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Discussion Starter #1
Me and my daughter were in her clio tonight parked in Tesco's car park stuffing our face with goodies before going home. :) While sitting there we were suddenly shaken and realised we had been hit from behind. I jumped out the car to see a large van had reversed into us.

He got out and apologised and said he couldnt see due to the weather. It was absolutely pouring down and windy really bad. Fair enough but why reverse park in a space behind us when almost the whole car park was empty :confused: So i wiped over the bumper with my hand to see if i could see any damage but i couldnt see any. Now considering the terrible weather and that it was in the dark i wasnt totally confident that all was ok and explained to him that i would like his details if when we checked tomorrow there was any damage. He was fine with that and i took his registration and he gave me the letter headed paper from the company (works van).

What i would like to know is other than any visible damage on the bumper is there anything else we should look for? Is there any other parts it cold have affected? Not really sure like what but i was wondering due to being parked and having the handbrake on could that have got any damage or fittings of the bumper? Any comments would be appreciated. Will have a look tomorrow in the daylight and hopefully dry weather.

I dont want to take it further if not neccesary but my daughter passed her test December and this is her first car which she is working hard for to pay back the money and dont want it messed up for her.
 

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Just look over the rear of the car carefully in daylight, and (if you haven't already tried it) make sure the boot still opens and closes properly, and that the gaps on each side (shut lines) look sensible.

Other than that, any damage will be cosmetic, so if you can't see any, then there isn't a problem. Generally speaking, it takes a fairly solid hit to actually distort any of the car's components. I've had the driver behind roll into the back of my car before now, and definitely felt the impact from the driver's seat, but there's been absolutely no damage.

If you really want to be sure, then get a good bright torch, lie on the floor (I hope it's not raining where you are) and get your head right under the bumper. If it's like our 04 Clio, then the bumper is held on mainly by two large white plastic mouldings. Check those for signs of stress, distortion or damage. Also check the bodywork under there for signs of distortion. I don't think the Clio suffers from the problem, but some cars (e.g. early Mondeos) will happily break the bumper mounts without showing any signs of cosmetic damage to the bumper. Apparently that's why you used to see so many Mondeos flying down the motorway with their back bumpers wobbling like demented jellies.
 

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Hi, I'd also have a check in the hatch, lift the carpet and check for cracked paint and/or ripples in the floorpan esp. where the floor and body meet and the edge of the spare wheel well.

Hope it helps :)
 

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Damage to rear

Is the car still under waranty - any minor cracks or breaks in the sealing material between joints may have got cracked or damaged and if the car is still under anti-rust warranty - it will now be null and void. Take it to a professional and if charged send the bill to the offending party - why take the chance.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks everyone for all your advice. After hearing some of your stories its made me give it a thorough going over, even got out there with a mirror to look under where the bolts go etc for the bumper.

Im pleased ive had a good look though as after checking bolts etc which seem ok, ive rechecked the actual surface of the bumper (back bumper to be more clear) and there is damage. Its hard to explain what its like though but i would say its shattered the plastic if that makes sense. Kind of like loads of hairline cracks like you would get on a dinner plate.

So ive phoned the works company (not heard of them myself but looked up on internet and seem a very big company who do refits on stores etc heating, ventilation systems etc worth many thousands of pounds) but office is closed until Monday. I have left a message about why im ringing and that i will phone back Monday. Im assuming thats why he was there as our Tesco has just had a refit.

I have a little problem that i have to admit to and that is although i took the registration and have got the letter headed paper i did not ask his name. I did say does he always use the van and he said that it was his van so hopefully it will be ok.

So now, do we just get a couple of quotes for the work and pass on to his insurance when we find out the details from the office on Monday? My daughter has got legal cover and is insured fully comp but being young she has a $400 (pound sign not working) excess, so if we can deal direct i think it would be better. I know she would get the money back but its having it to begin with.
 

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Damage to rear end -Ouch!

