This week I am missing my LEAF. A deer hit my LEAF the day before Thanksgiving. This week I took my vehicle in to the Auto Body shop. So I am LEAFless !!
I already miss the backup camera when parking plus the smooth, responsive and quiet ride. The repair will take 10 days or more.
After the collision, I took my vehicle to Bradshaw’s next door to Newton Nissan where I bought the vehicle. I thought being next door to the dealer would be good, if the body shop had questions regarding the new technology or needed spare parts they had experts close by. I got an estimate, however the estimator missed an optional extra I had purchased and was in no hurry to correct the estimate. I also found myself disagreeing with the estimator where the wind noise was coming from. He felt the drivers door was repairable, I felt is was buckled beyond repair. I decided to shop around.
Nationwide insurance by and large have been great. Unfortunately things got off to a slow start due to the fact the collision occurred during the Thanksgiving holiday period. Nationwide require you to have your vehicle inspected by their adjuster, so scheduling that appointment took longer than normal. I was pleased and surprised that the adjuster issued a check on the spot made out to me and the body shop. Nationwide like for you to use one of their ‘Blue Ribbon’ shops, but this isn’t mandatory you can go anywhere you wish.
I was especially pleased that the adjuster correctly identified the door as being beyond economical repair and said he’d get a new one fitted. The hood was also condemned and a new hood included in the estimate. He also included the optional extra bumper protector in the estimate. I came away feeling I had been fairly treated. Nationwide certainly acted like they are ‘on my side’. The estimator was surprised at the cost of a replacement headlight, over $900!!
I discovered that the LEAF utilizes aluminum body panels and requires appropriate procedures to be applied in repairing them. My insurance agent helped me identify a body shop that has experience fixing cars that utilize aluminum body panels. The LEAF is in good company, Audi. Mercedes and BMW use aluminum in their cars. The LEAF can justifiably be called a ‘little Mercedes’ 🙂
Enterprise were short of vehicles when I picked up the rental and gave me a free upgrade to a Chevy Suburban. Ironic going from 106mpg equivalent all electric vehicle to a gas guzzler. Realizing the irony, Enterprise gave me a half tank of gas for free. I’ve since switched the vehicle out for a Malibu, not because of the cost of running the vehicle, but simply because it was a really tight fit in my garage!!
The body shop I chose is Accurate Autobody of Nashville, they are a Nationwide blue ribbon shop, and repair high end aluminum panel cars regularly. The day I took my car in I was their fifth customer that day to have a vehicle brought in with deer damage, it seems to be the season for deer strikes. When choosing the shop I asked if they had experience with aluminum panels and the estimator confirmed that and said that there isn’t much one can do with aluminum economically, it’s simply cheaper to replace the aluminum with new panels. This confirmed my decision to avoid Bradshaw’s, they proposed repairing the door and hood. I suspect they missed the fact they were aluminum.
One neat feature of the Nationwide auto body shops is that the body shop is required by Nationwide to post two pictures of your vehicle to Nationwide’s website each day. I have logged in to and view progress to my vehicle.
The repairs have got off to a slow start. Initially the body shop were going to transport the car to the dealer to have the main traction battery disconnected to make the vehicle safe to work on. After talking with the dealer they have opted to do this themselves, it’s relatively easy as Nissan provide an emergency disconnect inside the vehicle for first responders to disable a vehicles battery if it is involved in an accident. The estimator at Accurate Autobody said that Nissan have been very quick to provide plenty of information and precautions they need to take working on an electric vehicle. It’s good to see Nissan proactively supporting the body shops in repairing their vehicles.
The news from the body shop is that there is no suspension damage and the alignment will be a trivial task. Glad to hear there is no hidden damage.
I’ll post an update when the car is closer to being fixed.
Got the car back on the 23rd, it was gone for 2 1/2 weeks. Wow I missed it. Had to readjust to the quite ride, I was soon doing 25 over the posted limit without realizing it.
Here’s how I grade the companies in fixing my car.
- Nationwide Insurance – A
- Enterprise Car Rental – A++
- Accurate AutoBody – B
- Bradshaw’s Autobody – F- (AIL), didn’t use them.
Nationwide cut me a check the day the adjuster inspected the vehicle. Agent was helpful in recommending a shop that had experience with Aluminum body panels. Apparently the LEAF joins the Audi, Mercedes and BWM as an aluminum body panel car. Their Blue Ribbon shops are required to post 2 photos each day. This was very cool feature on their website.
Enterprise were totally awesome. Because they only had a Suburban when I showed up they gave me a 1/2 tank of fuel for free, since it was the total opposite of my fuel efficient LEAF. When I got it swapped out at a few days later, they showed me their inventory and asked, which one do you want? No cost difference. Free Kuerig coffee in waiting room. I’ll use them again for sure.
Accurate Autobody were a little slow to get started on repairs, but were very communicative, respectful and quick to respond to questions and concerns. I had to knock them down to a B when grading because there are 5-6 small flaws in the repair work. They have agreed to fix it all at my convenience, but given they had it 2 1/2 weeks it should have been close to perfect.
I wanted to use Bradshaw’s because they are next door to the dealer I purchased the vehicle. Figured the Nissan mechanics would help them with the EV differences/precautions. However the estimate was way low, they wanted to repair the panels rather than replace (not advisable with aluminum), missed some small details and I found myself disagreeing with them where the source of wind noise was coming from. If you can’t get the customer happy before the sale there won’t be a sale. F-