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A word of warning if you're driving around with a disabled parking brake with regard to insurance claims

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mrbrian200
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Volvo Repair Database A word of warning if you're driving around with a disabled parking brake with regard to insurance claims

Post by mrbrian200 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:56 am

Parking brake failure on these vehicles seems to be a fairly common, well documented problem, often occurring at relatively low mileage/age as little as 30k miles/3 years. Poor quality OE (made by Bosch) parking brake shoes are at the heart of it in most cases. It is -not- uncommon for owners to simply remove the parking brake hardware after a failure on these vehicles (and leave it), particularly on auto trans vehicles.

On my S60 the parking brake was non-functional when I bought the car recently. I had not yet taken the wheel/rotor off to inspect/repair or rebuild the parking brake. It wasn't dragging + live in flat terrain, though it was on my list to address before a planned trip into/around the Rocky mountains.

Involved in a rear/side collision in Febuary (T-bone on right rear wheel/quarter, by a large SUV moving between 15-25MPH). The driver of the SUV was at fault. Pic of damage below.

Now here's where you can get into trouble: Though I had not taken to wheel/rotor off to inspect (yet), I had noticed damage to the backing plate while I was under the car to secure a rattling heat shield over the muffler. The backing plate was bent sort of 'from the inside out'. This would have happened when the brake mechanism failed, likely broke off the boss (circled in picture) while the car was moving the the entire brake mechanism would have spun around with the cable still attached, bending the backing plate in the manner I observed. A previous owner removed the parking brake hardware instead of fixing it.
I get it. An alignment problem on that right rear wheel is a result of the collison (I had the car in for alignment check not weeks before the accident, and have the printout from the machine showing that wheel was within factory spec before the accident). Insurance adjusters will see this and (even though they may well know it is not accident related) try to use this to indicate damage from a previous collison and thus deny the claim/repair.

Just so you know. Modern insurance companies are in the business to *collect money*. Claims are not viewed as a normal course of business, but treated as a liability against revenue. I've been fighting with the insurer/adjuster (State Farm) for nearly 4 months in an attempt to get them to address/repair the alignment issue resulting from a collision with their at fault driver. At this point it looks more likely that I will end up getting the car back, not repaired, covering the repair myself and pursuing the matter through small claims. I've been complaining about poor quality Bosch components since I purchased the vehicle. And this one may end up costing me big, both by having to cover the cost of the repair (I may or may not win in small claims), as well as the nightmare 4 month squabble with insurance co. and having to pursue the matter in court.

My other option would be to claim it under my own policy (un/underinsured coverage) at which point my insurance co. would have the option to pursue State Farm and/or the fault driver.

Consider yourself warned.
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Re: A word of warning if you're driving around with a disabled parking brake with regard to insurance claims

Post by bugeye » Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:44 pm

Suggest contacting state insurance commissioner. Send email or letter with your statement of facts and stonewalling/refusal by insurance company and request Commissioner investigate. Worked for me when I was hit from behind.

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Re: A word of warning if you're driving around with a disabled parking brake with regard to insurance claims

Post by abscate » Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:59 am

My first service on my E brake was at 12 years. With a 5 speed they get used regularly , so they last

I think 99% of US drivers don't use a manual e brake
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Re: A word of warning if you're driving around with a disabled parking brake with regard to insurance claims

Post by JRL » Sun Jun 26, 2016 2:33 pm

He hit you so they must pay. E Brake has nothing to do with anything here.
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Re: A word of warning if you're driving around with a disabled parking brake with regard to insurance claims

Post by mrbrian200 » Tue Jun 28, 2016 3:13 pm

Week later still don't have car back. Last I had it in my driveway was 5 weeks ago after it being returned after the rear quarter replacement which took three weeks (alignment issue not addressed).

Here goes another fair WARNING. And this is a big one for consumers/vehicle owners.

Insurers market these 'select/express' service facilities are a way to keep costs/premiums down. Yes. But there's more to it than that.

