As I mentioned, I hit a deer a few weeks back and it was a total bummer on all levels. I feel terrible for the deer, though there was little I could do, and of course, our car got banged up. Body work is a drag because it's usually really expensive, and it's hard to get it back to looking exactly the way it was, unless of course you want to pay the serious big bucks. Plus, once the body of the car gets damaged, you can't really let it alone because up here in New England, exposed metal takes a beating. Even tiny scratches in the paint will begin to rust and corrode. It's pretty striking.
With that in mind, I knew I had to take care of the hood. I ignorantly thought (something I excel at) that they would just take a hammer and knock the thing out, but I soon learned that this is not the case - total replacement was in order. I did a quick search and found hoods for our car running about $250. Factor in labor and you can about double that. There were also internal pieces and mechanisms, like the latches and hooks that held the hood on, that were probably going to have to be replaced. It wasn't looking pretty, and to rub salt in the wound, you can't buy a replacement hood that's painted, they all come primer black. Painting it the right color was going to cost, as well. One bright note - it looked like the frame and radiator were intact.
I first went to Gerrish Honda and they basically said I should go to an auto body place. They could order the hood, but didn't really do the body work. I then went to Kidder, a reputable body shop and the same place that did our undercoating, and the owner came out and did a quick look-over. He did mention that this has been a particularly bad year for deer, and he had cars lined up outside that needed body work because of deer collisions. He told me that for our Fit, the best case scenario was about $1000, worst case scenario (replacement of internal mechanisms) about $2000. Total bummer.
I told mom the bad news and we were resigned to the fact that this was going to be painful. I then called our good friends over at Meunier and RM said to bring it over and he'd have a look. They have been undergoing changes over there and a lot of the mechanics I knew are gone. The new guys, however, are super competent, and one used to work for Honda. They took a look, did a quick assessment, and said they could probably get a used hood from a salvage yard. It wouldn't be perfectly beautiful, but it would be perfectly functional, and we could always paint it at a later date. RM made some calls but couldn't find an exact match, i.e., silver. He did, however, find a gray one, for about half the cost. I said to move forward and in the end they put the new hood on for about $450, including the internal parts that were broken.
Boy was I stoked. I love Meunier, they're always coming through for us. That's what happens when you develop a relationship with a local business, the personal service is huge. What's really cool is that they got it done within a couple of days, despite their really busy schedule (Kidder couldn't take us for another month because they're so busy), and the gray hood doesn't look that bad. Sure, it's a bit off, but really not strikingly. There are a few chips in the paint that we can take care of with some touch-up paint. The ideal plan would be to paint it some time in the summer.
All in all it was a bad experience but the aftermath wasn't as painful as it could have been. I'm stoked we have friendly local businesses that can help us in a pinch, and of course, save us some money.
Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Steven Chang for the pic.