Part eleven: Just when you thought it was safe to get in the Insignia... disaster strikes again and the Insignia is rear-ended.
Our Insignia has generated a mixture of opinions on social media, which can be divided into two categories: those who think we should have thrown in the towel months ago and those who admired our determination to keep going. Last month, we certainly proved our tenaciousness when the camshaft split in two and the crankshaft timing cog was found to be worn. Thanks to mechanic Dan Smith of MJ Motors, the vehicle was back on the road once more. A couple of weeks later, Dan was travelling along a wet motorway with his family on board when another vehicle drove into the back of the Insignia.
A 2012 Kia Cee’d hit the rear of the Insignia and appeared to come off worst, with damage to its bumper, wings, bonnet and front grille. As for the Insignia, the impact had added some marks to the rear bumper, distorted the metal protector panel along the top of the bumper, knocked off the reflectors and lower valance, and misaligned the tailgate. Looking inside the bumper, the aluminium crash beam had effectively absorbed the impact.
Our Insignia could still be driven as there was no visible damage beyond the crash beam and rear bumper, and while the rear valance had to be taken home in the boot of the vehicle, the rear bumper and all other associated panels remained securely fitted. We were, however, concerned that the cost of the repairs would write-off the vehicle.
The end of the road?
Had I reversed into a brick wall and done this level of damage, I would have refitted the valance with some new mounts, realigned the tailgate, sourced a secondhand crash beam, fitted some new reflectors and lived with the damage to the rear bumper. But, because someone else has caused the damage, I couldn’t help feeling I ought to have the vehicle repaired properly. After all, the Insignia is officially the property of
Car Mechanics magazine and it played no part in the accident.
A list of new parts was sent to our local Vauxhall dealership and a quote was emailed back the same day. The prices were reasonable, but quickly added up to more than £1000, with the most expensive item being a bare rear bumper at £490. The impact beam cost £165. We contacted our local bodyshop, which estimated that the cost of painting the rear bumper and fitting all the parts would mean the final bill would come to around £2000.
Fearing our Insignia was going to be written-off, we presented our figures to the relevant insurance companies and awaited their response. They came back with a reasonable and practical offer of £1520 if we wanted to keep the Insignia, otherwise they offered us £1890 and they would take the vehicle away. Plus, they were happy to not write it off.
At the time of going to press, we are still assessing the options and considering what to do. The sensible approach would be to accept the lower offer of £1520, take the car back and then sell it. But then we would have to offer a warranty under the Sale of Goods Act, as this would not be a private sale.
In the meantime, we decided to refit the rear valance with some new mounts and fit a replacement pair of reflectors to the rear bumper to make it road legal, which cost a mere £35 in total.
So, our Insignia project has come to an end on a note of uncertainty. It’s been one of the most challenging projects we’ve done, as well as being one of the most expensive, which has helped to highlight many of the common problems associated with these models and what happens when you commit yourself to a project, spend your money and can’t face giving up. Had we given up when we first identified the engine problems, we would have merely lost a couple of thousand pounds on the purchase price. But then we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to explore and fix all of the issues and problems that can arise with the 2.0 diesel engine. Sometimes, there’s a high price to pay for involved editorial.