Car workshop
0 View
Article Rating
1 звезда2 звезды3 звезды4 звезды5 звезд

Does leaking fluid mean car is totaled?

When Is a Car Considered Totaled?

An illustration of a person standing next to a crashed car scratching their head with the words: How to Know If Your Car Is Totaled

“Is my car totaled?” is a common question asked after a severe accident. A totaled car, or a total loss, is one that the insurance company would rather not pay to repair, because they’ve deemed it not worth the cost—they’d rather pay for you to get a new one.

However, the idea of defining a car as totaled (or not) only matters if you have comprehensive coverage.

If you only have liability coverage, and you total your vehicle, you’d better have a lot of money saved up, because not one cent of the damage to your own car is going to be covered. This is true whether you get into an accident, a tree falls on top of your car, a hailstorm pummels your car, or your car is stolen. But if you have collision and comprehensive coverage, you’re probably wondering whether or not you’re going to have to give up your totaled vehicle forever or just for as long as it takes to make repairs. (If you’re wondering whether you have to actually make the repairs once the insurance company has paid for them, the answer is complicated).

Many times, you would be amazed what a body shop can fix. Other times, with severe damage, you are much better off not repairing the vehicle and taking the total loss settlement from your insurer, as long as you’re covered by your insurance policy. In this article, you’ll learn more about what goes into determining whether a vehicle is a total loss and whether or not you can keep a totaled car.

Key Takeaways

  • Insurance companies declare a car to be a total loss if the damages exceed the market value.
  • State laws determine when an insurance company can declare your car totaled.
  • Airbag replacement can exceed the value of a vehicle after an accident, but not always.

A Totaled Car Is Determined by State Requirements

Different states have different definitions of a total loss vehicle. Some states consider a car totaled by using the guidelines that if a vehicle’s damage exceeds 80% of the actual cash value, it’s headed for the junkyard. Claims adjusters use specialized computer software to determine the cost of the damage versus the actual cash value. So, whether your car is totaled depends on your individual insurance company’s methods of calculating total loss, as well as your state’s laws.

Is the Car Automatically Totaled If My Airbag Deploys?

It is often said that a deployed airbag means a vehicle is totaled, which is not always true. The reason so many people believe this is because a high percentage of vehicles are totaled after the airbag deploys for a couple of reasons. Lots of people carry comprehensive coverage on aging vehicles, which have highly depreciated. Airbags are very expensive, upwards of $1,000. So, when an older-model vehicle has a deployed airbag, plus the body damage that caused the airbag to deploy in the first place, it often won’t be worth repairing—meaning that the car is totaled.


Example: John has a nine-year-old vehicle and carries comprehensive coverage on his insurance policy. He hits a deer on the highway, and his airbag deploys. The cost of replacing the airbag and the physical damage to the front end exceeds the total actual cash value of the vehicle. His insurance company totals his vehicle out because it’s not worth fixing.

Newer vehicles, depending on their value, could possibly be repaired. A new Hyundai Accent with a deployed airbag could fairly easily become a totaled car, whereas a new Cadillac Escalade might still be worth fixing.


Example: John is driving his six-month-old Cadillac Escalade on an icy highway. A traffic backup leaves him unable to stop, and he rear-ends another vehicle. His airbag is deployed, and there is front-end damage to his vehicle. The damage reaches 50% of the vehicle’s actual cash value, so the insurance company repairs John’s vehicle.

Can I Keep a Totaled Car?

It is possible to buy back your vehicle with a salvage title once it is deemed a total loss, though that is not usually a great idea, for a variety of reasons. Insurance companies pay actual cash value for a totaled car, minus the deductible. You have the option to pay the insurance company a small fee plus the salvage value of the vehicle in some states. Once you buy the vehicle back, it is yours to do with as you please. You will need to check with your insurance company to see whether any restrictions apply to insuring a vehicle with a salvage title.

Knowing whether or not your vehicle is totaled is the first step in the claims process. If you are still unsure whether or not your car is totaled, file your claim and ask your claims adjuster for more information. It is times like these in which you’ll learn a lot about the quality of the customer service provided by your insurance company.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you fight an insurance company’s decision on totaling a car?

Insurance companies are usually the ones who make the call on whether your car is totaled or not. If you think they’ve misjudged your situation, you can get it independently appraised. If the independent appraisal is significantly different than your insurance company’s appraisal, then you may be able to negotiate the car’s status. If you feel the insurance company has wronged you, you can contact your state’s insurance department.

What happens when a leased car is totaled?