It takes very little impact to damage so-called bumpers on modern cars. Contact your insurance company immediately - any delay could mean you are out of pocket. Get the car to a VBRA (Vehicle Body Repairers Association) registered repair shop (your insurers can advise) - insurers will accept nothing less. Good repair shops now take photographs of the damage so a record is kept in the event of any dispute at a later stage. If the owner of the other vehicle is prepared to put it through their insurance - both insurance companies involved usually come to an arrangement between themselves - this usually negates the need to cough up for the access charge. They sort it out themselves. Be wary of coming to an arrangement between yourself and the owners concerned as they may try to arrange repairs by a cowboy repairer. Also you may find your insurer has an arrangement whereby you get a loan car whilst yours is being repaired. I know it's nice to be "nice" but go to your insurers as they can handle it in a professional manner. Thus keeping you from being personally involved. Good Luck!:)
 

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Im pleased ive had a good look though as after checking bolts etc which seem ok, ive rechecked the actual surface of the bumper (back bumper to be more clear) and there is damage. Its hard to explain what its like though but i would say its shattered the plastic if that makes sense. Kind of like loads of hairline cracks like you would get on a dinner plate.

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The damage you have seen is basically where the plastic bumper has absorbed the impact, it has deformed sufficiently to break the paint layer. The bumper will have returned to its original shape, but the paint won't have. I've repaired this type of damage without any difficulty or needing to remove/replace the bumper. Any suitably qualified SMART Technician could do this, but I would be inclined (just in case of any difficulties in liability further down the line) to go through the insurance.

A lot to be said for the old metal bumpers with the over-riders!

Paul:)
 

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Rear end damage

Yeh it could probably be repainted assuming the cracks are only in the paint but once plastic has been stressed beyond its point of elasticity it will suffer internal stresses which at this stage cannot be seen by the naked eye. Eventually these stresses can develop into fracture lines. I have seen plastic bumpers repainted after damage only for the cracks to reappear sometime later. Most good insurance assessors will not accept bumper repairs but will insist on a full new replacement bumper as supplied by the original manufacturer. With most modern cars the full extent of the damage can only be assessed by removing the bumper and inspected the body panels behind it. Additionally the cost of painting a bumper is somewhat more expensive that a metal body panel as the paint needs special additives (adhesion promoters, plasticisers, etc.) to prevent the paint from cracking or falling off. It is was mine I wouldn't faff about - do it through the insurers - if its not your fault what you got to worry about. Hurray for the old metal bumper along with its chrome over-riders, etc - but oh! - were they heavy and rust and corrosion became a problem.
 

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Yeh it could probably be repainted assuming the cracks are only in the paint but once plastic has been stressed beyond its point of elasticity it will suffer internal stresses which at this stage cannot be seen by the naked eye. Eventually these stresses can develop into fracture lines. I have seen plastic bumpers repainted after damage only for the cracks to reappear sometime later. Most good insurance assessors will not accept bumper repairs but will insist on a full new replacement bumper as supplied by the original manufacturer. With most modern cars the full extent of the damage can only be assessed by removing the bumper and inspected the body panels behind it. Additionally the cost of painting a bumper is somewhat more expensive that a metal body panel as the paint needs special additives (adhesion promoters, plasticisers, etc.) to prevent the paint from cracking or falling off. It is was mine I wouldn't faff about - do it through the insurers - if its not your fault what you got to worry about. Hurray for the old metal bumper along with its chrome over-riders, etc - but oh! - were they heavy and rust and corrosion became a problem.
Hi Noel, I would agree with most of what you are saying (especially the part about going through the insurance), fact is - if the job is undertaken correctly, plastic bumpers can be repaired successfully with no problems at all - I've been repairing them for almost 18 months, and never had a problem. So long as the bumper is correctly prepared, repair carried out, primered, smoothed down, top coat and lacquer (if applicable), and this is all done indoors - with no rushing the job, then a perfectly acceptable job is the result. (Its when people miss or rush things along, then sub-standard work is the result.
Insurance companies prefer to replace mainly because its cheaper (less labour costs in removing and the repair/preparatory time).
Regarding car weights, I think you'll find that the average family car is a lot heavier these days than one from 20 years ago (by as much as 3-4 passengers) due to increased size and all the airbags & electrics being involved.

Good debate though!

Paul:)
 
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