The collision course

The metal is mashed in.

THE HELLACIOUS Honda met its match yesterday in the form of a commercial truck in the nearby capital city. It received a hurtful blow to the back left side, damaging both the fender, if such a thing still exists, and the bumper, likewise.

The black steel thing you see below is something I added years ago after a little mishap of my own doing. I, ahem, backed into a light pole. But pretend that didn’t happen.

The truck driver pulled over, got out, stated that I was at fault. I wasn’t. He then got back into his truck and drove off. No surprise there. Most Mexicans do not own insurance, and it’s not required like in the United States. It is stupid not to have it, however.

The important thing to remember in these circumstances is NOT to call the cops. The exception might be if there were injuries. Even then, I would call an ambulance first and then the adjuster. See what he says.

I phoned my insurance company, and an adjuster arrived posthaste. I had noted the license plate of the truck, but he was not interested, which was no surprise. He took my info, and gave me a piece of paper with instructions to go to an authorized repair shop within two weeks. I would owe a deductible of about 5,000 pesos ($270 U.S.).

We drove back to the mountaintop and headed to our mechanic’s garage. She recommended a body shop here that does “very good work but is a little expensive.”

We drove straight over there.

They’ll do the repairs, plus a little ding on the far side from a couple of years ago, for the grand sum of 3,000 pesos ($160 U.S.). The insurance company’s repair shop is in the state capital, 50 kilometers away, plus God knows how long they’d kidnap the car.

The body shop here says I can drop it off early tomorrow, and it will be ready Saturday. I’m pretty sure this work would cost thousands in the United States because it would not be repaired. It would all be replaced, especially at a dealership.

It’s great to live in Mexico where common sense and abundant talent exists.

The plastic “fender” is buckled.
Separation anxiety.

18 thoughts on “The collision course

  1. If Mexico is awash in common sense, it also has a surplus of pendejos, particularly given that car insurance is not mandatory, so most people don’t have any, and that if you get hit, you’re on your own. I also got rear-ended a few years ago by a dump truck, and they guy just walked off after negotiating a propina with the cop. Also, unless you’re familiar with the kind of work the body shop does, you might want to do a little comparison shopping. Sorry, Felipe, but your non-stop praise of Mexico and everything Mexican just hit a brick wall, so to speak. Traffic laws and the enforcement thereof are not one of the country’s strong points.


    1. Señor Lanier: Just because common sense and talent are abundant here, and they are, does not mean there isn’t also a load of idiocy and shoddy work, though I think manual labor in Mexico is far more often good than shoddy. We are handy people. As for one’s being on one’s own if there’s a traffic accident, not so if you have good insurance. I hope you have good insurance. I recommend Qualitas.

      As for the body shop we’ll be using, as I said, I went first to my mechanic — actually, the garage owner who is a woman — to get a recommendation. I’ve been using her garage for years. They are very good and very honest, so I am sure the recommendation is good too. If I went for other estimates, it would be body shops that are unknown regarding the work quality. I’ll stick with the one that was recommended. I was gobsmacked by the price. Oddly, my wife was not.

      Nonstop praise of Mexico? You haven’t been paying close attention. I mention my new nation’s warts fairly often. But I prefer to emphasize the positive, it is true. I recall your accident and its repercussions. As I mentioned to you then, you should never have called the police.


  2. A little over a year ago, a pendeja ran into my new car outside of CFE. Like your truck driver, she raged that it was my fault. Letting her know that I could rage right back, I quickly took photos of her vehicle, mine, and hers, later posting them online. A quick search revealed she hadn’t paid her car taxes for years.

    Meanwhile, I called my insurance company, who said the adjuster would be over right away, telling me to wait. I did. He didn’t show. I called again. Wait 30 minutes more, they said. The next call revealed he was on vacation. What was I supposed to do, wait until he returned from vacation? Yet another call to the insurance company yielded a promise that an adjuster would be on his way from Morelia, which the insurance company insisted was but 15 minutes away. Some guy drove up in old beat-up car, smoking a cigarette and using a walker. Poor guy, at least he was pleasant, took the report, and told me the damage was likely below the deductible. I had the repairs done in my barrio, changing to another insurance company at my earliest opportunity.