Your debt is not affected when you total a car. If you still owe money on the car, you will be expected to pay it off. Depending on how much you owe, the insurance payout may help to cover your debt. Gap insurance is coverage you can get to prevent exactly these kinds of situations; if you total your car before you pay it off, gap insurance will give you the money you need to settle your debt.

Where can you sell a totaled car?

If the insurance company doesn’t keep the car, you can sell the totaled car to anyone who wants it as long as it has a salvage title. Some dealers or salvage specialists may be willing to buy it from you, but you may have to try to find a private individual who is willing to buy it.

How to tell if your salvage car has a blown head gasket

How to tell if your salvage car has a blown head gasket

More often than not, a blown head gasket is amongst the more serious of problems that a car can suffer, and in some cases it can be enough to turn it into a write-off or salvage car (some of which end up in our own online vehicle auctions here at RAW2K). That means spotting and diagnosing the problem early can sometimes be key to saving the car in question — so here’s everything you need to know about a head gasket, and how to tell when you’ve got one.

What is the head gasket?

Your car’s head gasket is a key component that’s situated between the cylinder head and the engine block. Its primary job is to keep the combustion chamber sealed, in order to maintain enough pressure for your engine to function smoothly.

To elaborate, if your car has a combustion engine, it’s essentially powered by explosions. A pressurised atmosphere is required for those explosions to happen, so your head gasket keeps compressed air and fuel inside the cylinder so that it can be effectively ignited and turned to energy that propels your car along. At the same time, it prevents coolant and oil from entering the combustion chamber so that it doesn’t contaminate the ignition process (and crucially, so that your car doesn’t lose precious fluids).

Now, since your head gasket is the first defence against these incredibly hot gases and liquids, then yes they are known to fail occasionally. So, how can you tell when this has happened?

How to tell when you have a blown head gasket

Unlike certain issues that can arise with your car, a head gasket may not necessarily immobilise it right away. True, sometimes this can happen, but often these sorts of issues develop slowly over time.

Your oil is contaminated

One of the most reliable signs that you’ve got a blown head gasket is a white milky substance appearing in the oil in your oil cap. Mechanics sometimes term this ‘mayonnaise’, or ‘milkshake’. (Let’s be honest, there are much worse potential names for it!) Coolant or antifreeze getting into the oil is a very bad sign, and antifreeze in particular can have a detrimental effect on your engine bearings. Repairing this issue often involves an engine oil flush at the very least, and a replacement of the engine oil filter. It can sometimes require complete disassembly of the bottom of your engine.

There’s white smoke coming from your engine exhaust

This is an issue that’s probably not going to escape your attention for a terribly long time; clouds of sweet-smelling white smoke billowing from your exhaust. This is generally caused by antifreeze seeping past your head gasket into the cylinders, where it then gets vaporised into steam. That’s what you’ll spot billowing out of your exhaust. There’s another undesirable side effect, too — namely in that it allows combustion pressure into the cooling system, which can again have a serious knock-on effect on how your car runs.

External fluid leak

Sometimes, an issue with your head gasket might manifest as a simple oil or coolant leak. While at first this might not seem like it’s such a serious problem, if your coolant gets too low, it leads to very unhealthy running conditions for your engine. It poses other dangers too — namely in that if leaking oil drips onto your hot exhaust, it can cause dense smoke and possibly even fire.

You notice problems with your engine

How your car ‘feels’ accounts for a big part of driving, so it’s a skill that even new drivers don’t have to take that long to settle into. That means if a problem develops with your engine, it probably won’t take you that long to notice. If it’s running poorly, skipping, underpowered, or ‘hesitating’ — that is, taking a bit longer to kick in even if your foot is on the accelerator — then there’s a pretty decent chance that it’s to do with your head gasket.

Can you drive with a blown head gasket?

You might find it’s possible, depending on how serious the issue is. But you really, really shouldn’t. It’s very risky and can even be dangerous. What’s more, even if it doesn’t put you in the way of actual harm, it can aggravate any developing problems and may even end up putting your car out of commission. Permanently.

If you’ve got the skill, tools and knowledge yourself though, you might find that you’re able to fix the issue yourself to a decent standard. That’s where we can help here at RAW2K. Our online car auctions are home to a huge range of salvage cars, which can be used for spare parts, or simply as second hand replacement vehicles. We’ve got makes and models from a wide array of manufacturers, like Ford, Renault and Mercedes. Why not take a look through our stock, and see what you can find?

Ссылка на основную публикацию