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Old 10-20-2013, 10:38 AM   #1
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Yea and Boo

I had a yea/boo kind of day yesterday. I got my trailer winterized and parked in a great (inexpensive) location that is very close to home so I can visit frequently. YAY!

Then on the way home, I was rear ended at a traffic light by a young woman not paying attention (perhaps texting or talking on a cell phone?). She managed to peg me twice - she ran into me once then panicked and hit the gas again instead of the brake and hit me again.

No one was hurt - but my bumper, and possibly my tailgate, is trashed. I had no idea that my Ford F150 PU would be so fragile. NOW I have to worry about the repair shop fixing everything right so I can tow the trailer safely. What a PITA. (At least I wasn't towing the trailer - then I would have been heartbroken instead of annoyed).

Has anyone else has a similar problem? How did it work out?
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Old 10-20-2013, 11:21 AM   #2
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Bummer!

In the grand scheme of towing, the bumper and the tailgate are cosmetic. You don't need either to tow. You want them to look nice however. You just want to make certain the frame is straight and all the electrical connections work properly.
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Old 10-20-2013, 11:27 AM   #3
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Thanks Donna! It really could have been much worse. I could have been shoved into the guy in front of me and crunched the front end as well. Good thing I was standing on my brakes and that the car that hit me was smaller.
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Old 10-20-2013, 11:32 AM   #4
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When I was rear ended a while back, the insurance replaced the hitch on my car. I would push for that if it took any kind of hit.
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Old 10-20-2013, 01:46 PM   #5
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I would be more concerned about the mounting bolts for the hitch than the hitch itself. Probably if the hitch was compromised there would a visual cue. The bolts in all likely hood took a pretty good lateral load and they could be partially sheared or at least compromised. I would just change them regardless of appearance.
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Old 10-20-2013, 06:33 PM   #6
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OH BUMMER LISA! Thank God it was not your new camper!

Todd.
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Old 10-20-2013, 06:55 PM   #7
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Thanks Todd!

Yeah, I keep thanking god that it wasn't the trailer. I had a few nightmares about that.
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:08 PM   #8
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Great news!

I picked up my truck this Saturday after repairs were completed (took only 3 days). The truck looks fantastic! New bumper, new hitch, etc. Looks brand new! I even hitched and towed the trailer a short distance on Saturday. Everything seems to be working correctly.

Total cost was about $2500 ... I paid zero $!

Thank you USAA!!
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:17 PM   #9
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This last time I was rear-ended, at fairly slow speed, I happened to have the ball and mount still attached to the truck. My truck was undamaged, but it sure did a number on the front end on the late model Volvo who hit me!!
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:24 PM   #10
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Toyota says to remove the hitch and ball to prevent damage to your vehicle.
I choose, however, to keep it in place as an extra bumper. I can't imagine the cost of repairing the rear of a RAV4, what with the spare tire, attached to the rear door, hanging out over the "bumper".
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:31 PM   #11
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In some states it is against the law to have your hitch and ball mounted if you are not towing, Pennsylvania being one of them.
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:36 PM   #12
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What if you replace the ball with this?
Attached Images
File Type: png Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 10.35.19 AM.png (152.3 KB, 22 views)
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by santacruzer View Post
This last time I was rear-ended, at fairly slow speed, I happened to have the ball and mount still attached to the truck. My truck was undamaged, but it sure did a number on the front end on the late model Volvo who hit me!!
I backed into a boulder in my blind spot with my Sienna. Had I not had my hitch attached, I shudder to think of the repair bill. As it was, there was a loud jarring crash, and a blemish on the rock, and nothing more.
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Old 11-04-2013, 03:56 PM   #14
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More likely with the hitch that you would back into another car parking. I almost did that once so I never want the hitch left on. And yes, illegal in some places to have it on.
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:47 PM   #15
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Any rigid structure mounted in the hitch receiver largely bypasses the bumper. That can avoid bumper damage, but it can also avoid energy absorption by the bumper and thus cause greater personal injury. In a hard enough hit, it could mean destroying the tug's rear structure instead of replaceable bumper parts. My ball mount comes out when my towing trip is complete.

There are federal rules in the U.S. and Canada regarding bumpers - probably only enforceable against manufacturers and importers - which are intended (among other purposes) to refuce vehicle damage by aligning bumpers. Equipping vehicles with hitch-mounted battering rams seems inappropriate and (from a social standpoint) counterproductive to me.
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:59 PM   #16
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"Bumper" is a misnomer on most cars these days. At one time it was relatively inexpensive to replace a bumper. They were what prevented the vehicle from sustaining substantial damage in relatively modest crashes. Replacing one of today's wraparounds, part of the vehicle body design bumpers, is quite costly. I'll not use my hitch mount and ball as a battering ram, but I'd rather have it there than not. If it's hit hard enough to damage my frame, my bumper and rear end are going to be toast anyway.
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Old 11-05-2013, 01:55 AM   #17
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I understand the concern with the high cost of sacrificial bumper components; however...
Quote:
Originally Posted by santacruzer View Post
If it's hit hard enough to damage my frame, my bumper and rear end are going to be toast anyway.
... if you think bumpers are expensive, try frame repair! The bumper components do withstand very low-speed collisions without damage, and when they get destroyed, they do absorb a lot of energy and reduce the chance of structural damage.

I think it's important to note that most of this applies to passenger cars (for which there are bumper rules) and unibody vehicles (in which structural damage is a bigger concern). "Light trucks" such as a pickup are exempted from many rules and differently constructed, because apparently either the laws of physics don't apply to them, or the occupants are not people.
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:02 AM   #18
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I do understand the concern with ineffective bumpers on pickup trucks. Some of them seem to have structure only between the frame mounts (which are typically less than half the body width apart) and flimsy cosmetic trash beyond that; we were offset rear-ended by a slow-moving Toyota in our Chevy and the bumper end folded up and punched in the box corner. The hitch-mounted bumper bar shown wouldn't have helped.

Someone I knew had a full-size pickup to which he added a massive rear bumper (perhaps 4" x 6" heavy-wall tubing) - when a car hit that bumper at right angles to the truck direction in a intersection (so the car hit the end of the truck bumper) it ripped the bumper off one mount and hinged it around the other mount, smashing the other end into the box and doing major damage. A good bumper is not trivial to design, and the hitch receiver is not designed for this purpose.
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Old 11-06-2013, 06:16 AM   #19
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Lisa! Sounds like you were well taken care of! Seems most insurance companies want to do as little as possible to meet their commitment. It's very nice to know that you are pleased with the results!

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Old 11-06-2013, 03:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Lisa! Sounds like you were well taken care of! Seems most insurance companies want to do as little as possible to meet their commitment. It's very nice to know that you are pleased with the results!

Todd
Thanks Todd! Everything looks good so far. The real test will be on a longer tow at highway speeds ... but I'm fairly confident that the repairs were good.
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