Based on this experience, as well as information I have found owners must consider the following when deciding which shop to trust with regard to major insurers 'select/express' service facilities:

In the 'traditional' claim process (get estimates, pick a shop of your choosing, insurers cover the cost of repair) the body shop/mechanics were an independent neutral expert working on your car, that when necessary, could be counted on to act as a consumer advocate with regard to verifying necessary repairs to be collision related.

These select/express shops, however, have entered into a signed business agreements (effectively a partnership) with insurers. This changes the role they play in the process as they effectively become an agent of the insurer. You lose your expert neutral party as these shops interests now largely mirror the insurers' interests (not yours, and definitely not independent). It is clear to me now that these facilities are under pressure to limit claims in a manner one would have traditionally expected from only from an adjuster. Without access to the details of these business agreements it is impossible to determine exactly how this plays out (whether it be via a direct financial incentive, or, shops are afraid of not getting paid/ 'stuck' as provisions of the business agreement restrict their ability to challenge/legal recourse).

Honest shop owners would be hesitant to enter into these agreements with insurers that amount to selling their soul/ a dance with the devil. Insurers send them 'volume business' at reduced/negotiated margins. The net result for shops that sign on (normally) is a higher bottom line. Regardless of the circumstance I would advise against using them.
We are not required to use them (by most state laws), but the process of using an independent shop is more involved and time consuming. In my opinion the extra effort of using an independent shop should be considered worth the effort as the use of these shops amounts to an added risk and potential headaches for vehicle owners. As if being involved in a collision isn't headache enough to begin with.

Yes I've been taking notes. And yes, I plan on notifying/filing complaints with 2 separate states' Attorneys General. (Collision in IL puts the primary matter under Illinois insurance law, Body shop through a business agreement an agent of State Farm operating/handling the claim physically within the state of Indiana).
I'm also researching/looking up relevant private attorneys in the area. I am figuratively 10 minutes away from getting a professional involved (We'll say, if that car isn't fixed and back in my driveway pretty darn soon, I'm thinking Friday (4 days from now) I'll be knocking on that door.

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Re: A word of warning if you're driving around with a disabled parking brake with regard to insurance claims

Post by E Showell » Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:54 am

Search my prior post for dealing with insurers. NEVER and I am being absolute here, agree to deal with an insurer's preferred shop. Their incentive is to screw you to please the insurer from whom they presumably get more business than you give them.

In NJ, insurers have time limits within which they must adjust total losses, not sure about partial losses. If State Farm is giving you the run around, claim through your insurer and have them subrogate against State Farm. The drawback here is that you will have to pursue State Farm for your deductible and that could take quite a while.

In NJ, insurers can incur liability for bad faith claims handling practices. That can result in some pretty large punitive damage awards. I'd be sending a certified letter, return receipt, to the State Insurance Commissioner and copying State Farm. Request that the Commissioner open an investigation into State Farm's claims handling practices.

Also, if you do not have your current car and homeowner's insurance policy through a mutual company, as opposed to a stock company, you should change that coverage over to a mutual company after this claim is resolved. Mutual companies exist for the benefit of their policyholders. Stock companies exist for the benefit of their shareholders. There is a completely different set of incentives (and they do not involve pleasing the policyholders) for a stock company.

Good luck and let us know how you make out.
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Re: A word of warning if you're driving around with a disabled parking brake with regard to insurance claims

Post by mrbrian200 » Fri Jul 01, 2016 10:49 am

About time (back in my driveway!)
They gave me an alignment report which indicates the camber on RR still being 'barely' out of spec, however it indicates a camber position change on the LR side that wasn't touched, so I'm thinking it's laser drift/error on their machine as the cross camber is effectively the same as the report via the shop I use pre-collision. One of the reasons I track off to Chicago to a shop on the north shore is with the a picky crowd up there they have figured out that the machine itself needs to be calibrated once in awhile by someone that really knows what they are doing. There is a shop in town (5 miles away) that when their machine was brand new 10 years ago their alignments performed were good. But not so much lately the report they give you doesn't click with observed handling/behavior.
As I have a bit of work to do yet on the front end (removing those "HD" spring seats that don't mate properly with the OE upper mount bearing) I'll eventually have it rechecked at the shop I normally use and likely confirm all is well. (Handling back there feels right, which is inconsistent with the report they gave me which I would expect some noticeable weirdness back there).
They replaced everything (old parts were in the trunk, both C-arms, toe arm, hub, end link), which wasn't necessary - it was the upper C-arm that was bent at the hub attachment point. Used parts (I'm ok with that since it is a 10 year old car). Since the replacement hub has a bearing with unknown mileage I saving the old bearing to keep as a spare and the toe arm (it's not bent or damaged).
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Re: A word of warning if you're driving around with a disabled parking brake with regard to insurance claims

