienced severe depreciation. Moderate repairs will cost significant money due to finding or manufacturing the replacement parts for the vehicle repairs.

8. Fire or Flood Damage

Car accidents aren’t the only cause of a totaled car. Elements like fire and water can cause widespread damage to your car, causing your insurance provider to assess the signs your car is totaled. Water damage is challenging to repair with modern vehicles due to the number of electrical components.

Fire damage is also significant and challenging to repair. It’s much more straightforward for your insurance provider to analyze the damage and generate an estimate for repairs before labeling it as a totaled car.

A vehicle that got submerged underwater is unlikely ever to start again. Cutting your losses and shopping for a replacement vehicle is best.

Now You Know the Signs Your Car Is Totaled

Knowing the sure signs your car is totaled is valuable to help you set expectations and map out a future after the insurance provider inspects it. Leaking fluids and significant damage to the front of the vehicle are clear signs you have a totaled car. A bent frame is another reason for insurance providers to total your wrecked vehicle.

Cars are impressive and complex machines, and learning more about them can aid you as a car owner. Explore more of our Automotive blog articles for the best tips and info today!

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