The car insurance companies are in business to reimburse you for your loss after a collision. That can come in the form of a repair or in the form of a check if your car ends up being totaled. With regard to collision repair shops, Insurance companies attempt to cut their losses and often refuse to pay for parts or procedures that are necessary in order to properly repair a vehicle to the way the factory wants it to be repaired.
What is even more egregious, however, is when a supposed OEM certified repair shop tries to cheat the Insurance company or tries to make themselves look good in the eyes of the insurance companies by not performing repairs that were already approved in an effort to save the insurance company money. In the end, it is the customer who suffers from an unsafe repair, and diminished value of their vehicle. Such was the case with this BMW X3 that recently came to our shop for a repair.
When we received this BMW, It had just been involved in a collision that impacted the drivers’ side front bumper, fender, and door. After examining the collision damage we noticed that the vehicle had received collision repair at some point in the past. When we asked the owner about it, he stated that about a year and a half ago he was rear-ended and it caused his car to also hit the car in front of him, causing damage to both ends of his BMW. The repairs were performed by Rallye Motors in Roslyn NY.
Here is what we found and had to re-do on the back:
Examination of the panel and adjacent components revealed factory seam sealer at the mating flanges to the left and right lower quarter extension panels. After removal of the rear opening weatherstrip, and after examination of the upper mating flange to the inner rear body panel and to the lower mating flange to the rear floor pan we found adhesive residue and or rivets.
We also found multiple circular welds(plug welds) on the upper and lower mating flanges of the rear body panel to the inner rear body panel and rear floor pan.
Also noted were multiple indications of corrosion to the welded areas.
Additional examination of the rear body panel, in the area of the rear bumper reinforcement to the left and right lower uni-rails, revealed uneven areas to the panel and multiple indications of corrosion.
Rear body panel (destructive testing)-we assisted the technician from Mid IslandCollision in removing paint material from the rear body panel, in and around the areas of the rear bumper mounting on the left and right sides of the rear body panel.
After removal of the paint material on the upper and lower mating flanges, and in the areas around bumper reinforcement mounting we observed body filler applications that should not be there if this were truly a BMW OEM repair.
Additional examination of the left and right bumper mounting areas showed evidence to indicate Metal Active Gas (MAG)welding applications.The upper and lower mating flanges showed evidence to indicate applications of MAG plug welds.
After this evidence was uncovered the rear body panel was removed.
Inner rear body panel-examination of the inner rear body panel showed multiple MAG plug welds to the upper and lower mating flanges and vertical weld damage (melt-through damage to the flanges)to the left and right rear bumper mounting brackets.
An OEM replacement mounting flange should look like the ones in the bottom of the photo. The ones removed from the vehicle are in the top photo.
Examination of the backside of the rear body panel revealed no applications of corrosion resistant primer and or anti-corrosion compounds. Multiple areas or excessive heat applications and weld-burn through to the backside of the rear body panel. Also noted were applications of red colored paint material and applications of adhesive material to the center mating flange and inner vertical mating flanges.
This panel has clearly been patched in with another panel to save costs or time. A proper BMW repair would require an entirely new panel replacement, not just sections.
Rear floor pan-examination of the rear floor pan revealed uneven and inconsistent applications of seam sealer to the mating flange of the floor pan to the rear body panel. Also noted were multiple deformities to the floor pan. No rivets were observed to the mating flange area. Evidence uncovered indicated little time and effort was spent in repair attempts to the rear body panel.
Battery-on the GEICO estimate the replacement of the battery was allocated. Examination of the battery case revealed multiple deformities and gouges to the left rear area of the case. No battery was listed on the Rallye final invoice indicating that the new battery was never purchased.
Left front headlamp and left fog lamp assemblies-the GEICO repair estimate listed the replacement of the headlamp assembly and fog lamp assembly. The invoice from Rallye Motors did not list the replacement of the headlamp or fog lamp assemblies. Evidence uncovered indicates both components were not changed.
Additional examination of the left headlamp assembly revealed adhesive product applications to the lower mounting tab. The other mounting tabs were unremarkable. Generally, more than one mounting tab fractures during a collision event, as the applied impact forces must be great enough to displace the lamp assembly to fracture a tab, which would cause at minimum, damage to another tab.
Examination of the left fog lamp housing revealed a fracture with tool type impact markings. The tool type impacting markings are consistent with an interaction with a sharp bladed object, such as a pair of diagonal-cutting pliers or similar object intentionally induced into the component.
Moving on to the Front bumper impact bar(reinforcement), upon examination of the front bumper reinforcement we found multiple impact markings to the left side edge. The GEICO repair estimate listed the replacement of the front impact bar, and the invoice from Rallye Motors listed replacement of the cross member bumper. Evidence uncovered suggests the front bumper impact bar(reinforcement) was not changed.
Also noted, no tool type impact markings were observed to the mounting bolts supporting the impact bar was not replaced.
In conclusion, our examination of the rear of the vehicle uncovered evidence to indicate that incorrect repair procedures were attempted and caused damage to adjacent rear components. These components include the left and right quarter extensions panels, inner rear body panel and rear floor pan. At issue here is the fact that these items that were paid for by GEICO and were owed to the customer, but they were not purchased or installed by the repair facility. These items were not listed on the Rallye final invoice, as Rallye did not itemize their operations performed, which is required as per NewYork State Department of Motor Vehicles regulations-82. Also noted were multiple indications of intentionally induced damage fabrications. For the sake of comparison, here are a few of the panels that were removed and replaced by mid Island Collision the proper OEM way. Where possible we have photographed the new parts next to the removed parts so that you can see what damages were done to the vehicle through this shoddy repair.
Here we have the OEM replacement trunk pan with the OEM extension panels next to the pan we removed from the vehicle.
Here we have the OEM inner rear panel compared to the one removed from the BMW.
Probably one of the worst aspects of this butchered repair is the outer rear panel. Compared to the OEM repair panel it is obvious where the shop simply cut out the damaged section and welded in a piece from either another vehicle or from an actual panel. The Shop chose to do this in order to cut corners and save time with no regard to the longevity of the repair or the safety of the vehicle owner.
Equally as dangerous, these parts below are where the bumper supports are mounted. As you can see the previous shop simply cut through these while slicing in the panel shown above and welded them back in place. While welding is certainly a strong method of joining two metals, this is not where welding should be done. The safe thing to do would be to replace the mounting flanges as shown below.
Once again this is another example of how the insurance companies pressure on high volume DRP repair shops leads to major corners being cut, customers getting less than what they are owed and in many cases even an unsafe vehicle. This also proof of how easy it is for a body shop to hide bad repair and still get paid for it.
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