Post by mrbrian200 » Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:37 am

I'm glad I didn't have to resort to dragging that (really nice) little old lady that hit me through small claims. But I was prepared to do it if necessary. The way it works: you don't sue the insurer, you file against the at fault driver, if you win it is up to them to recoup from the insurer. Documentation I now see shows SF sent a regional team of inspectors to look at about a week ago who approved the repair. But that's the problem - only after I pitched a fit and the dispute drug out 4 months from the date of the collision. A vast majority (non enthusiast/not mechanically inclined) would have taken the car back after the initial quarter panel replacement and just accepted bad/potentially dangerous handling (more apt to fishtail on wet/snow/icy pavement) or dumped the vehicle out to sale or trade.

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Re: A word of warning if you're driving around with a disabled parking brake with regard to insurance claims

Post by mrbrian200 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:21 am

Here's another little revelation with regard to alignment shops-- The body shop put the RR suspension back together and set the toe adjustment (eccentric bolt on the rear stay/toe arm) to it's center point, then sent the car to a 3rd party local alignment shop. At this center point the RR is toe-in by around .25" (Adjustment range is +/- 0.5 so it's within adjustment range) . But instead of adjusting the RR toe via the (quite obvious to me) eccentric the alignment place adjusted the front end all out of whack to make the car "appear" to roll straight/center the steering wheel. Harsh ride quality, ridiculous side hop, poor econ). I've seen this before-- many alignment shops won't touch the rear end on any car you throw at them even though they call it a "4-wheel alignment", even when OE's provide an obvious adjustment method. Went through this with my old Chrysler (cirrus) with fully adjustable rear (both camber/caster) -- one of the rear wheels was out by a mile and the (different alignment shop, same area) was only fiddling with the front end. That car would get upwards of 40MPG (flat highway 60mph) *provided* the alignment is spot on. If it was out by even a little econ would drop like a rock into the 20's. A lot of snake oil/dishonest shops in the alignment business I must say.
For the time being I adjusted the RR toe (because it's so easy, though the OE adjustment is a bit imprecise there's a bit of trial and error involved) I got the rear end settled down with in increase in flat/open highway econ around +4MPG from around 31 to 35. The front end is still out of whack but that's been apart several times + 2 alignments I need new lower flange bolts (those are torque to yield) before they snap. So I'm going to hold of on messing with the front end. May $bite it and have the Volvo dealer install new bolts/set the camber when I'm in Chicago in about a week. When I bought the car it was getting closer to 38 on the highway, with slower city stretches under 45mph well into the 40's. It's killin me the shop I go to in Chicago (Just Tires on North Broadway) had the front end absolutely perfect - had the car up around the ECU speed limit once the front handled/felt awesome. Shop (in Goshen, IN) mucked it up now I'm getting a shimmy through the steering wheel at speeds +75. Grrrr!

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Re: A word of warning if you're driving around with a disabled parking brake with regard to insurance claims

Post by MadeInJapan » Fri Jul 08, 2016 6:59 am

Interesting we're talking about rear end collisions, alignments and insurance companies. I had a situation that rings true about what is being posted in this thread. What I didn't know until two summers ago was that any repair that is done under an insurance claim is suppose to be for the duration of ownership (under which the claim was made) or the life of the car (whichever comes first)- this is even if you are no longer with the insurance company that had your car repaired.

