We recently repaired a Nissan Pathfinder that had already been in an accident and had repair work done to it. This Pathfinder was hit almost in the same spot as the prior accident. In the other accident, Blaise Alexander Hyundai’s collision center repaired the SUV based on a recommendation from Geico. Even though Geico told them to go to Balise Hyundai, the customer was never satisfied with the work performed.
When the Pathfinder was in the second collision, it came to us here at Mid Island Collision. We had Geico come out an inspect the Pathfinder together and before any of our work is performed. We also received a copy of the work order from the prior accident repair. We informed Geico that to do a complete estimate for the corrective repairs, we would need to take the car apart. Geico agreed. As we started to disassemble the Pathfinder, we began finding more and more evidence of improper repair, and evidence of work that Blaise Hyundai was paid for but never performed including safety equipment that was never installed. Here is what we found.
Here we have the Pathfinder partially disassembled.
Here you can see seam sealer that was applied sloppily and not made to appear factory correct. But what we found under the seam sealer was more troubling.
Here we have removed the seam sealer, and evidence of improper welding has occurred.
Here in the tail light recess, we see more evidence of sloppy seam sealer hiding bad welds.
Just below this section in the photo when we removed the seam sealer, we found gaping holes in the metalwork that had been patched and hidden by seam sealer. (see the area in red circles below)
Here is another view of that same area above. This is the whole repair area with the seam sealer removed. The damages do not stop here.
In this view, we are looking at the back side of the panel shown above. The “new” panel is in black while the surrounding silver areas are existing structure. Of note, a common area that bad shops cut corners on is not painting the backside of a replacement panel after it is installed. This makes a bad repair easy to spot but worse, paint is intended for corrosion protection. Even though the customer will never see this area since the interior trim hides it, it should be painted.
But even worse than not being painted is the fact that it is not even properly welded in as you can see from the photo above.
There is also torn sheet metal from where the panel was improperly removed, and there is corrosion throughout.
And the areas where there is welding, there is either burn through (see smokey area below), or there is a complete lack of weld penetration in the area below the smoky weld. There is also zero corrosion protection, and you can see that rust has begun to form at the welds.
Following this same panel now from the outside again and at the bottom where it mates to the trunk section, we see evidence of improper welding at the pinch welds.
Here inside the wheel well where it mates to the quarter panel, we see evidence of the same improper welding.
Along with the window opening, where the quarter panel meets the window structure, we find more evidence of improper or missing welds.
The customer also complained that there were issues with the AC Unit. What we found were accident-related damages to the air unit electrification, that were causing a fire hazard. Geico paid Blaise Hyundai to perform repairs that were never done to this unit.
Here you can see that the air unit that Geico paid to replace was not only never replaced but severely damaged. This created a potential fire hazard to the vehicle owner.
When checking to see why the side curtain airbags did not deploy in the accident, we found that there was no airbag sensor even in the vehicle.
This Pathfinder was a leased vehicle. In an effort to help protect its customer, Mid Island helped the customer file a diminished value claim due to all the incorrect repairs. We brought in our own Engineers and consultants to prepare a diminished value claim. We pulled original police reports, carfax and MV104’s. Geico is denying any diminished value.
Mid Island held the car for this customer and made the payments on their behalf while the lease ran out. We helped the customer get into another, much safer vehicle. Currently, we are suing Geico and the other body shop to get the diminished value payment and hope to get the shop to buy back the vehicle.
Owners unknowingly find themselves in these positions because they trust their insurance companies. They trust the guidance given to them and they trust that all auto body repair shops are trained professionals who care about the safety and financial well being of their customers. But this is not always the case. In this example, this previous body shop who was under the gun to stick to tight deadlines by the insurer and to make a profit while being squeezed by the insurance company cut so many corners that the customer was never satisfied with the repairs. According to Bobby Jespberger owner of Mid Island Collision, “these auto body shops are knowingly assaulting these vehicles and chopping them with weapons.”