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2004 Es330 Possibly Total Loss - Salvage?


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My beloved, perfect ES 330 (95,000 miles) was just smashed by a red-light runner and I'm waiting for the adjuster to determine whether they can repair it or not. It was valued at just under $13,000 by my insurer but there is damage to the sub-frame around the engine so it may not even be repairable.

Does anybody have any advice for me in this situation regarding future safety if they do repair it? I'm also wondering if it would be worth me buying the salvage vehicle if it is is declared a total loss and trying to part it out. Everything but the front fenders and hood is in exceptional condition and the engine is running perfectly too. I just had the 90,000 mile service done a week before the accident (!Removed! typical) and had the belt and water pump replaced.

Interior is flawless after having it fully detailed as part of the 90,000 service too.


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Kind of hard to grin after that. I share your pain.

Did the air bags fire? The seat belt pretensioners? If they did, add the cost of rebuild parts and labour and I suspect you're looking at a write off. If the bags didn't fire or the seat belts, it may be a possible fixer upper, but with CarFax, etc., and the next possible owner discovering the damage, it may prove hard to find a buyer or even trade it.

Then again, if you can fix it yourself, and after the fix it has no bad habits, you could get lots of great driving years out of her. But its a crap shoot.

If it were mine (I have a shop to work on it and the expertise to do the body work and paint, a bunch of other vehicles to drive in the meantime, am retired and have the cash to do the job) I'd go for the fix. If you're not in this kind of similar situation, it might be best to let the insurance company write it off and deal with the wreck.

You could be quite a long time storing the wreck until you even break even with selling parts (after buying the wreck from the insurance company).

Keep us posted as to how it all works out. Hope it works out for you, but ... you walked away from the accident man! It could have been far worse! Good Luck!

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Thanks for the response. No, the airbags didn't go off...the side curtains didn't deploy either so that expense isn't present. The safety features of the car did exactly what was required and I got out of this with just some soft-tissue injuries that physical therapy will sort out.

I guess my concern is that if the insurers decide to repair the vehicle how sure can I be that it will be as good as it was before the accident? Do I have the right to insist on some sort of safety inspection? The sell-on problem is another concern too. My intention was to drive this for a long time but you never know. The fact that it has had major front-end damage will certainly be disclosed so it may cause me a problem down the road with prospective buyers.

I may get $13,000 for the wreck, but it will cost me $20,000 to get back into a car of the same level.

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My experience on the last 2 ES's we've purchased for my wife. First ... let some other person pay the hit on the depreceation ... so we buy our vehicles 2 or 3 years old, that scream of "pride of ownership".

Her 2nd E ,an 04, was hit in the front right corner previously, welds and rust on the top corner of the rad saddle telegraphed a mild hit, possibly new headlight, front fender, etc. The car had 41 000 km's and was pristine with a complete service history. It drove and treated us fabulously till it was just time for an upgrade last year, after my Bride officially retired.

Here in Ontario, Canada, the government has since mandated that all accidents and repairs associated be reported to the next buyer. We traded the 04 on a 2011 ES with 38 000 km's, absolutely loaded to the teeth with every option. Its a honey and early in its life it was hit to the extent of a "reported .. $24000".

The car was repaired and the original owner continued to drive the car until we purchased it from where he traded it in on a Honda Van, due to a family change. The fact that the original owner had found no reason to trade it after the collision damage fix for 2.5 years, told me that it was fixed correctly. That and the fact that it came with a complete service history, and I spent 2 hours crawling all over and under the car on a hoist to check everything out (backyard mechanic whose been in the backyard for many years).

I defy anyone to find a hint of any repair damage, and I seriously doubt that the amount of damage reported, was actually done to the tune of $24 000, which would have been half the value of the car at the time, and it would have been written off rather than repaired.

We've now had the car just over a year and it runs flawlessly. My wife loves it. I might add as well, that where we bought the 2011 ES took her 04 ES on trade and put it right up front on their lot, in the same position as the 2011 we traded up to. The 04 sold in two days.

My point is, that your damage doesn't look all that bad, and if its fixed correctly, you may find it will continue to give you years of great driving for far less than the payments on a new one. That said, if after its repaired it just isn't the same ... deal it. Selling a used ES is not hard at all, if its been taken care of. Good luck making your decision!

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Thanks for that reply.

The insurer called me today and has declared the vehicle a total loss. I can either take a check for $12,700 and they keep the vehicle, or I take $9,500 and I keep the vehicle. If I keep the vehicle then presumably it would be a salvage title meaning selling it on would be very difficult.

I think I'm going to have to let her go and just look for an upgrade.

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