That said, my wife was in a rear end collision the second year we owned the '04 V70 (she bought it new during the summer of '03). Since I just basically deal with going to get alignments, new tires for her car and she pays for these, I really never paid much attention to the specifics of her car- the car had been flawless otherwise. But sometime in 2005, a lady hit her passenger side quarter panel that bent the wheel and damaged the panel (much like mrbrian200's damage, except ours was with a wagon). The car was taken to one of these really expensive "collision repair" places as that's what the insurance company wanted to do and they supposedly replaced everything that was suppose to be replaced and the end result was that the car looked new and drove fine, although we gibbered over a wheel that was not right and they ended up having to buy a Mimus wheel for replacement. Fast forward to the summer of 2014- this is 9 years later and at least 2 different insurance companies later. My wife asks me to take the car in for an alignment-it's just not driving straight. I do that and am told that I need new tires again. Sure enough, the car does, but I didn't spring for them right then. I looked at the print-out of the alignment and the passenger side is out in the rear. I asked them about this and was told that there is no more adjustment and that it can't be aligned- but it's "always been that way." I get home and start sifting through all of the paperwork on her car- all the pieces in her glove box- she had kept everything (thank goodness). At close to 140K miles, I notice sales receipts for tire after tire - I think I counted like 5 or 6 sets of tires this car had been through....This couldn't be right, but it was :shock: ....then I found the smoking gun! :oops:

Within her paperwork, there were specs for an alignment that had been done prior to the accident in 2005 and all of the wheels were in the green- all wheels aligned.....then there was paperwork after the accident (5 or 6) all wheels were in alignment except for that right rear/passenger tire which was always out. This made me furious- it was 9 years post accident, but I got on the phone and called the previous insurance company. I was routed to a local guy who gave me the run-around. I was told that my accident was so long ago, the "statute of limitations" had run out and that I was on my own with this issue...anyway, I had "signed off" on being satisfied with the repair. Yes, we had signed off- but who knows if a repair is truly right until down the road sometime, right. We were never given those alignment numbers right after the repair. This did not set well with me- the guy was almost mocking me. So, I found out who is manager was and called him...got sort of the same run-around and I asked him who his boss was and his contact information. Finally, I got to a regional guy who is over the entire southeast and he told me that if I could prove that the repair was never completed correctly and it had caused us issues over the years, then I AM ENTITLED to compensation. Well, it didn't take much- the proof was in the alignment paperwork from before the accident, and after as well as all the receipts for new tires because the inside edge of the tires (even when rotated) kept wearing out. I finished off with a picture of the car sitting on the ground where the right and left side from the rear showed a visible issue of the camber on the passenger side but not on the driver's side- you could visually see the problem!

The regional manager then called me with a great deal of apologizing and told me about the law that insurance repairs are for the life of the car as long as we owned it (which I think is a federal law) and that they would pay to have the car properly fixed and so, he asked me to get an estimate. He also told me that the first guy I talked to was the one who gave final approval of the work in 2005- that figures! I bet he was in a little bit of trouble :mrgreen: for lying to me and for neglecting to give me or his company the alignment read-out post repair! Haha... At this point, I did not hesitate to go to the Volvo dealer for the estimate, as they would use actual Volvo parts and be the most expensive!! Once the check was cut to me for the repairs (I already had good used parts lined up with the exception of a few bushings that I sourced from Volvo), I got Southern Vovo to send me the rear control arm (they had to snip off a portion of the rear sub-frame as he could not push the bushing out and attached to it was the rear hub which I still have as I never needed it) and a few other parts... Anyway, long story short, I got a local frame shop that has a machine to deal with the bushings to do the work and I was able to save quite a bit of money. I figured this was only fair as the insurance company was not compensating me for all the sets of tires we had been though. :D

Alignment specs after this final and accurate repair showed everything to be in alignment again and matched up to the pre-accident specs! Furthermore, we are for the first time of owning this car, getting the mileage out of tires that we are suppose to be getting!
So, I guess the moral of this story is- watch the repairs - that they are truly done correctly, especially if this includes body work or impacts your alignment- what you can't see (and often looks good) may be covering over real underlying issues- AND that insurance companies are liable to make sure that repairs are truly completed correctly and the repairs should last as long as you own your vehicle.
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