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Thread: Hit a Deer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2021
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    Default Hit a Deer

    Hi all,

    See photos if I can attach them..

    I hit a deer with my 2011 RAV4 at 55 mph Christmas Eve morning. It literally just appeared in front of me - I didn't even have time to get foot on the brake before boom... Just dropped full coverage the week before so all expenses are mine. Its got about 125k on it, was in almost perfect condition.

    Radiator, condenser, driver's headlight are junk. Electric fan most probably bit it too. Engine ran for maybe 20 seconds after the impact long enough to pull to side of road only minor steam coming out on a 30 degree day even though radiator and condenser look like they they are caved 45 degrees..

    Driver's fender is pushed back and contacting the front door so that it would cause damage to open it more than a crack - I left via passenger door. I noticed where fender mounts under the hood there is a peeling of the junction (where the bolts are near the battery area) a bit upwards and out. Also, looking straight downwards over wheel well, it looks to be pushed outwards an inch or more, could be the way it is sitting on uneven ground making me think that. There is also a kink in the metal near the headlight. Would be great to save the fender as then only the bumper would look different in a paint mismatch but with all listed above, probably not?

    The heavy metal bar across the front behind the plastic bumper has a fairly symmetrical, bend in it, straight backwards about an inch with a bit of a twist backwards on the top side of it a bit nearer the driver's side.

    The top mount above radiator where the hood latch is located has a serious twist in it bottom inwards nearer the driver's side. Hood was still latched to it. Hood looks to be in good shape, lines up everywhere possible and opened with little effort but not trying to close it again..

    Getting an estimate, but taking them a long time to get here, good shop though, not 100% sure they have all the equipment - I may still do this myself..

    Wondering if the frame is good enough or not, (cant drive it at this point to check for dog track / pull / steering wheel centering) a rough body shop price, and also if one could just steal parts from another RAV4 - its the light-brown one; tons if this color are around.. Worse case, if fender would somehow still be usable, maybe repaint / blend in the fender if too different. Bumper might be fine just swapping a junkyard acquisition or new/painted to factory one.

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  2. #2
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    Nov 2005
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    What is the car worth? You'll want to know that before paying a shop to do the work.

    On a ten year old car we would look for used parts or aftermarket parts online. If you go with after marked parts I'd recommend getting Capa Certified parts.

    What state are you in? We just went through hunting season in NJ and the deer population has greatly diminished.

  3. #3
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    Dec 2021
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len View Post
    What is the car worth? You'll want to know that before paying a shop to do the work.

    On a ten year old car we would look for used parts or aftermarket parts online. If you go with after marked parts I'd recommend getting Capa Certified parts.

    What state are you in? We just went through hunting season in NJ and the deer population has greatly diminished.
    Well private party value at Kelly Blue Book says $11,000.00. Probably cant replace it for much less. I got lucky as it had a tranny shudder around 30-40 mph so I think the guy wanted to get rid of it. Bought it for 8K, changed tranny fluid and it runs like new.

    I'm in Wisconsin. Use to deery roads but this one just appeared before my eyes. I was looking forward down the road a ways oncoming traffic headlights and taillights from the ones in front of me, seen a patch of fur, then boom.

    The radiator / condenser along with the driver fender took the impact. Just don't know how to tell if frame has been affected much as I cant drive it without at least a new radiator. Might be more hidden damage behind that also.. Don't want to tear it down until at least one expert looks at it because with their experience, they can probably place an educated guess as to how much to repair + if the frame needs straightening.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike1793 View Post
    Well private party value at Kelly Blue Book says $11,000.00. Probably cant replace it for much less. I got lucky as it had a tranny shudder around 30-40 mph so I think the guy wanted to get rid of it. Bought it for 8K, changed tranny fluid and it runs like new.

    I'm in Wisconsin. Use to deery roads but this one just appeared before my eyes. I was looking forward down the road a ways oncoming traffic headlights and taillights from the ones in front of me, seen a patch of fur, then boom.

    The radiator / condenser along with the driver fender took the impact. Just don't know how to tell if frame has been affected much as I cant drive it without at least a new radiator. Might be more hidden damage behind that also.. Don't want to tear it down until at least one expert looks at it because with their experience, they can probably place an educated guess as to how much to repair + if the frame needs straightening.
    I live in the woods and have hit three deer so far and I've had close calls on at least six more so I'm real careful on certain roads.

    I doubt that you have frame damage but you could have a small amount because those frames are normally just heavy sheet metal.

    If you normally travel on roads that have wildlife you might want to install a couple of those warning buttons on your grill. They may not stop all deer but at least they give them some warning that you're coming.


  5. #5
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    Dec 2021
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    So if I go find all the junkyard parts including a fender (of the same color hopefully) and put it all together myself, would a body shop care if all they had left to do was blend in the fender?

    Could they still straighten the frame a bit at that point?

    Do those kinds of parts come in almost perfect condition so I wouldn't have to paint?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike1793 View Post
    So if I go find all the junkyard parts including a fender (of the same color hopefully) and put it all together myself, would a body shop care if all they had left to do was blend in the fender?

    Could they still straighten the frame a bit at that point?

    Do those kinds of parts come in almost perfect condition so I wouldn't have to paint?
    Most body shops can do whatever work is required. If you have the parts they can install them or paint them or blend the adjacent panels.

    In most cases the frame would need to be straightened prior to installing the parts.

    Used parts can come in any color or condition. Aftermarket parts normally come primed.

  7. #7
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    I agree with Len, I really doubt there is an frame damage. That front left fender apron might need to be pulled back in shape.

    You seem to be pretty handy around cars and I would recommend you replace all the parts yourself (if you aren't independantly wealthy, lol). As long as you have a warm dry place to work out of weather you should be good to go. That new radiator support will have to be welded on so you'll need a mig welder and you'll need a air chisel (preferably) to remove the old radiator support (technically a core support). Other than that everything else is just bolt on.

    I hit a deer years ago. Like you I was driving down the road and bam ! No warning. It was on a 2 lane country road. The deer went skidding down the road on it's side and just laid there. I walked up behind the deer and tapped it in the back of the head with my foot and it didn't move so then then I rubbed the side of my boot on the deers eyeball that was still open. Nothing. So I grabbed it by the good horn (the other one was broken off) and dragged the deer to the back of my car. My wife was with me and between the two of us we loaded that deer in the trunk of my car. We went to my father in laws place. In two hours we had the deer hung, gutted and skinned. The next day I paid to have the deer meat processed and ate venison for the better part of a year. My wife got really good at cooking venison adding pork or other stuff to make it taste better. I had to replace the 3/4 front clip on my car and was good to go. I had just finished restoring that car, new custom paintjob and all. A 1967 Pontiac LeMans in a bright medium blue metallic with a white vinyl top. That was a nice car.
    LS says "Lets Go Brandon". He's like that.

  8. #8
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    Since I've hit three and had close calls with another half dozen I've developed a habit on back roads during deer times. Go no faster than 35MPH between dusk and dawn, it give you and the deer time to avoid each-other.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len View Post
    Since I've hit three and had close calls with another half dozen I've developed a habit on back roads during deer times. Go no faster than 35MPH between dusk and dawn, it give you and the deer time to avoid each-other.
    I've ridden motorcycles all my life and have a couple I ride now (weather permitting). I rarely ride at night on country roads. Makes me rervous to ride at night, too many deer around here. Many years ago I was riding a motorcycle at night on a small country road, came around a tight corner and there was a horse in the middle of the road. Just missed the horse, a very close call.
    LS says "Lets Go Brandon". He's like that.

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