    1. Ms. Shoes: I recall that accident of yours. If the pendeja hadn’t paid her car taxes, I imagine she had no insurance either. I recommend Qualitas to you. Unlike other insurance companies, it only does motor vehicles, and the adjuster showed up pretty quick. This is just the second accident I’ve had in last 20 years in Mexico. The first was in Mexico City over a decade ago in our previous car. That was not my fault either. I called my company, Mapfre at the time, and he called his, Qualitas. The Qualitas adjuster showed up faster than the Mapfre guy, which I made a mental note of. I later switched, obviously.


        1. Ms. Shoes: Don’t we all? One thing I realized clearly yesterday is that unless it’s major damage, perhaps totaled, or someone is injured, you’re better off just getting it repaired yourself most of the time. That last accident, a decade back in Mexico City, I also ignored the insurance company and just had it done myself at a local body shop. Did not cost much and far more convenient.


  3. So true about simply replacing parts. But with your shop rate ($150/hr) it’s probably cheaper to replace. Still something wrong with everything just being tossed.


    1. Karlos: The place I’m taking the car tomorrow won’t be looking at a $150 shop rate because it’s the owner’s business, and he and his employees will be doing the work themselves. Yipee!


  4. I need paint work on our old RV. A trip across the border is in order. And some dental work I’ve been putting off. Yes, some things are better in Mexico.


        1. Creigh: We Mexicans are sharp. While it may be cheaper along the border areas than in the U.S., I imagine the prices are far better down in the middle of the country where you get real Mexican prices. I imagine border Mexicans have got your number. Gringos, I mean.

          I have not been in the United States in 11 years now. I imagine prices above the Rio Bravo would give me a heart attack now. One of many reasons not to visit.


  5. Well, I’m a little skeptical about the general quality of work. Just look around. Noticed the average architectural paint job? There’s plenty of paint where it doesn’t belong. When folks are building stuff, they mix the cement with a mixture of dirt and gravel, something that surely wouldn’t pass muster NOB. There’s hardly a smooth, non-textured plaster wall in the entire country. Why? Textured surfaces hide shoddy work. Smooth plaster has no place to hide flaws.

    As for cars, I’ve seen tons of very shoddy body work, paint, etc. Sure, you can get good work, but you’d have to be VERY careful about who does it. You should look under your car. There are steel members that are fairly bent. It would be easy to do a shoddy repair that’ll look fine from outside, but will still be crumpled underneath.

    I’m surprised the truck driver even bothered to get out and shout at you. I’d have expected him to simply drive off.

    I wish you the best of luck.

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where good quality work isn’t exactly falling off trucks either.


    1. Kim: Got the car back yesterday, and the work was superlative. The crash was not so significant that it did any serious damage. It was cosmetic. Now it looks like new. As for buildings not passing construction muster above the border, the U.S. has become so laden with rules and regulations that it’s absurd. When the Hacienda was built, the cement was indeed mixed (on the bare ground) with dirt and gravel. I’d put the solidity of our house up against most residences in the U.S. for stability and strength. We would win. Mexicans make things to last. There are exceptions, of course, but we look farther down the road than do you Gringos.

      The truck driver did not shout at me. He said it in a normal tone of voice because departing. I don’t know why he even bothered to stop. To look at the front of his truck, I imagine, which he did. Even took a photo.


    2. Qualitas in San Miguel directed us to an insurance-approved body shop in Querétaro that was really shoddy, so we had to go to a local we’d used, to have the paint job redone, and the whole shebang cost us $1,200 dls. Should have gone to our guy to begin with.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Señor Lanier: Next time something like that happens, come here, and let my new place do the work, excellent and inexpensive. And you can visit our mountaintop town. We have concluded from our recent experience that car insurance here is best used when there are injuries, when it’s your fault, and if the car is totaled, stuff like that. Piddling damage is best repaired on your own.


        1. You’re right on all counts plus it’s a bad idea to call the cops. We know this guy here called Luis Gutierrez who does excellent bodywork and painting. Should have gone to him in the first place.


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